Preparing midi tracks for cv/gate - MOONLIGHT SONATA ON ANALOG SYNTHESIZERS - Switched On Beethoven

Hi all,

Apologies if someone’s asked this before, but I wondered if anyone knows of any good resources for classical (or any really) midi tracks prepared for CV/Gate?

I was listening to LMNC’s recent MOONLIGHT SONATA video (incredible stuff) and wanted to give something similar a go. Sadly, I’m not musically-minded enough to get it all going through my keystep, and online midi tracks haven’t fit the bill so far.

Any midi track I can find is built for polyphonic synths, which don’t work well with midi to CV - any crossover of notes or multiple notes playing at the same time causes errors.

I guess I’m being lazy not editing this myself, but it seems like a really time-consuming process to edit each note so there’s no overlap, and separate each note of a chord into monophonic tracks etc.

Thought it was worth asking if anyone had any better ideas - thanks everyone!



You really do need to separate channels with chords happening into discrete voices. If you have a daw, it really less work that you might think.

If you don’t have a midi track already, then you would need to transcribe the notes yourself, but in these cases, there are absolutely existing midi files out there.

For your case, first determine how many voices you can have for it, then you can see how you want to map them. One thing to keep in mind is that what commonly happens is that for chord harmony they have a bass note on top of a triad. That is usually the chord’s first interval, but lower.

You can start just by splitting the intervals of the chord into separate tracks, but if you are limited in the number of voices, another route is to do what video games used to and translate chord harmony into arpeggios. That way you get the illusion of harmony, but with only one voice!

Of course, if you have a poly instrument that accepts midi, you could always just send note data to the channel for that synth.


I’ve occasionally started with a MIDI track, but I find I have to open it in a notation package (I use MuseScore3) and paste phrases out to a clean track. Generally, (for example, when I programmed Holst’s Planet Suite for Arduinos), I find its actually a lot easier working from the actual orchestral score and deciding myself what tracks are required for which parts.

Fundamentally, for a MIDI file to sound natural, it won’t be neatly quantised for visual display. Any that display nicely in a notation package will sound very mechanical when played. And most MIDI files have a lot of additional information in them - I strip out all expression information and program/control change messages for example to prevent overloading my Arduinos. Again, an expressive MIDI file will have lots of continuous controller messages in to provide “on note” dynamics (they usually use the breath controller for after-touch expression), especially for anything classical. It is very different sending one to a modern General MIDI compliant computer-based MIDI setup compared to sending one to a synth.

There isn’t an easy answer that I’ve found. It is a lot of work :slight_smile: . This tweet has a short extract of my then “work in progress” for Jupiter showing the main theme playing in MuseScore -

If anyone is interested, I’ve talked about the make-up of my own “Lo-Fi Orchestra” and a bit about how I arrange things in this post: The Lo-Fi Orchestra Explainer – Simple DIY Electronic Music Projects

If you have multi-part staves though, I’ve found the MuseScore “Explode” and “Implode” tools really useful. They will expand out a polyphonic stave into many monophonic staves (and reverse it when required), but even that needs tidying up if there aren’t a consistent number of lines.