MIDI Instrument Routing

Command Location: Tools Menu / MIDI Options / MIDI Instrument Routing Tab

MIDI Instrument Routing allows you to control the way in which certain instruments (or MIDI ‘patches’) are handled by MidiIllustrator during playback.

When a MIDI file is created, each staff in the song is usually given a particular Channel and instrument Patch. You can read more about channels in the MIDI Channels and Drum Instruments section. Furthermore, when the file is first opened, MidiIllustrator will assign the default MIDI playback device to each staff. This is usually the soundcard in your computer which has 128 instrument ‘General MIDI’ sounds.

If you have more than one MIDI playback device available to your system however, you may prefer that all ‘Piano’ instruments are played using a dedicated ‘Piano’ MIDI module which you may have attached to your system via MIDI cables. Or you may simply prefer some instruments sounds from one sound card over another. In this case, you can create a MIDI Instrument Routing, which will tell MidiIllustrator to use a preferred instrument from a preferred MIDI playback device every time a new MIDI song is first opened.

Furthermore, some MIDI devices only ‘listen’ on certain channels, so you may wish to specify which channel is used for a particular routing.

The MIDI Instrument Routing tab has the following buttons:

The Add/Edit Routing Dialog

When you create or edit a routing, you must supply the following information:

For example, you may wish to have all Acoustic Grand Piano staves played using MIDI device ‘A’ on channel 1. In this case you would choose the following configuration:

Here we have specified a rule concerning which channel the instrument must originally be on for the routing to apply. The reason for this is that channel 10 is often treated differently to other MIDI channels (read more about this here: MIDI Channels and Drum Instruments) and we do not wish to mistakenly route instruments other than piano sounds. In keeping with this principle, when the original channel value is set to channel 10, the instrument names in the instrument box will automatically change to the corresponding General MIDI drum names.

Bear in mind that a given instrument patch may originally be set on any channel, so specifying an original channel such as ‘Channel 13’ may dramatically limit the number of effective routings. That said, in general you should be as strict as possible with routing rules to prevent unexpected behaviour during playback.

NOTE: Routings should be used with care as some can make your songs sound strange, and may even result in silent staves during playback if MIDI devices are not attached or switched on.

Once the routing has been created, it will be applied ALL MIDI FILES opened from that point on, and no reminder will be posted to inform you that a routing is being applied to a particular song staff.

You can temporarily disable routings at any time by unchecking the box on the left of the routing list.

When are Routings Applied?

Routings are applied whenever:

Routings will not be applied to existing *.MIL files as they are opened, and subsequent changes to channel and MIDI device settings using Staff Manager will not be overridden by routings.

Duplicate or Conflicting Routings

If you create duplicate or conflicting routings (i.e. routings where two different rules are applied to the same instrument/channel combination) then you may see unexpected results. MidiIllustrator will try to apply each and every routing in order to a staff in a given song, meaning that that the lowest valid routing in the list will take precedence over any others already applied.