Exploring the various ways to create XF MIDI files

Started by admin, March 31, 2021, 04:10:06 PM

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As I was researching into various ways to convert a printed Sheet Music into a Yamaha XF MIDI file I ended up taking notes and creating a User Guide that may be useful to others.

The process involves 3 components:

  • Flatbed Scanner
  • Music Scanning Software
  • Music Notation Software that can export to XF MIDI

If you want a dependable professional solution your best bet is to get the Epson Perfection V39 Photo Scanner, run the Image Recognition through SmartScore 64 Pro and export the Music XML file using Notation Composer 4.

This costs around $500.

There is a cheaper workaround that works on simple scores. Rather than purchasing the Epson Scanner and SmartScore 64 Pro, you can use the NoteReader App that installs on your iPhone.

This lets you take a snapshot of the score sheet using your iPhone camera and the NoteReader App instantly plays back the score on your iPhone. If you upgrade to the Premium version for $9.99, you get the added capability to download the MIDI file.

This Standard MIDI file will not contain any Lyrics or Chords. However, it is very easy to add them in Notation Composer 4 and finally export it as an XG MIDI file.

Notation Composer automatically inserts the Yamaha META Chord Events creating a true XF MIDI file that can be played back on any Yamaha Arranger Keyboard. They drive the chord changes when you select any Style.

This solution costs $109.

I have included all the steps in my User Guide with annotated screenshots.

GNMIDI 3.7 turned out to be the best utility to spit out the contents of an XF MIDI file into Excel and examine the short SysEx messages that constitute the META Chord Events.

I compared the free versions of various music notation programs – Crescendo, MuseScore, Dorico, Sibelius, Finale, Noteflight and StaffPad.

Dorico has the most modern User Interface. It offers a simple and intuitive workflow. Once Dorico adds the capability to handle the XF extensions to the Yamaha XG format, it would become the notation software of choice for creating XF MIDI files.

Until then, Notation Composer remains your only solution. You can import all the 6,675 Wikifonia Lead Sheets in MXL format and export them to create XF MIDI files that will play on your GENOS, Tyros, PSR or Clavinova driving the Chord changes as you select any Style.

Here is the User Guide for converting Sheet Music into a Yamaha XF MIDI file:

Yamaha DGX-670 connected to a Yamaha MW12 Mixer connected to a pair of Yamaha MSP10's + Yamaha SW10 Subwoofer using Songbook+.
MacBook Pro  32 GB  1 Terabyte SSD

David Das

All Yamaha Arranger Keyboards respond to META Chord Events embedded in XF MIDI files.

This allows the Chords to change automatically when you select any Style.

This is what makes XF MIDI files so valuable to all Yamaha Arrangers Owners.

Thanks to MuseScore we may have a Universal Solution that may work on all Arranger Keyboards.

MuseScore can read the META Chord Events in any XF MIDI file and Export that out to a Standard MIDI file.

What is so special about this Standard MIDI file is that MuseScore automatically translates the META Chord Events into actual Notes of the Chord and inserts them into a separate MIDI Channel.

This means if you set your Arranger Keyboard to track for Chords on this MIDI Channel, the Chords will change automatically when you select any Style.

This should work on all Arranger Keyboards from Korg, Roland, Ketron, Casio, Wersi and other vendors. You are no longer limited to Yamaha Arranger Keyboards for auto chord tracking.

To run this test on your favorite Arranger, download this ZIP file from:


The MuseScore folder has 8 Standard MIDI files:

  •   Clocks.mid
  •   How Deep Is Your Love.mid
  •   I Don't Know How to Love Him.mid
  •   Mamma Mia.mid
  •   Rivers Of Babylon.mid
  •   Spanish Eyes.mid
  •   The Music Of The Night.mid
  •   What a Wonderful World.mid

The Melody Track is on MIDI Channel 1

The Chord Track is on MIDI Channel 2

If you set your Arranger Keyboard to track for Chords on MIDI Channel 2, you would most likely hear the Chords change as you play back any Style.

You can download MuseScore 3.6.2 for FREE from:


This may be the cheapest way to create MIDI files that will automatically change your Chords during Style Play.

If your source is a Music XML file, just open the file in MuseScore and export to a Standard MIDI file.

If your source is an XF MIDI file, export that to a Standard MIDI file.

You can manually write the melody line in MuseScore, add the Chord symbols and export that to a Standard MIDI file.

You can use the NoteReader Premium App ($9.99) to take a picture of your printed Score Sheet, download the MIDI file, read that file into MuseScore, add the Chord symbols and export to a Standard MIDI file.

In each case, MuseScore will insert the notes of the Chords onto a separate MIDI Channel.

Best regards,

David Das