Using MIDI Files for Clarinet Practicing

MIDI files have been around since the 1980s for creating synthesized music. Technology changes so often, yet it is remarkable how MIDI files are still around and useful today. For clarinetists, MIDI files can be a wonderful practice tool for working with accompaniments. SmartMusic is great, but requires a subscription and doesn't always have the clarinet literature needed. I recently found a wonderful website, MUSIX4ME, containing a significant collection of MIDI files of clarinet accompaniments. They are all free to download. Here is how to use them with GarageBand for practicing and memorizing music.

MIDI File Workflow:

  • Download the complete collection via Google Drive
  • Open GarageBand and choose a Blank Session
  • Simply drag the MIDI file into the GarageBand window. It will ask you if you want to import the tempo. You do want to import the tempo.
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Many of the MIDI tracks include the clarinet part as well as the piano part. Here some advantages of doing this with GarageBand.

  • You can mute or solo any track.
  • You can change the tempo without affecting the pitch.
  • You can set loop points for practicing specific sections of music. GarageBand will automatically return to the beginning of the loop for playback with you having to interact with the computer.
  • You can also bounce the MIDI file to an audio file, for import to your iPhone for mobile playback and practicing.
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If you want a more simply approach from using GarageBand, you can download a small MIDI Player app. One nice option is MIDIPlayer X available on the Mac App Store. It is a lightweight app that does a few things well:

  • Drag any Standard MIDI File onto the App Window for Playback
  • Mute channels
  • Change Tempo

It doesn't allow for specific looped areas of playback like you can with GarageBand, or saving out audio file versions.

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Prismatic Winds Performance - May 31, 2018

BYU-ldaho‘s Faculty Woodwind Quintet, Prismatic Winds, will be joined by guest pianist Dr. Andrew Todd, CEO and President of the Grand Teton Music Festival, to perform works by Beethoven, Poulenc, and Shostakovich. The concert will take place in the Snow Recital Hall on Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 7:30pm. You can watch the recital live online at the following address: http://www.byui.edu/music/events/watch-live.

The performance will then be repeated in Jackson Hole, WY as a part of the Grand Teton Music Summer Festival on Friday, June 15, 2018 at 7:00pm in Walk Festival Hall.

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Faculty Chamber Recital - May 10, 2018 - 7:30pm, Snow Recital Hall

In March, we presented a chamber recital at the Carr Gallery in Idaho Falls, for the Idaho Falls Symphony Chamber Series. We are pleased to repeat this recital at BYU-Idaho on May 10th.

Performers are:

  • Emma Rubinstein, violin
  • Lisa McNiven, viola
  • Robert Tueller, cello
  • Adam Ballif, clarinet
  • Stephen Thomas, piano

This program has a wonderful collection of music from Darius Milhaud, Robert Schumann, Georgina Sanchez, and Johannes Brahms.

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Idaho Falls Symphony Concert - Beethoven 6

 www.ifsymphony.org

www.ifsymphony.org

Concertmaster Emma Rubinstein performs the contemplative Kol Nidrei for solo violin and orchestra during the Jewish Holy Days. We will marvel at nature’s grandeur through the music of Alan Hovhannes, who quotes the songs of whales, and Beethoven’s “Pastoral Symphony” closes the program with a familiar and uniquely Classical celebration.

PROGRAM:

Idaho Falls Symphony Thomas Heuser, conductor Emma Rubinstein, violin soloist Saturday, October 14th, 7:30pm, Civic Auditorium

Der Freischütz Overture Carl Maria von Weber Kol Nidrei for Solo Violin Max Bruch "And God Created Great Whales" Alan Hovhaness Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 "Pastorale" Ludwig van Beethoven

Idaho Falls Symphony Concert in the Park

The Idaho Falls Symphony kicks off the 2017-2018 season with a concert in Idaho Falls at Freeman Park. The theme of the concert includes music about Autumn and Summer. For clarinetists, we are performing music from Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream, including the infamous Scherzo. Having prepared this excerpt for many auditions, it is fun to be able to perform this with orchestra. The full program is below. The concert starts at 5:30pm at Freeman Park on Saturday, September 9th.

Title Composer
In Autumn Edvard Grieg
Bacchanal from The Seasons: Autumn Alexander Glasunov
Selections from A Midsummer Night's Dream Felix Mendelssohn
Scherzo, Intermezzo, Nocturne, Wedding March, Dance of the Clowns
Stars and Stripes Forever John Philip Sousa

Ballif Duo Performs at ClarinetFest 2017 in Orlando, FL

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Kristi and I had a great performance at ClarinetFest in Orlando on Saturday July 29th. We performed _e++ for flute, clarinet, and electronics_ by Russell Pinkston. We were part of the electronics recital at ClarinetFest. The program is below.

 

July 29th, 2017 - 4:30pm, Seminole A/B

 

Music for Clarinet and Electronics

Pacific (2017) Daniel Eichenbaum(b. 1977)

PEN TRIO

Nora Lewis, oboe

Phillip O. Paglialonga, clarinet

Eric Van der Veer Varner, bassoon

Phillip O. Paglialonga’s appearance is sponsored in part by Gonzalez Reeds

 

e++ for Flute, Clarinet, and Max/MSP Russell Pinkston

Adam Ballif, clarinet

Kristi Ballif, flute

The Ballif Duo’s appearance is sponsored in part by

Brigham Young University - Idaho

 

 

Electro-Beat Triptych Josh Bennett

Hangin’ wit Esquivel (b. 1982)

Josh Bennett, clarinet and electronics

 

 

Twitter Rhapsody for Clarinet and Fixed Audio Ken Davies

Sarunas Jankauskas, clarinet

Sarunas Jankauska’s appearance is sponsored by James Madison University

 

 

Infinite Edges (2017) Eric Mandat

Eric Mandat, clarinet

 

Senser-ed fingerings for clarinet quartet Catalina Von Wrangell

and live electronics (b. 1988)

MIAMICLARINET

Margaret Donaghue Flavin and Dawn McConkie, clarinets

Danielle Woolery and Michael Walsh, bass clarinets

Prismatic Winds Recital - July 6, 2017

Prismatic Winds Recital, July 6, 2017

The Prismatic Winds will perform works by Karl Pilss, Ferenc Farkas, and Miguel del Aguila. The quintet is please to be joined by Aaron Miller who will be featured on Double Bass for Four Pieces by Farkas. Miguel del Aguila’s Wind Quintet No. 2 is a unique work that includes extended techniques for the quintet. These techniques including flutter tonguing, singing, pitch bends, and key clicks. The variety of music in this program is designed to appeal to all audiences. The recital will be held in the Snow Recital Hall on Thursday, July 6, 2017 at 7:30pm.

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Faculty Recital - Clarinet, Cello, Piano

Ballif, Tueller, Thomas Faculty Recital

Thursday, September 22, 2016 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM Snow 269 Recital Hall

Music faculty members Adam Ballif, clarinet; Robert Tueller, cello; and Stephen Thomas, piano, will present a recital of chamber music. The recital will open with a standard masterwork for this combination of instruments, Beethoven’s Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 11. Two additional trios from the 20th century will be performed: Robert Muczynski’s Fantasy Trio (1969) and Nino Rota’s Trio (1973.) Free admission, event dress.

This will be streamed live at the following address: http://www.byui.edu/music/events/watch-live

We hope that you can attend or watch the live stream.

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