Play SMF file using Garvill or any other MIDI port using Java
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PlaySMF (Plays SMF files after proper reset sequence)


PlaySMF is a Standard MIDI File (*.mid) player that appropriately resets the synthesizer before playing the file. This program is written in Java.


Even though there are several programs that can play MIDI files using external sound modules, few resets them appropriately before playing a MIDI file. Unfortunately not all MIDI files have reset sequences embedded, so they sound different depending on whatever the state that the sound module was left with. Moreover there are several pre-GM synthesizers that require special reset sequences. To provide consistent sound, this program appropriately resets your synthesizer before playing a MIDI file.

Additionally this program supports the OpenJDK's software synthesizer by aceepting the option to load the SoundFont file (*.sf2). With appropriate soundfont the software synth sounds somewhat acceptable.

Supported Resetting Methods

  • gm General MIDI reset sequence.
  • gs Roland GS sequence. Also see sc88.
  • xg Yamaha XG sequence. Sets MU100 to MU100 Basic mode. Also see mu100.
  • doc Yamaha Disk Orchestra/Clavinova.
  • sc88 SC-88/SC-88Pro Mode1 reset. This is the preferred reset sequence for these models, over gs.
  • mu100 Resets Yamaha MU100 to MU100 Native mode.
  • mt32 Roland MT-32/CM-32. Writes a byte to the Reset All register.
  • fb01 Yamaha FB-01 FM synthesizer. Loads ROM config 17 as a reset. After all this synth is unlikely to work well with GM sequences.


As this is a Java application you'll probably want to have a small shell script like this:

java -jar /path/to/PlaySMF.jar "$@"

Save it as PlaySMF. If you want to see the list of available devices use -l:

% PlaySMF -l
Dev 0 OpenJDK Gervill 1.0
    Software MIDI Synthesizer
    Source: 0 Sink: Unlimited
Dev 2 ALSA ( UX16 [hw:2,0,0] 3.7.10-1.16-desktop
    UX16, USB MIDI, UX16
    Source: 0 Sink: Unlimited
Dev 3 Oracle Corporation Real Time Sequencer Version 1.0
    Software sequencer
    Source: Unlimited Sink: Unlimited

In this case device 0 is a software synth bundled with the Java runtime. [Yamaha_UX16] Device 2 is the YAMAHA UX16 USB-MIDI adapter. Device 3 is a pseudo sequencer device. To inhibit filtering devices that do not act as Sinks, specify -la instead of -l. To play MIDI files using the synthesizer connected to the UX16 adapter:

% PlaySMF -p 2 -r sc88 song1.mid song2.mid

Here sc88 is specified as the reset sequence. See Supported_Resetting_Methods for what can be specified here. If you omit the -r option no reset sequence is sent.

When the software synthesizer is to be used, you can (and should) specify a soundfont using the -s option:

% PlaySMF -s /usr/share/sounds/sf2/8MBGMSFX.SF2 song1.mid ...

All options are:

% PlaySMF [-p dev] [-r gm|gs|sc88|xg|mu100|doc|mt32|fb01] [-s soundfont.sf2] [-l|-la] 1.mid 2.mid
3.mid ...

Nov-06-2013 H.Tomari Jul-08-2017 H.Tomari markdownify