What can I do with MIDI files?

With MIDI files you can:

- Change the tempo of each example.
You can slow the music down and practice very slowly and gradually increase the tempo. I also like to slow midi files to hear in all detail what the pianist has done.

- Change the key of each example.
I like to practice each example in all 12 keys if possible. It always takes my music skills to another level both technically and harmonically.

- Loop a certain section of the example.
With afro-latin midi files, I like to loop a section of the file in order to play as long as I want over the specific chord changes and groove of the example. Then I like to transpose the “looped section” to all 12 keys and practice it.

- Use the midi file for ear training.
When the midi file contains a improvised solo, I slow the example and mute the other tracks so I can hear the solo by itself. I may loop the solo section or loop just a few bars of the solo and listen to them over and over until I can sing the solo line without the recorded music. Then I play along with the solo or looped phrases of the solo until I can play effortlessly together with the track.

- Get a music notation printout.
If you use a music application like Logic, DP, Sonar, Cubase, etc., you can get a rough music notation printout of the different tracks. The printout will usually be just an approximation but it may be good enough to get an idea of the voicings used in the piano track or to read the bass line.
When I perform a piano part, I use Digital Performer or Logic to get a rough printout. Then I go to Sibelius or Finale and spend many hours correcting, editing and making sure the final printout is completely readable.

- Many other uses.
I like to mute and solo different instrumental parts, especially the bass part to learn to hear the bass motion of the song. That helps me to internalize the bass movement and gives a better harmonic mental background over which to create my own solos.
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