Creating the MIDIFile Object

The first step in using the library is creating a MIDIFile object. There are only a few parameters that need be specified, but they affect the functioning of the library, so it’s good to understand what they do.

The signature of of the MIDIFile __init__() function is as follows:

def __init__(self,

where the parameters do the following:


numTracks specifies the number of tracks the MIDI file should have. It should be set to at least 1 (after all, a MIDI file without tracks isn’t very useful), but it may be set higher for a multi-track file.

This parameter defaults to 1.


If set to True (the default), duplicate notes will be removed from the file. This is done on a track-by-track basis.

Notes are considered duplicates if they occur at the same time, and have equivalent pitch, and MIDI channel. If set to False no attempt is made to remove notes which appear to be duplicates.

removeDuplicates() also attempts to remove other kinds of duplicates. For example, if there are two tempo events at the same time and same tempo, they are considered duplicates.

Of course, it’s best not to insert duplicate events in the first place, but this could be unavoidable in some instances – for example, if the software is used in the creation of Generative Music using an algorithm that can create duplication of events.


If deinterleave is set to True (the default), an attempt will be made to remove interleaved notes.

To understand what an interleaved note is, it is useful to have some understanding of the MIDI standard.

To make this library more human-centric, one of the fundamental concepts used is that of the note. But the MIDI standard doesn’t have notes; instead, it has note on and note off events. These are correlated by channel and pitch.

So if, for example, you create two notes of duration 1 and separated by 1/2 of a beat, ie:

time = 0
duration = 1
time = 0.5

you end up with a note on event at 0, another note on event a 0.5, and two note off events, one at 1.0 and one at 1.5. So when the first note off event is processed it raises the question: which note on event does it correspond to? The channel and pitch are the same, so there is some ambiguity in the way that a hardware or software instrument will respond.

if deinterleave is True the library tries to disambiguate the situation by shifting the first note’s off event to be immediately before the second note’s on event. Thus in the example above the first note on would be at 0, the first note off would be at 0.5, the second note on would also be at 0.5 (but would be processed after the note off at that time), and the last note off would be at 1.5.

If this parameter is set to False no events will be shifted.


If adjust_origin is True the library will find the earliest event in all the tracks and shift all events so that that time is t=0. If it is False no time-shifting will occur. The defaul value is False.


This specifies the format of the file to be written. Both format 1 (the default) and format 2 files are supported.

In the format 1 file there is a separate “tempo” track to which tempo and time signature events are written. The calls to create these events – addTemo() and addTimeSignature() accept a track parameter, but in a format 1 file these are ignored. In format 2 files they are interpreted literally (and zero-origined, so that a two track file has indices 0 and 1).

Track indexing is always zero-based, but with the format 1 file the tempo track is not indexed. Thus if you create a one track file:

MyMIDI = MIDIFile(1, file_format=1)

you would only have 0 as a valid index; the tempo track is managed independently for you. Thus:

track = 0
big_track = 1000
MyMIDI.addTempo(big_track, 0, 120)
MyMIDI.addNote(track, 0, 69, 0, 1, 100)

works, even though “track 0” is really the second track in the file, and there is no track 1000.


The MIDI ticks per quarter note. Defaults to 960. This defines the finest level of time resolution available in the file. 120, 240, 384, 480, and 960 are common values.


If set to True, all times passed into the event creation functions should be specified in ticks. Otherwise they should be specified in quarter-notes (the default).