Frequently Asked Questions about the newsgroup
-=-=- Link to MidiCo was misspelled -=-=-
-=-=- now fixed -=-=-
-=-=- Revised Section on Winamp
-=-=- A Link -- now fixed -=-=-
-=-=- Revised Section on
-=-=- Added Section on Coolsoft
-=-=- Virtual Midi Synth and Suggested
-=-=- Soundfonts To Go With It -=-=-
-=-=- Dead and Redirected Links
-=-=- or Changed -=-=-
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,
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:
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.
Also, when installing this player under Windows Vista, Windows 7,
or Windows 8, it is preferable to install it as an Administrator.
To do this, right-click the setup file that you downloaded and select
"Run as administrator" from the context menu that pops up.
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.
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: I have just
joined the Winamp forum, now very active,
and have asked that
question. In previous versions of this FAQ,
the answer was NO, even
though in even earlier versions the advice
was to use plugin 3.07. I
have read through the Winamp forum and
discovered that the last
question about karaoke was raised in 2010,
and did not distinguish
between various types of karaoke files.
For those who need it, the link is:
Q: What about QuickTime?
A: As of this writing, there is no plugin for QuickTime for playing .kar
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 the only 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. That having been
found several players for Mac OS-X and links
for downloading them:
1. Qmidi for Mac Standard at:
2. Sweet Midi Player
which also works under Windows
3. MidiCo Karaoke Player and
Kanto Player at:
a Windows version also exists.
For Linux, three
players commonly used are Pykaraoke and Kmid.
Linux users will find
these at several repositories. Try the
repository for your distro
first. Note that Kmid is designed
for use with the KDE desktop.
Q: Are there karaoke players for
Android-based tablets and slates?
A: There are many. Go
to the Google App Store and you will get a list.
Are there midi-karaoke players
the iPhone and/or the iPad?
A: Using iTunes, you can go to the Apple App store
there are several good players for .kar files.
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 (6.5) 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 with
operating systems up to and including Windows XP.
It hasn't been tested under Vista, but under Windows 7 it
will behave just as it does in Windows XP,
once installed, but instead of crashing when you attempt
to save a file and that file has a filename that already
exists in the current folder, it will create a temporary
file which you can safely discard and then follow the
procedure given for Windows XP.
However. You might get an error when you attempt
to install Winkaraoke Creator under Windows 7
that a font was not installed and the installation
failed. A workaround for this problem is to
look for the file musical.ttf in the zip file
you downloaded, extract it to your desktop, and
then copy and paste it into your fonts folder
(which you will find in the Control Panel.)
After that, you can try the installation again.
(Hasn’t been updated since 2001!)
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: 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 how 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:
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. 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 see many 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:
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 $30
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 conveniently.
For background, please go to:
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
However, since the last revision of this file, there are two
programs that convert entire audio files to midi, but are most
successful with solo instruments or voice and in which extensive
editing of the resulting midi file may be necessary.
These two programs
Widi Recognition System:
For short clips, however, professional (read “expensive”)
(Digital Audio Workstations) and audio manipulation
work with multivoice tracks. At:
there is a comprehensive list of commercial DAWs. There are
freeware and shareware DAWs for a variety of operating
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:
My Windows operating system came with
and it has been adequate
but not really good-sounding. Is
there a substitute
short of buying an
expensive midi sound module?
A: Yes there is. It's called Coolsoft Virtual Midi Synth. It
load one or a number of soundfonts, and you can try out the
can obtain from various sites on the Web, even stack
them in Virtual
Midi Synth, and see which one or several
stacked ones are superior to
Microsoft GS Wavetable to your
ears. Of course, you must install
Coolsoft Virtual Midi Synth
first (it's donation-ware), then list the
soundfonts you wish
to try in Coolsoft Virtual Midi Synth, then set
player to use Coolsoft Virtual Midi Synth.
Virtual Midi Synth is available at:
soundfonts that I have tried with it are:
Titanic, available at:
NOTE: Download starts
SGM, available at:
NOTE: Download starts immediately
Timbres of Heaven, available at:
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:
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!