4.3.1 Invoking midi2ly

midi2ly translates a Type 1 MIDI file to a LilyPond source file.

MIDI (Music Instrument Digital Interface) is a standard for digital instruments: it specifies cabling, a serial protocol and a file format. The MIDI file format is a de facto standard format for exporting music from other programs, so this capability may come in useful when importing files from a program that has a converter for a direct format.

midi2ly converts tracks into Staff and channels into Voice contexts. Relative mode is used for pitches, durations are only written when necessary.

It is possible to record a MIDI file using a digital keyboard, and then convert it to .ly. However, human players are not rhythmically exact enough to make a MIDI to LY conversion trivial. When invoked with quantizing (-s and -d options) midi2ly tries to compensate for these timing errors, but is not very good at this. It is therefore not recommended to use midi2ly for human-generated midi files.

It is invoked from the command line as follows,

midi2ly [option]… midi-file

Note that by ‘command line’, we mean the command line of the operating system. See Converting from other formats, for more information about this.

The following options are supported by midi2ly.

-a, --absolute-pitches

Print absolute pitches.

-d, --duration-quant=DUR

Quantize note durations on DUR.

-e, --explicit-durations

Print explicit durations.

-h, --help

Show summary of usage.

-k, --key=acc[:minor]

Set default key. acc > 0 sets number of sharps; acc < 0 sets number of flats. A minor key is indicated by :1.

-o, --output=file

Write output to file.

-s, --start-quant=DUR

Quantize note starts on DUR.

-t, --allow-tuplet=DUR*NUM/DEN

Allow tuplet durations DUR*NUM/DEN.

-v, --verbose

Be verbose.

-V, --version

Print version number.

-w, --warranty

Show warranty and copyright.

-x, --text-lyrics

Treat every text as a lyric.

Known issues and warnings

Overlapping notes in an arpeggio will not be correctly rendered. The first note will be read and the others will be ignored. Set them all to a single duration and add phrase markings or pedal indicators.


LilyPond Application Usage v2.25.13 (development-branch).