Merging more than two MIDI tracks into one

• Jul 23, 2013 - 09:43

Hi everyone

I have a MIDI file that contains 8 tracks (channels). I know there is a procedure (described at /node/12345) for merging two tracks into one, but how would I go about merging all 8 tracks into one? Or rather, merging 4 of the tracks into one (left piano hand) and the other 4 into the RH.

Also, I imagine there should be an easier way to do this than to copy/paste each track manually, although a bit of searching did not reveal any obvious software that would do that (outside of expensive software that have this function built-in, such as Cakewalk 9). Perhaps a Merge Tracks feature could be considered for the next MS version?

Thanks in advance for any help!!

Attachment Size
Bach_chrl_4 (8 chans).mid 15.02 KB


In reply to by ChurchOrganist

Thank you so much, I look forward to receiving it! The thing is that I don't know exactly which 4 channels to join to form the LH, and which should be merged into the RH. I was going to try several combinations myself until I found one that seems playable. Ultimately, I guess all staevs containing notes lower on-average than C4 (or so) should go into LH, and the rest into RH.

Yeah I know Cakewalk 9 is old :) I just found someone on a forum saying that it can do this type of operations, as I was searching for a way to do it myself.

I see Sonar X2 has a free trial, but still it'd be so nice if you could do this in MuseScore!

In reply to by longtalker

Well I'm going to have to disappoint you I'm afraid.

Once I got the MIDI file into Sonar I realised that it was Bach's original orchestration of Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring.

There is no way you can play it as a solo on a keyboard

There are arrangements in existence for organ which work

And there are arrangements for 4 hands on one keyboard which work

But you won't be able to get a convincing texture for solo keyboard, whilst maintaining the violin/oboe obbligato and the chorale melody with one pair of hands.

There is no way of merging the tracks from this MIDI file to create that.

I suggest you search the net for existing arrangements.

Sorry to disappoint you.

In reply to by longtalker

Anvil Studio (free version)?
You wrote: 'I was going to try several combinations myself until I found one that seems playable.'

You can experiment in Anvil, and once reduced to 2 tracks, save as midi, then import into Musescore.

@ChurchOrganist. If you post your Sonar reduction, I will definitely 'borrow' it, as I have recently acquired a keyboard and this Bach chorale is a 'must have' classic... Thanks. ;-)

EDIT: (Sighs) Nevermind.... :-(

In reply to by Jm6stringer

Many thanks indeed to all who replied! Unfortunately, after searching on, I did not find any version of the chorale that is suitable as a piano solo. The only one that comes close is, however that one, compared to the version that I had in mind (, is (i) much simplified in terms of harmony, and (ii) incomplete, i.e. it stops about 1/3 of the whole piece's length.

ChurchOrganist, I can see why you say the 8-chan version is impossible to play on a single keyboard, with a single pair of hands. I will now try to spend more time isolating 2/3 chans at a time in MuseScore, and seeing which combination sounds good enough, and if I find one, I'll try to merge those tracks together using the software suggested (Anvil).

In reply to by longtalker

OK so after a couple of hours on this, I managed more or less to identify the notes - across all 8 channels - necessary to recreate what sounds like a full score of this piece. Unfortunately though, they're not all on the same channels, i.e. the notes in one channel will be relevant in some parts of the piece, and irrelevants in others.

Tracks 3, 4, 5 seemed to contain the lower notes, so I merged these in Anvil to form a single LH track. Similarly, tracks 1, 2, 6 were combined into an RH track. Channel 7 seemed to always contain unnecessary notes, while channel 8 had notes that could well be either in the LH or in the RH.

Overall, the problem is that many of the notes across channels are the same, which means that I often get the same note in the LH part and in the RH part, which makes the MIDI difficult to use. See the attached MIDI, in which Channel 8 has been assigned to the LH.

Is there any way (in Anvil or in MuseScore) that I can delete duplicate notes, and is there also a way in which to automatise the process of assigning notes of the 8 original tracks in either the LH or the RH track, based for example on whether the note is lower or higher than a certain reference note such as C4?

Attachment Size
8lh.mid 9.66 KB

In reply to by longtalker

The orchestration is thus:-

Channel 1 Sopranos (chorale melody)
Channel 2 Altos
Channel 3 Tenors
Channel 4 Basses
Channel 5 Continuo Bass ('cello)
Channel 6 Violin 1 (obbligato)
Channel 7 Violin 2
Channel 8 Viola

The first step would be to copy Channel 6 on to stave 1 and Channel 5 onto stave 2

You then need to decide how to fit in the chorale melody so that it is playable at the same time, and this is where the problem lies - the range between the parts is too great to be able to split it between 2 hands.

Of course you could always not try to reinvent the wheel and download this PDF which is pretty close to the YouTube arrangement, which is, I think, the Myra Hess arrangement:-…

The actual Myra Hess version is available here:…


IF you manage to do that you can fill out other notes of the choral from the choir parts ad lib.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

Thanks! Either one of those versions looks just fine - but how can I get it as a MIDI, so that I can use it with my keyboard's Learning Mode? It's so much easier for me to learn new pieces that way.

I once tried out several pieces of software that claimed could convert from PDF to MIDI, however none of them did particularly well so did not bother to buy any one of them.

Thanks to the stellar efforts of ChurchOrganist, and, since you have mentioned that either pdf looks fine, re-inventing the wheel may not be necessary. So...
Attached is a Musescore file which is derived from one of ChuchOrganist's suggestions. It needs some 'cleaning up' to get it print worthy. Also, measure 3 (and elsewhere this same figure appears) needs some refining. (The playback timing is a little off.) The slight corrections should pose no major obstacles.
You can then export midi through Musescore for 'learning mode' on your keyboard.

@ChurchOrganist - Thanks, and regards. What a wonderful global community! - John

Attachment Size
Bach_chrl.mscz 12.45 KB

In reply to by longtalker

OK I've looked at it in MS and it looks indeed to be almost perfect, with only minor modifications needed, which is excellent! I am really grateful for your help - and, out of curiosity, was this done by converting the PDF to MIDI, or was it done manually? If the former, then what software did you use?

Do you still have an unanswered question? Please log in first to post your question.