q wrote:Someone recently mentioned, possibly in this thread, that MIDI files can contain lyrics. If that's true, I'd certainly like to know more about that. I've always been under the impression that MIDI files cannot contain lyrics.
There is in the definition of the Standard Midi File a bona fide
meta-event ("Lyric") to carry what I call a lyric particle. Many MIDI sequencers (such as my current one, Cakewalk Home Studio), have provisions for entering lyrics (to be recorded under that syntactic provision) either on-score on in a text box (with update from the one to the other), linked to notes, and with full editing capability on-score or in the box). The structure as implemented there includes provisions for notating melisma(s) (although that is not a creature of the Standard MIDI File specification, but rather of the sequencer).
Then, to complicate the matter further, there is a second meta-event called Text. This is principally intended for recording descriptive material (such as author indication, copyright notices and the like). (As you probably know, these are often, in distributed MIDI files, smuggled in as staff labels - ugh!) There are different syntactic rules for the two "containers". I'll try and dig up some things I wrote about this some years ago - at the moment, I forget some of the subtleties. I need to get up to date for my own interests, so this will give me a good excuse.Of course, the reason these MIDI file items are described as meta-events is that they cannot be sent out in a MIDI sequence (and it may that matter you are thinking of). There are no MIDI messages to bear any kind of text.
When I first got into this, my interest was in karaoke (the "silent orchestra") - not as practiced in sports bars, but rather as a tool for letting my fellow choristers master their hymn parts (we were almost all, as I have mentioned, relatively untrained and inexperienced choristers). I wanted them to see the words on screen with a pointer (not a bouncing ball, hopefully) to cue them while the arrangement played, with their particular part either emphasized, de-emphasized, or silent (we called it "Music Plus or Minus One").
I learned that the "karaoke" files that were distributed (often with filetype extension "KAR") were MIDI files in which the Text meta-event was used to carry what I would call "lyric particles". I'm not sure why that was done rather than use of the Lyric meta-event, but it was.
Of course, this was not good for me, since, although my sequencer would allow the entry of Text items, they could not be "attached to" notes, nor seen or edited on a score view or in a text box.
Then I discovered that there is an excellent MIDI player, oriented toward Karaoke use, that would respond to and display lyrics either carried in Text items or Lyric items in the MIDI file.
I had to do some figgerin' to get the display of melisma to work out "on the Karoake screen" the way I wanted it to for best cuing of the "students", including melismas occurring inside words. For example, in the Karoake display, the "pointer" moves over multiple underscores in synchrony with the multiple notes over which the syllable is to be sung! I have (someplace!) extensive application notes on the syntactic adaption needed to do this.
Let me know how your interest in such things comes to a focus, and I'll see if I can feed you some more stuff. For one thing, that MIDI player (Van Basco's Karaoke Player) is free, and you could easily get it (It's Windows, of course) to see what I am talking about.