Frequently Asked Questions about the newsgroup
for Androids! -=-=-
-=-=- Thanks to Phuoc and CowYow -=-=-
Based on the "Newcomer's Message" by Bunty Pritchard Jones,
et al, and maintained and distributed weekly by Alan Sharkis.
THIS NEWSGROUP IS FOR THE EXCHANGE AND
DISCUSSION OF _MIDI-KARAOKE_ FILES!
THE FILES POSTED HERE ARE NOT INTENDED FOR SALE.
In this group you'll find people, from many different
countries, committed to making and sharing MIDI karaoke
files using MIDI sequences. Please do not post messages
concerning other format files such as MP3 or CD&G, etc.,
here, since they are considered off-topic. For MP3,
CD+G, etc., visit the newsgroups:
For a comparison of the relative advantages and
disadvantages of midi-karaoke and CDG or MP3+G,
please go to:
To get you started with .kar files and midi-karaoke on the
World Wide Web,
When you get to the last site, you will find information on many
facets of karaoke, whether done on a computer or not.
Select "History," "Karaoke On A PC," and "MIDI-KARAOKE"
for the information most relevant to this newsgroup.
To know more about this group, read the following questions.
If you have more questions, then you can post them so that
they can be answered or even incorporated in this FAQ. Your
observations, contributions and comments are welcome.
Q: I'm looking for a particular midi-karaoke.
Where can I find it?
A: You can make a request to this group. Put "REQ" first in
the subject line of your post. Many users have a huge database,
so there's a good chance it will be posted or e-mailed to you
for download. If you wish to search the Web for midi-karaoke
files, there are some search engines specifically made of the
task. An excellent one can be found at:
Another well-known one is:
Q: How do I play these files?
A: You can play them in a midi sequencer that will display
text events. But it's much easier to play them with a midi-
karaoke player. There are many of these and each has a
different set of features. The following are freeware for the PC:
The latest known version is 2.53. This version contains support for
more languages than previous versions, both in the interface
itself and for
lyrics. There are other new features and bug fixes.
Be sure to check
the version history when you go to the site.
Mark's Player (not for Windows 2000 or XP;
has not been tested with Vista or Windows 7):
Another freeware player
is Gosing, which can be
It's a very simple player which recognizes .mid, .kar,
A player that will also search a lyrics data base and do on-line
searches for karaoke files is called Karaoke 5.
It's available at:
It will also play MP3 files.
KaraFun not only plays files in several midi and midi-karaoke formats
as well as several audio formats, but it can integrate those files
with your own voice recording (via microphone) and it can produce
proprietary ".kfn" files that contain the music, the lyrics,
annotations, visual background(s) and more. You can find it at:
along with lots of other resources. The latest versions, both
designated 1.18, have many new features. There is a free version,
and a "studio" version. (Of course, most of the new features
are incorporated in the studio version.)
A good shareware player for the PC is Karawin.
It comes in "standard"
and "pro" versions, and now there is also
a freeware version.
It will play MP3 files as well. You
will find all three versions at:
Folks KJ is a player program with many options. It now includes
a right-to-left lyric display, for files created with Karakan
6.2 or above. The right-to-left is triggered for files done
in Hebrew or Yiddish by means of special language instructions
included in the Karakan-created midi-karaoke file. If you need
this feature, please be sure to get Folks K.J. version 4.30 from:
There are also commercial players for the PC as well as
players for other platforms. Consult
for links to those other players.
Q: I've heard that Winamp can be used
as a .kar file player. Is this possible?
A: WinAmp is up to
version 5.54 as of this writing. Use the following procedure
for older versions to display lyrics if they are present in .mid and .kar
||1. Go to Preferences/Plug-ins/Input
2. Select Nullsoft midi player 3.15
3. Press Configure
4. Go to the display tab
5. Enable "Show lyrics window while playing"
6. Press OK
One warning: If you close the lyrics box while a .kar
file is playing,
the lyrics window will not reopen on the next song unless you go back
to Options/Preferences/Plug-ins/Input (etc.) and re-check the
Show Lyrics item. If you use the stop button or let the song end
normally, however, you will not have to do that, and the lyrics window
will open normally when you next play a song.
You can find Winamp at the Nullsoft site:
Q: What about QuickTime?
A: QuickTime Plugin 7.0, when properly configured, comes up in your
browser and display the lyrics of .kar files that might be found at a
Web site. A .kar file can be loaded into your browser while offline
and the QuickTime Plugin will play it. Also, most versions of QuickTime,
including 7.2 for Windows and (I assume) the parallel version for
the Mac will play .kar files if you load them into the program.
Q: How can I play these files and have the lyrics
display on my midi keyboard?
A: The files have to be converted to the SMF-with-Lyrics format
(see the section above on the history of midi-karaoke and
midi-karaoke files and follow the last two links for more information.)
If you have a Yamaha keyboard, you will have to use Yamaha's
XF midi format. First convert to SMF-with-Lyrics and then to XF.
Q: What about players for other platforms?
A: It used to be that the Arnold player was theonly one for the Mac.
I can't tell if it would work under OS-X since I don't have a Mac,
and its official site seems to be down. But, according to Hitsquad
Musician Network, QMidi and iStar are two programs that will play
midi and .kar files among other karaoke formats under OS-X. In
the Linux world, midi and .kar players include PyKaraoke
(Windows version also available), and Plarpebu (Java format,
will run on any platform.) The site for the older KaraLin
also seems to be down.
Q: Are there karaoke players for
Android-based tablets and slates?
A: A quick perusal of the following site:
tells me that there are such apps.
The first link specifically mentions the Karaoke - Sing-Me app,
which comes in both a free (lite, with ads) version and a very
inexpensive no-ad version. Both will play .kar files as well
as karaoke files in other formats. The second one is called
Karaoke Kar Player, and the third one is Karaoke Memories
Lite. Since I don't own an Android tablet, I
review such apps, and I encourage those of you who do
own an Android to let me know if I can add any that specifically
play .kar files or midi-with-lyrics files to this FAQ.
Q: I have management issues regarding my midi
and/or midi-karaoke file collection. There must be
many duplicate files in it, some files will play in
one player program but not another, some have
a long blank section after the music stops playing,
my file-naming system is inconsistent, etc. Is there
a package I can use to address these issues?
A: Follow this link for a detailed description of a package
that will do all of that and more:
Q: Where can I find freeware or
for making my own midi-karaoke files?
A: Before you begin, try to obtain permission from the
author of the midi file to add lyrics to the file and
to post the result, if you so desire, in ABK and/or
a Web site. NOTE: Files sequenced by Barry Taylor,
whether found at contemplator.com or not, may NOT
Then, to find midi-karaoke creation software, look at
the following sites:
The latest version (6.2) is now available for
download. The most important addition to this
version is that in addition to handling Unicode
characters, it can create and edit lyrics in
those languages that are written from
right-to-left, if the proper language pack
is installed on the user's computer. Lyrics in
such languages as Hebrew and its derivatives,
and Arabic and similar languages can now be
created. At present, Karakan's built-in player
can properly display those lyrics and at least
one player program is in development and
testing and can do the same.
The addition of Unicode and right-to-left
capability is rather important. It means
that in Karakan, you can now enter
characters in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc.,
as well as alphabetic characters and special
characters in all languages and that these
characters will display properly in Karakan,
and, perhaps soon, in player programs.
You can find information about Unicode at:
In addition, Karakan can now accept midi type 0 files
and work with them; the commands for selecting the
initial midi file, voice track and karaoke output file are
now in the user interface and no longer require
you to type embedded commands; importing existing
karaoke files is now easier; and you can now check for
updates of Karakan via the Help menu.
NOTE: This program was written for Windows 3.1!
It will load files and select tracks slowly under Windows XP.
It will crash when you attempt to save a file if a file with
that filename already exists in the current folder under
Windows XP. (You can slightly alter the filename and do a
"save as" to get around that problem.) It runs in a small
window and won't go full-screen. But it's still quite useable.
It hasn't been tested under Vista or Windows 7.
Serenade (inexpensive shareware)
NOTE: There are other
midi-related programs at this site
that are worth a try!
Although this program is really a midi utility, it can
be used to enter lyrics into a midi file.
Various midi sequencer programs can also be used to enter
lyrics. In addition, some player programs can be used
for spot editing of lyrics and most programs that edit
or create midi-karaoke can also play midi-karaoke files.
Q: Is it possible to add chord symbols to
a .kar file?
A: Yes, it can be done. However, the method will vary with the player
you are using. The following method can be used to get the chord
to scroll horizontally as the lyrics scroll vertically in Karawin:
If you know the chords and where they appear,
the easiest way to add them is to put them in
square brackets just before the lyric with
which they are associated.
If you don't know what the chords are in a particular midi
file, there are several programs that attempt to "guess"
what they are. The utility, GNMidi (shareware) does that,
as do the latest versions of the commercial programs,
Band-In-A-Box and PowerTracks ProAudio from PG Music. GNMidi
can put the chord symbols into a midi file in several different formats
to match several different players, including an automatic version of
the procedure for Karawin (see above, and refer to the documentation
for GNMidi version 2.49). There may be more programs
that guess at chords and they will be added as they are made known.
Meanwhile, some members of alt.binaries.karaoke are willing and able
to do the job for you. Just post the file that you wish to have
chord symbols added to and put REQ CHORDS in your subject line.
Q: What is Ultrastar, and how does it tie
in to midi-karaoke?
A: A: There is a popular game made for the Sony Playstation
2 named SingStar. The game comes with songs, and additional
songs are available. The object of the game is to sing
the songs on key, and the player is rated according to
how well he or she sings. UltraStar is an attempt, admittedly
in alpha version, to do the same thing on a computer.
You can find UltraStar and much information about it at:
Q: What does [met tekst]
when it appears in a subject heading?
A: One of our members, known as "Afoklala," started using
that designation for .kar files he created. Here's his response:
"It's Dutch (my language) and it means 'with
are karaoke files. I started doing that to distinguish karaoke
files from other midi's on my hard drive (using the .kar
extension doesn't work, because my sequencer and notation
software don't recognize that extension as a midi file).
As it would be too much trouble to change the filenames back
every time I post something to this newsgroup, I simply posted
them 'as is', and every now and then I explain (to newcomers)
what the [met tekst] part means. I intended it to be something
happening only on my own hard drive, but I've seen now people
with no knowledge of the Dutch language at all adopting it
as a standard :-)"
(Editors Note: files designated as *[met tekst].mid are equivalent to
files designated as *.kar for all practical purposes; they are
interchangable and can be renamed, if necessary.)
Q: I am making my own midi-karaoke's
and I need help. What to do?
A: You are in the right group. Most users here can help
or give some advice on hot to solve any problems you
Q: I have a midi-karaoke with a copyright notice.
What should I do?
A: Copyright is a complex and controversial issue. Some
guidelines for dealing with midi and midi-karaoke files
that carry copyright notices can be found at:
There is a rather long discussion of copyright at a site that
is no longer up, but its contents can be found (at least
Look at the left sidebar for the discussion of midi
files and copyright.
Q: I don't like a midi(karaoke)-sequence
and want to change it to make it sound better
on my configuration. Is that OK?
A: This is about some form of etiquette, really. Sequences
can always be changed for your own private use or taste,
but do not repost or redistribute them without asking
permission or approval from the original sequencer/author.
Q: Sometimes there is no indication of
who created a
midi file, no copyright notice, and yet, it sounds like
it was commercially made. Should I be suspicious?
A: Again, be careful about distributing a .kar made with
such a file. Keep it for yourself unless or until somebody
can assure you that it was or wasn't copyrighted and/or
a commercial product.
Q: What is flooding?
A: Flooding is the term for the result of an individual
posting many files in a short period of time. Flooding is
done in many other newsgroups. Flooding is not completely
discouraged in ABK. However, since many users do not have
broadband connections, some are forced to download entire
messages rather than just headers, and people organize
their files differently, you can use these guidelines for
making your contributions:
1. Limit any posting to a maximum of fifty (50) files per
2. Organize files you post; either alphabetically or by
category (by artist, by topic, by language, by time
period or style, etc.)
3. Post a message describing the set of files you post,
so that people who are not interested in that set can
skip it (or delete it if they are forced to download
4. The use of zip archives, with a limit of twenty (20)
files per zip, arranged by category is greatly
encouraged. It would also be helpful to include a
short text file in the zip, describing the karaoke
files in the zip.
Q: I have read discussion in the group
about a midi-karaoke file that didn't appear
on my server and I'd love to have it.
Should I request that it be reposted?
A: As you are probably aware, newsgroups present a problem
in that posts don't always show up immediately. There will
be some delay before some news servers get them. As a
result, some users miss posts. This problem can be very
severe in binary groups where multiple-part zips are
attached to several messages and people who subscribe to
these groups are often advised to use a paying news service.
Fortunately, ABK rarely shows that problem. If you know that
a file has been posted but you didn't see it, ask for a
repost. Somebody will usually repost it for you. If you were
the original poster of the file, but don't see it right
away, you might try waiting a day or two before asking if it
showed up. Sometimes files show up quickly on everyone
else's server but yours!
Q: Sometimes I seem any messages with
the same filename mentioned in the subject-line.
They have numbers like (0/17) and (3/10) in them.
If I try to open the messages, I see what appears to be
random characters. How do I get these files to work?
A: What you are seeing are multi-part files. Usually they
are posted to newsgroups when the files are very large. In
ABK, we rarely see such large files. However, some ISP's,
AOL in particular, severely limit the size of a message
posted to a newsgroup. One way around that is to post
multi-part files with each part attached to a separate
message. There are programs that will do that automatically
for the person who is posting them.
Usually the (0/n) is a message that describes
the file in plain language, with the "n" being the number
of parts of the file you can expect. The other messages are
numbered with the consecutive parts of the file.
Without getting too technical, all binary files, whether
single-part or multi-part, must be encoded (usually with
a system called MIME 64) to be transmitted via newsgroups,
which really only use plain text. They must be decoded at
your end. All the news reader programs can decode single-
part files. But not all news reader programs can combine
and decode multi-part files.
A single program called YencPowerPost can encode files into
a system called yENC, which is supposed to be more efficient
than MIME 64 and then split those files on to multi-part
messages and post them automatically. All information and
a download link for it can be found at:
If your newsreader program fails to decode a file, save the
entire message, including multiple-part messages, as a
text file. You may then run it through a program like
WinZip where there's a better chance of its being decoded.
As an alternative, there is an extension to Windows Explorer
that will decode files contained in that saved text file. It
is donation-ware ($5 optional), it's called Decode Shell
Extension, and it's available from the "free program" section
of the following site:
Read the directions at the Funduc website before attempting
to download and install the program. Better still, print
out those instructions before downloading! Once installed,
locate that text file that you prepared with Windows Explorer,
highlight it, and then right-click it and select "decode"
from the context menu that pops up.
Q: You mentioned YencPost. What is yEncoding
and why can't my newsreader decode it?
A: yEncoding is a method of encoding that is different
from the MIME 64 encoding mentioned in the last answer.
It's popular among some posters in some newsgroups. It
seems to make more efficient use of bandwidth. There
are newsreaders that will decode messages encoded with
yEncoding. They include YencPost and Forte Agent 1.91.
Unfortunately, they do NOT include Outlook Express.
There are many free encoders, decoders and news reader
programs that will handle yEncoding listed at this
Q: Can anyone tell me if there's a little program
that can convert midi to wav files?
What about .kar files to wav or mp3?
A: The same thing either way, .kar files are MIDI files.
The simplest method is recording the output of your MIDI synth as it
plays. If your soundcard can record the synth out (check in Windows
mixer, options/properties/recording), the just use a sound recording
program and a MIDI player together.
If you don't like your synth sounds, you can upgrade them and gain
MIDI to audio file conversion using Roland's VSC88 software synth.
www.edirol.com -- it isn't freeware but it does work very well for
There is also a program for doing this in an easy way.
It's midi2wav, which can be found at:
Its about $25.
A web site that links to the site of other, similar programs
advice on how to use them is listed below:
A very versatile program that has, among other functions, the ability
to convert midi to .wav is Synthfont. It can be found at:
Q: What about the reverse: converting
or other audio files to midi?
A: The short answer is that it can't be done. For the
long answer, and for recent progress in this area, please
This link now includes a graphical analysis of a short snippet
of an audio file containing a guitar chord played against a
snare drum (to keep time) and a very low volume rhythm guitar.
There is also a written description, complete with table, of
what this analysis shows and the difficulty of isolating notes
in a chord even with one instrument. The material was supplied
by a person identified only as "Soltron," in a message in the
Usenet newsgroup, alt.binaries.sheet-music, and used here with
Q: Can midi and .kar files be
to .AVI or .MP3+G, or CDG?
A: It depends on what you mean by "directly." There are several ways
to do this with screen capture programs, such as Easy Video Capture
and others. These have not been tested as of this writing. You can
then convert the native format of the screen capture program to the
format you desire. There are also programs from:
that will convert midi or .kar to .AVI, to .MP3+G, or even to CDG.
You can download demo versions of these programs that work
for a limited
amount of time and don't allow files to be saved
unless they are
The pay versions do come with full
documentation. Both programs also
with players that can
be used stand-alone or within the studio programs.
the documentation for the programs or post questions in either alt.binaries.sounds.karaoke or alt.music.karaoke for specifics.
Q: Hi, just wondering if midi karaoke is
as good as
it gets... I find it hard to believe there isn't any
MP3 quality karaoke with some sort of subtitle plugin
for the lyrics. Anyway, if someone knows anything
please let me know.
A: It kind of depends on what you mean by "as good
as it gets." Please see:
Q: I'm new to midi and I want to learn
more about it.
Is there a guide for beginners and where can I find it?
A: The entire area of electronic music production has progressed to
the point where such a source would be difficult to find. In addition,
the actual equipment used to produce and edit midi varies so much
that it's essential to read and understand manuals, help files, etc.,
that came with your hardware and/or software. In addition to that,
although old, the following links have very useful information:
You can also, at least temporarily, go to:
The archive of this site, which is no longer up, contains
a wealth of information about midi, even though some
of it is dated. Among the items you'll find there is the last
known revision of the FAQ of alt.binaries.sounds.midi.
And finally for this list, but perhaps not all that exist:
for discussion groups, midi documentation, etc.
There are books on midi, usually published around 1985 to 1995. Later
than that, you are more likely to see books on home recording that
concentrate on recording technique, devote a chapter to midi
(usually in the middle of the book) and then continue with digital
However, there is a very good book that starts with a detailed
of midi and then evolves into digital audio. The book is:
The MIDI Manual, 3rd Edition
by David Miles Huber
published by Focal Press
Thanks for reading and enjoy this group and midi-karaoke!