Extending the Library
The choice of MIDI event types included in the library is somewhat
idiosyncratic; I included the events I needed for another software
project I was wrote. You may find that you need additional events in
your work. For this reason I am including some instructions on extending
the library. The process isn't too hard (provided you have a working
knowledge of Python and the MIDI standard), so the task shouldn't present
a competent coder too much difficulty. Alternately (if, for example,
you *don't* have a working knowledge of MIDI and don't desire to gain it),
you can submit new feature requests to me, and I will include them into
the development branch of the code, subject to the constraints of time.
To illustrate the process I show below how the MIDI tempo event is
incorporated into the code. This is a relatively simple event, so while
it may not illustrate some of the subtleties of MIDI programing, it
provides a good, illustrative case.
Create a New Event Type
The first order of business is to create a new subclass of the GnericEvent
object of the MIDIFile module. This subclass initializes any specific
instance data that is needed for the MIDI event to be written. In
the case of the tempo event, it is the actual tempo (which is defined
in the MIDI standard to be 60000000 divided by the tempo in beats per
minute). This class should also call the superclass' initializer with
the event time and set the event type (a unique string used internally by
the software) in the __init__() function. In the case of the tempo event:
self.type = 'tempo'
self.tempo = int(60000000 / tempo)
Next (and this is an embarrassing break of OO programming) the __eq__()
function of the GenericEvent class should be modified so that equality
of these types of events can be calculated. In calculating equivalence
time is always checked, so two tempo events are considered the same if
the have the same tempo value. Thus the following snippet of code from
GenericEvent's _eq__() function accomplishes this goal:
if self.type == 'tempo':
if self.tempo != other.tempo:
If events are equivalent, the code should return False. If they are not
equivalent no return should be called.
Create an Accessor Function
Next, an accessor function should be added to MIDITrack to create an
event of this type. Continuing the example of the tempo event:
The public accessor function is via the MIDIFile object, and must include
the track number to which the event is written:
This is the function you will use in your code to create an event of
the desired type.
Next, the logic pertaining to the new event type should be added to
processEventList function of the MIDITrack class. In general this code
will create a MIDIEvent object and set its type, time, ordinality, and
any specific information that is needed for the event type. This object
is then added to the MIDIEventList.
The ordinality (self.ord) is a number that tells the software how to
sequence MIDI events that occur at the same time. The higher the number,
the later in the sequence the event will be written in comparison to
other, simultaneous events.
The relevant section for the tempo event is:
elif thing.type == 'tempo':
event = MIDIEvent()
event.type = "Tempo"
event.time = thing.time * TICKSPERBEAT
event.tempo = thing.tempo
event.ord = 3
Thus if other events occur at the same time, type which have an ordinality
of 1 or 2 will be written to the stream first.
Time needs to be converted from beats (which the accessor function uses)
and MIDI time by multiplying by the constant TICKSPERBEAT. The value
of thing.type is the unique string you defined above, and event.type
is another unique things (they can--and probably should--be the same,
although the coding here is a little sloppy and changes case of the
Write the Event Data to the MIDI Stream
The last step is to modify the MIDIFile writeEventsToStream function;
here is where some understanding of the MIDI standard is necessary. The
following code shows the creation of a MIDI tempo event:
elif event.type == "Tempo":
code = 0xFF
subcode = 0x51
fourbite = struct.pack('>L', event.tempo)
threebite = fourbite[1:4] # Just discard the MSB
varTime = writeVarLength(event.time)
for timeByte in varTime:
self.MIDIdata = self.MIDIdata + struct.pack('>B',timeByte)
self.MIDIdata = self.MIDIdata + struct.pack('>B',code)
self.MIDIdata = self.MIDIdata + struct.pack('>B',subcode)
self.MIDIdata = self.MIDIdata + struct.pack('>B', 0x03)
self.MIDIdata = self.MIDIdata + threebite
The event.type string ("Tempo") was the one chosen in the processEventList
The code and subcode are binary values that come from the MIDI
Next the data is packed into a three byte structure (or a four byte
structure, discarding the most significant byte). Again, the MIDI
specification determines the number of bytes used in the data payload.
The event time should be converted to MIDI variable-length data with the
writeVarLength() function before writing to the stream (as shown above).
The MIDI standard utilizes a slightly bizarre variable length data
record. In it, only seven bits of a word are used to store data; the
eighth bit signifies if more bytes encoding the value follow. The total
length may be 1 to 3 bytes, depending upon the size of the value encoded.
The writeVarLength() function takes care of this conversion for you.
Now the data is written to the binary object self.MIDIdata, which is
the actual MIDI-encoded data stream. As per the MIDI standard, first we
write our variable-length time value. Next we add the event type code and
subcode. Then we write the length of the data payload, which in the case
of the tempo event is three bytes. Lastly, we write the actual payload,
which has been packed into the variable threebite.
Clear as mud!