MIDI Masquerade

In 2015, someone posted a very large collection of MIDI files to Reddit, numbering at around 130,000 files total. I just downloaded and extracted it and I have now become this man.

Many of these files are transcriptions of pop, classical music, and video game soundtracks, dutifully sequenced by fans. Others are pretty awesome original works. Still others are just a single melody or set of chords.

It’s fun to pick a mid file at random, and if you like the track, to try and find out more about what it is, if it’s a cover of something, etc.

Some random picks:

  • ParadiseIsland.mid (Michael Walthius – Adventures on Paradise Island)
  • Streetlife-1.mid (The Crusaders – Street Life)
  • z2lapse.mid (LamSon Nguyen VanLam – Two Lapses)

But let me get to the main topic of this post. For whatever reason, some files that were not MIDI sequences were renamed .mid, and ended up in these internet collections. I guess people running MIDI repository sites weren’t very concerned about screening their files.

Here are some finds:

  • sou.mid – compressed archive containing what appears to be promotional content for a Japanese cop show.

  • how_do_i_live.mid – just an MP3 file. Spotted because it’s the largest file in the set.
  • horse03.mid WAV sample – Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • hiatt.mid WAV sample – John Hiatt- Drive South
  • Amanda Wilson – Gotta Let You Go.mid – simply contains the ASCII text “file does not exist”
  • stereo.mid – WAV sample – “This is a journey into sound. A journey which along the way will bring to you new color, new dimension, new values.”
  • Somebody2.mid – dead hyperlink to an MP3 version of Somebody Help Me.

OK, so the only really intriguing one so far is the zip file with Japanese cop show stuff in it. Will add more to this post if I find anything worth highlighting.

1/5/2017 – Most standard MIDI files begin with either “MThd” or “RIFF” as a header identifier. Need to do some more culling, but a quick search for files that don’t match either header yielded around 1000 results.

19/Mar/2017 – Here are some more finds. I think I’ve satisfied my curiosity, and probably won’t come back to this. I just think it’s interesting how tiny bits and pieces of different things all over the world found their way into this collection.

  • andyl15.mid – Old 404 HTML page for the long-defunct web host Xoom.com.

  • saluetg.mid – HTML page belonging to ‘The MIDI Farm’.
  • SUPPORT.MID – BBS listings for DMP / Dual Module Player, a module tracker program.
  • TwistAndShout2.mid – Someone’s HTML page about the Beatles’ Please Please Me, presumably a MIDI version of the album.
  • island2.mid – HTML page from “Miss Pita’s Domain”, a Geocities site circa 2000, now long gone. “Edited entirely by WebTv” is proudly displayed at the top. Here’s a mirror of the original site — though this one is a bit different.
  • hall_wee.mid – Multi-part MIME file with a couple of MIDIs based on the Halloween soundtrack (judith.mid and laurie.mid, already in the collection). Includes a promising warning at the top:
Content-Type: text/plain;
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Do NOT listen to this music at midnight with all the lights off in the =
house. I did once and my friend came VERY fucking close to making me =
shit my pants.
  • F242.MID – This is a tracker module — a different sequencing format that includes instrument samples. F242 refers to German electronic group Front 242, which this module samples (per the internal notes).
  • bark.mid – NeXT Sound File of a dog barking.
  • swans.mid – NeXT Sound File, 19 second excerpt of a song I haven’t identified.
  • meg.mid – Shin Megami Tensei “BMS” music pack. Looping samples and a header file containing sequence data. My understanding is that this would be imported into a rhythm game.
  • bumble_b.mid – Seems to be a system component of an old version of Windows, maybe 3.0 or 3.1. References to EMS and various Windows file paths and fonts.
  • amc.mid – BMS package, similar to meg.mid above.
  • DAYSOF.MID – Sampled tracker module, like F242.MID above.
  • c04014.mid – Text file. Appears to be lyrics for a pop song by Taiwanese duo Ukulele – 《不知所措》 優客李林
  • JOYWRLD.mid – 
  • bluegrass.mid – 
  • absence_of_fear.mid – 
  • two_of_us.mid – 


And here’s a false positive: andshewas.mid is a valid MIDI file. Something prepended a text header to the top — it works if you delete that from the file.

(e:25/Mar/2017: wording)