Solving the Windows MIDI Problem

If you have sound on your Windows computer for almost everything except MacGAMUT, that probably means you have no MIDI devices installed on your computer. The good news is that you can fix the problem. You have a least a couple of options:

If you feel comfortable doing it, uninstalling and reinstalling your sound driver may very well solve the problem. Although this Microsoft sound driver info is intended for people who have no sound at all on their Windows computers, it may also help you reinstall the driver you need.

Or, if you'd rather leave your sound driver alone, you may prefer to install a MIDI application and a sound font that will give you the MIDI capabilities you are missing. It’s a little complicated, so try to follow these steps very carefully (if you would like to check off each step as you complete it, click here for a printable.pdf version of these instructions):

  1. Go to http://coolsoft.altervista.org/en/virtualmidisynth, click on Download, and download and install the latest version of CoolSoft_VirtualMIDISynth. 
  2. Go to http://www.synthfont.com/soundfonts.html to get a sound font (Virtual MIDI Synth won’t do anything at all without a sound font).  Sound fonts are not created equally.  Some are very large files and presumably have more realistic sounds.  Some may not work at all (at least one we’ve tried produces wrong pitches, which would make it impossible to complete an aural training exercise correctly).  Feel free to try different ones, but one that worked well for us is FluidR3 GM Bank.  If you choose this one, you will need the sfArk tool to decompress it.  Click on the sfArk link to download the decompression tool.
  3. Unzip the sfArk tool to create the sfArk folder.  Double-click the sfArk application in that folder.  Under file, click Open, and then select the FluidR3 GM file you just downloaded.  Click Start, and FluidR3 GM will be decompressed.
  4. If CoolSoft_VirtualMidiSynth isn’t already open, open it now, and click on the plus symbol (+) on the right side of the window.  Select the FluidR3_GM.sf2 file (or whatever sound font you want to use).  Make sure the checkbox is checked to enable the sound font.  Click Apply and OK.
  5. Start up MacGAMUT and continue on to an exercise screen (start in Practice Mode to be sure you don’t get anything counted wrong).  Under the Sound menu, choose MIDI Output Device, and select CoolSoft VirtualMIDISynth.  Presto, you should have sound.
  6. Make sure the sound font you have selected is playing the correct pitches.  The easiest way is to go to Melodic Dictation (still in Practice Mode), click Check Answer until the correct answer is shown, and then play the correct answer.  Hopefully, the pitches you see will match what you hear, and the instrumental sounds will be musical. If not, go back to step 2, select a different sound font (be sure to uncheck the bad sound font or click on the minus sign to remove it in step 4), and try again.