Opening and Viewing Scores

Before you can use MidiIllustrator to convert song files into sheet music, you must first acquire some music files stored in a format that MidiIllustrator can read.

To get you started, the MidiIllustrator download package includes some sample scores so you can see right away what MidiIllustrator can do.  See the 'Samples' folder, usually found in the active user 'Documents' folder, in the "Rallentando Software\MidiIllustrator..." sub-folder.

MidiIllustrator can open files of the following types:

File Types MidiIllustrator Can Open

*.mid Standard MIDI File (SMF) format

Stores musical information as notes within staves, specifically the note pitches and their starting and ending times.

Instrument Sounds

Unlike audio music files, such as .WAV and .MP3, MIDI files do not contain instrument sounds per se, and the instrument sounds in a performance are ultimately determined by the MIDI soundcard in your computer.  This allows MIDI files to be much smaller, more portable and more easily modified than other music file formats.


MIDI files contain very little (or no) information about the visual representation of the music, e.g. beams, ties, chord names.  It is up to MidiIllustrator to convert this simple musical information into readable sheet music, generating all the notation necessary to support the raw MIDI note data.

*.kar Karaoke File

A special type of MIDI file with a staff dedicated to storing lyrics as well as notes in the SMF format.

MidiIllustrator treats Karaoke files in much the same way as MIDI files, but includes some advanced options for optimizing the presentation of lyrics within the score. When you open a Karaoke file containing lyrics, MidiIllustrator will optionally ask you if you would like to present the score as a Song Lead Sheet. See Song Lead Sheets and Fake Books for further detail.

*.mil MidiIllustrator Score

This is a special file format used only by MidiIllustrator to store all of the musical and visual information contained in a score.




MusicXML Score

MidiIllustrator supports the import of the popular MusicXML format, allowing MidiIllustrator users to access another source of high quality music.

Many features of MusicXML are implemented in the current release with more to come.

All versions of MusicXML are supported (1.0 to 4.0) as are compressed MusicXML scores in the .mxl format. Unicode MusicXML content is supported.

Like MidiIllustrator's own .mil format, MusicXML files can store more specific notation information than the MIDI format.

MidiIllustrator will display notation coloring, finger numbers, slurs, etc. from imported MusicXML scores.

Additionally, scores created in other music programs supporting MusicXML can now be easily opened in MidiIllustrator.

Key features of MusicXML implemented in the current release:

  • Core Notation Elements
  • Lyrics
  • Slurs
  • Note Colors
  • Note Fingering
  • Tempo Changes
  • Key Changes
  • Time Signatures
  • Instrument Changes and Information
  • Pedal Events
  • Volume Changes
  • Score Titles
    • Part/Instrument
    • Work
    • Movement
    • Creator
    • Copyright


*.mit MidiIllustrator Score Template MidiIllustrator Maestro Only Feature

Like the *.mil file format, this is a special file format used only by MidiIllustrator to store all the building blocks for a new MidiIllustrator score.

See also Score Templates.

Saving files with MidiIllustrator

When MidiIllustrator notates scores, a special file format is needed to store all the information that cannot be stored in a standard MIDI or Karaoke file. If you wish to store information beyond the underlying MIDI data in a score then you must save your files in the MIL format (.mil).  Files saved in the simpler MIDI format will be stripped of all formatting and a lot of musical attributes, such as chord names, fonts, colors etc.

Ways to Open Files

Files can be opened in MidiIllustrator in one of the following ways:

What Happens When A File is Opened?

If you are opening a MIDI (or Karaoke) file, MidiIllustrator can immediately transcribe the MIDI data as notation.  By default, MidiIllustrator will start the Score Transcription Wizard for each MIDI file opened, although you can have MidiIllustrator notate the score automatically without this step if you prefer. With the Wizard you can determine the 'style' in which the MIDI content is notated.  You may also hit the 'Skip Wizard' button at any time to have MidiIllustrator notate the score automatically.

Transcription options are not offered for MusicXML files on import however you can re-transcribe at any time after loading using the Transcription Options tab of Score Options.

By default, the score will be displayed in 'Window View'.  This allows MidiIllustrator to make best use of the space on the screen and to show you as much of the score as possible without any of the limitations of page boundaries.  If you would like to see the score as it would appear on the printed page simply switch to 'Page View' using the View Menu.  For more information on the difference between 'Window View' and 'Page View' look here.

You can quickly increase or decrease the size of the score by clicking on the Zoom buttons on the toolbar.

If you are opening an MIL file then MidiIllustrator has already transcribed the underlying MIDI data.  MIL files typically open a little faster than other file formats for this reason.


What else can you do with MidiIllustrator?