Convert an audio file to midi file with Audacity?

Convert an audio file to midi file with Audacity?

Hi there
I don’t want to go into why I need to do the following too much but in a nut shell I want to try to convert an audio file (It can be any type MP3, WAV etc etc) to a midi file.
The audio file is a just a drum track (kick, snare, hi-hats, crash, two toms) with nothing else playing in the background (It was recorded using an electric kit).

Is this possible with audacity please?
It doesn’t have to be incredibly accurate (just near enough) as I don’t mind moving a few notes around after.


Audacity doesn’t have any MIDI support.

I’m curious why you want that. MIDI is machine control, it’s not music. I can see a program converting a single instrument performance into a single MIDI stream, but most software can’t take apart a mixed performance into individual instruments. It’s a frequently requested tool.

If you had a mono track with a single hi-hat, you might be able to get software to create a MIDI stream, but you would have to tell the software that the sound was a hi-hat ahead of time and then let it try to decide where the strikes were and how to convert them.

When you play a MIDI stream, it actually plays the MIDI interpreter inside the computer, or sends the instructions out to a MIDI instrument like a keyboard. It’s up to the instrument to actually make music. It’s still only instructions for what kind of piano, which key, how hard to press and when.


Hi Koz
I perfectly understand what you are saying as I understand how midi works and what the difference between a midi file and an audio file is.
There is a lot of “Information” on the internet that states Audacity is capable of performing such tasks. I therefore must assume that this information is incorrect?

I just dont think in this day and age it would be that complicated for a program to understand that it is receiving (Say for instance) a drum beat pattern and for it to “Understand” what is being played and for it to therefore be able to map out a midi sequence (or similar) from it.

If you want to find out more of WHY I want to be able to do this please read my below post on the Apple forums, as it may help a little.


Yes, that “information” is incorrect.

Audacity is able to display MIDI tracks (visually).
but that is currently the full extent of MIDI support.

There are other programs that can do a reasonable job for “monophonic” sounds (one note at a time), but for “polyphonic” sound (multiple notes and/or instruments at the same time) it is notoriously difficult and even state of the art specialist software struggle to do a good job. There’s a demonstration here of one of the best commercially available programs for the job (it’s not cheap, and it’s not usually as simple as the demonstration lools :wink: )

I just dont think in this day and age it would be that complicated for a program to understand…

Audacity can do anything you help us program it to do. This is an all volunteer army. This isn’t a corporation with unlimited resources. The existing programmers have their hands full with other feature requests and correcting errors. Yes MIDI support is a Frequently Requested Product, and no, software is not likely to pick apart mixed instruments and crank out MIDI code for each instrument.


We are frequently accused of performing miracles and people arrive here indignant that their particular miracle didn’t work.

But that is a new one. Audacity is notorious for not supporting MIDI. Do you remember where you saw it?