General MIDI File Information
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There are three common types of music file transfers:
Download - Transfers the file from the remote computer to your hard disk. You specify which directory to store the file. Some files can be ZIPed to reduce the filesize for transfer. They require a freeware program called PKUNZIP to extract the original file.
Play - Transfers the file from the remote computer to the memory area of your computer. Once the download is complete, the song is played.
Streaming - Same as play, except that the song starts playing while the transfer is in progress.
Unfortunately, not all soundcards sound alike. Given the many hardware methods for generating
sounds per the instruments programmed into a MID file, there will be extensive differences in the
quality of the playback. The following information reviews software and hardware used at the time
the Elite songs were produced. This will help you to correctly reproduce the sounds as originally
programmed. My future goal is to convert the MID files to WAV or MP3 files, which will eliminate
the playback differences of various soundcards.
High quality playback requires a (1) playback software, (2) a soundcard or audio interface, and (3) a good sound system. Some tunes, such as the Elite Theme (fancy) are very complex, and require quality components to hear all the instruments. Generally, the more you "pay", the better it "plays"!
Once you have the file it can be played by many different music programs. These can be stand-alone programs such as CakeWalk, or browser plug-ins from Microsoft, Apple, and Macromedia. There are way too many free and commercial programs to list here.
Browsers, used to have have plug-ins already installed, or simple plugins that you could download, to play the music. Then Microsoft went proprietary and all bet were off. Now each browser usually wants their own specific plugin. The closest there is to a universal standard so far is Apple's Quicktime.
Plug-ins and stand-alone programs are activated in most browsers by setting the preferences in the browser's applications page. The pages are often called "Helpers, Applications, or Plug-ins". The basic idea is to tell the browser which program to use when it encounters a certain type of file on the net. This can be setup for many types of files to customize your browser setup.
Personal browsers, such as those provided by your server, vary as to their ability to play MIDI files, and may or may not be able to use plug-ins. However, all of them should allow you to use "3rd party" programs which you start after going online to play the music files.
You can also download a file, and then use the Media Player that comes with Windows to play the tune.