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How to Merge MIDI Tracks

by Chris AnzaloneUpdated September 22, 2017
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MIDI files contain music note data that can translate to real music using a digital recording program. For example, if you record the note pattern to “Happy Birthday” using a MIDI keyboard or other controller, you can use a digital audio workstation to play the melody using a keyboard sound, a trumpet sound, a piano sound or any other available setting. If you have multiple MIDI files arranged in an audio software window, you can merge them into one, which serves you if, for example, you want to combine different parts of a song.

Create a new audio project using a compatible digital audio program. You can use any program that recognizes MIDI notation, such as Logic, GarageBand, Pro Tools, Audition, Cubase, Reason, Cakewalk, MixCraft or ACID. Free options are also available (see the "Resources" section of this article).

Insert your MIDI files (indicated by the “.mid” file extension) into your chosen digital audio program. On your software window, notice the rectangular bars along the screen, called “tracks.” These are your layers, where you place the different parts of a song (for instance, guitars on “Track 1,” bass on “Track 2” and drums on “Track 3”). To place your files onto the project, just drag them onto the software window.

Arrange your MIDI files. If they currently appear on different tracks, you must drag the files so that they all appear aligned on a single track. In addition, you should place them in the order in which they should appear and place them back to back, meaning that each subsequent file begins exactly where the last file ended. To move a MIDI region along the software window and between the different tracks, click it with your mouse and drag it any direction.

Select your MIDI files. Hold down “Shift” on your keyboard and click each file. Continue to hold "Shift" until you successfully highlight every file that you want to merge.

Click the “Merge” option. In some programs, the option will read “Group,” “Join” or “Combine.” Sometimes you will see the option directly on your main window, and sometimes you will need to sift through the options on your menu bar. For example, in Logic Express and Logic Pro, you must click “Region” on the menu bar and select “Merge” from the list. In Cubase, you must select “MIDI” on the menu bar and choose “Merge MIDI in Loop” from the list. In GarageBand, you must click “Edit” on the menu bar and select “Join” from the list.

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