How do I get Audacity to play MIDI?

Not sure what is missing here, however after I import a MIDI file and click PLAY nothing happens. in the bottom left corner of the application is says STOPPED. How do I get this thing to play?

Windows 10 Pro
1607 (OS Build 14393.693)
Audacity 2.1.2 .exe installer

Audacity has very basic MIDI file management without actually playing or making MIDI files.

I think the best you can do is get your computer MIDI interpreter to play the file and record it in Audacity by setting it to “Record What’s Playing On The Computer.” This is the same setting you would use to record YouTube or other on-line music.

MIDI isn’t music. It’s machine control and it needs special software to turn it into music.

Audacity does not currently have he ability to play MIDI (

so let me get this straight. Audacity has the ability to import MIDi files and display all the parts but does not have the ability to play the MIDI files? That’s whacked!

see here in the manual: FAQ:Opening and Saving Files - Audacity Manual

It’s because MIDI playback is not a fully finished feature and its interactions with audio playback and certain parts of the Audacity interface could cause crashes.

A volunteer is looking at the MIDI playback code and discussing it with the developers at the moment, so it is possible that progress might be made.

You can enable experimental MIDI playback if you recompile Audacity and define USE_MIDI and EXPERIMENTAL_MIDI_OUT.


though there is no guarantee that it will work because it’s unfinished and experimental (it didn’t work for me).

so, am I able to edit MIDI files from with Audacity?

Audacity does not actually have “MIDI” tracks. it has “Note Tracks”. Note tracks are based on the Allegro format which supports many more features than MIDI. When a MIDI track is imported into Audacity, note data from the MIDI file is converted into Allegro note data and displayed in the Note Track. Note Tracks may be exported in MIDI or Allegro format. Audacity can currently do a limited amount of editing on “Note Tracks”, such as cut, copy, paste.