Excel is one of the staples of the modern world that we just can’t escape from. So why not inject a bit of creativity in your spreadsheets and calculations by turning it into MIDI? Excel MIDI will show you how.
Or will it? In some way it’s comforting to know that MIDI in Excel is just as impenetrable as calculations are. I mean what the heck is this about? There two worksheets, one is where you build your sequence and the other is where you string your sequences together to form songs. If you download one of the example compositions you are treated to some very plodding piano, some hits on a tom and a hilarious pitch bend. I can see what’s going on with the laying out of sequences and the numbers representing patterns etc. but I’m not really grasping how to use it.
The sequence page is comprehensive with channel numbers, different programs and a whole raft of modulations and controller changes but none of it seems to do anything. Invariably, whatever I try, I get a plodding piano and a tom. Scattering number about the place doesn’t seem to make any difference. I’m assuming it’s addressing the Microsoft GM Synth but there’s nowhere I can find to specify this. And if I hit “Play” twice, you know, in order to get it to stop, it comes up with an error and I have to close the spreadsheet.
The problem is probably down to my lack of spreadsheet experience or perhaps the lack of documentation or any hints as to how to make it work. But let’s back up a moment. The maker of this open source project “ruiseixas” was probably having a lovely time developing something that’s useful to them and wasn’t really expecting a music tech news site to come along and tell the world how erm… difficult it is. So, let’s try a different approach. I saw this Excel MIDI thing and thought that was an interesting idea. I’m frustrated that I can’t really get it to do anything but I imagine that perhaps other people will. So I’m going to put this out there for people who fancy spending a bit of time with a neat idea that probably needs a bit of work. That’s what Open Source is all about anything though right?
So, if you’re bored at work why not give Excel MIDI a try?
- Excel MIDI webpage.