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The pmidi MIDI player


What is pmidi?

pmidi is a program for playing MIDI files either on internal MIDI devices like your soundcard or external MIDI devices like MIDI keyboards. pmidi works with ALSA's sequencer and has a simple command-line user interface.

Please read the general introduction to playing MIDI files on the page PlayingMIDIFiles and the short explanation of MIDI is on the page MIDI.

Where can I download pmidi?

You can download pmidi from

How can I use pmidi?

To play a MIDI file with pmidi you need to do three things in order:

Step 1

Firstly, load a soundfont to put a set of musical instrument sounds into your soundcard's wave memory (if applicable) using either asfxload SF8MBGM.SBK (native ALSA version) or sfxload SF8MBGM.SBK (version for ALSA's OSSEmulation).

Step 2

Secondly, find out which MIDI ports are available using pmidi:

pmidi -l

which produces output similar to:

  Port     Client name                       Port name
  64:0     Rawmidi 0 - Sound Blaster 16 M    Sound Blaster 16 MPU-401
  65:0     Emu8000 WaveTable                 Emu8000 Port 0
  65:1     Emu8000 WaveTable                 Emu8000 Port 1
  65:2     Emu8000 WaveTable                 Emu8000 Port 2
  65:3     Emu8000 WaveTable                 Emu8000 Port 3
  66:0     OPL3 FM synth                     OPL3 FM Port

Step 3

Thirdly, choose a port name like 64:0 (an external MIDI device in this case) or 65:0 (the soundcard's MIDI synth in this case) and play a MIDI file on your chosen port:

pmidi -p 64:0 MusicFile.mid

Alternative MIDI players

There are many alternative MIDI players for Linux/ALSA listed at

Takeshi Iwai's drvmidi MIDI player is able to move forwards and backwards in a MIDI file while it is being played as well as dynamically load soundfonts.

The playmidi/xplaymidi MIDI player can adjust the playback speed of a MIDI file while it is being played.

Look at the page PlayingMIDIFiles for several alternative ways of playing MIDI files.

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Category: Software