IMPROVING SOUND OUTPUT OVER BUILT-IN MICROSOFT GS WAVETABLE:
Download CoolSoft's VirtualMIDISynth, which lets you use any SoundFont (.sf2 file) as a MIDI Output Device (in my Music Visualizer and all other MIDI-sound based programs). The software is free, though donations are accepted (and why not consider supporting the software author's good work, which improves your MIDI sound quite a bit?)
The VirtualMIDISynth download page links to a bunch of free SoundFonts. The favored recommendation is FluidRS_GM, available from SynthFont. You will find you also need to decompress the .sfArk compression file, which you can do with software from MelodyMachine. The file labelled "the original (old) Windows version" worked for me. (You may also already have this font on your computer if you have downloaded the MuseScore music notation program.)
GET FREE MUSIC MIDI FILES ALL OVER THE WEB (All types: Rock, Pop, Folk, etc.):
Just Google (include "midi file" in the Google).
GET FREE CLASSICAL MUSIC MIDI FILES AT:
Kunst der Fuge .com This site has grown very large in recent years. You can get 5 midi files a day for free. For 20 Euros, you can get a "standard" membership, giving never-expiring no-file-limit download. For 40 Euros, you get an "academy" membership, which adds to the "standard" membership the right to download a zip file of about 17,000 classical midi files in one fell swoop. (Of course, for this and other classical midi sites, many 20th and 21st century works, like Bartok, are still under copyright, so you won't find them on the site.)
HarfeSoft (Note: These are chamber pieces only, some of which are duplicated on other sites.)
Dave's J.S. Bach Page Lots of Bach MIDI files, often single download .zip files for multiple pieces.
Classical Music Archives. This site offers a decent selection of midi downloads for free (up to 5 per day) with a free membership option. Or, for about $5 a month you can download 100 free midi files a day, and stream a fair library of classical audio recordings.
FREE MUSIC MIDI FILES--METHOD B: Convert another music file format (Music XML, Finale format, etc.)
You can convert numerous music file formats to .mid using the free MuseScore notation and conversion program or the free Finale Notepad. (Fuller versions of Finale, as well as other notation programs, may also work to do the conversion.)
Also note: By "music file" I mean formats that directly contain the music notes, like Music XML, and the various proprietary formats of music notation writing software. I do not mean .mp3 or .wav audio files. (Getting music notation information with full accuracy via a computer program from audio files does not work well for complex music, though there are some programs that attempt it and may work for simpler music.)
For general music, an internet search will yield music files, particularly searches involving "Music XML").
For classical music, you can Download .capella electronic score format for free using links from the Capella Score Library (includes all Bach),
FREE CLASSICAL MUSIC SCORES (PUBLIC DOMAIN)--WELL OVER 100,000 OF THEM:
At the Petrucci Music Library. Also, the Werner Icking archive. (Note that Werner's home page links to his list of some other sheet music archives.)
(If you want a semi-automatic process for converting any of these to .mid or say MusicXML form, obviously you can try some scanning software. My own experience, and comments I noted on the web, indicates that this will require much manual correction in many cases. Also, you tend to need the deluxe version of most scanning software, at about $250 US, to scan .pdfs or handle classical-complexity scores.
SIGNIFICANT RELATED SITE OF INTEREST
Stephen Malinowski's Music Animation Machine does some piano-roll displays, and other interesting displays related to tonality and musical pattern, using, like my own software, MIDI files. Stephen has been doing some of these widely respected displays for years, initially on videotape, and I first bumped into them playing over the Classic Arts Showcase network. The current software is quite recent, free, and worked perfectly first time for me.
Seechord has some songs chordally analyzed in a unique form.
Daniel Sleator and David Temperley's Melisma Music Analyzer. This is LINUX-only software, existing in an old and a newer version, which does a text-form analyis of music-theory-form chords and a few other items. One of the authors, David Temperley, wrote a few books on music cognition and computation, and one of them actually gave me many ideas used in my Music Visualizer. (The idea of using color as a visual perceptual cue is mine, though the chord-fitting ideas are based substantially on the approach in David's book, although I have modified some details, particularly loosening them, allowing visual judgement about transitional things like leading tones to replace classification details made in David's algorithms. Anyway, if I recall, David's Melisma software, version 1 I think, follows the methods in his first book closely or exactly.) Note that if you hit a problem with the Melisma software converting MIDI files to the needed Melisma input format, Music Visualizer will do it (from Windows).
POPULAR MUSIC: IS IT MAJOR OR MINOR?
Some musicians have put together a reference here.
This ("Norm's ...") software now (starting mid 2016) has some non-midi-file based ear training functions (as described in the instructions, etc.) which I put in specifically because I couldn't see how to get the other software I was familiar with to precisely what I wanted to help me develop my own ears.
I find Earmaster very good, covering many areas, with a lot of flexibility, and at reasonable cost. (For pitch-related tasks, I often run Earmaster with my own Spectratune or SpectratunePlus running (in its live mode), to give me, when I need it, simultaneous feedback about sung pitch. See my "All of My Sound Software" page for info about Spectratune/SpectratunePlus.)
WONDERFUL ANALYSES OF NUMEROUS BRAHMS WORKS:Detailed analyses (citing measures numbers for use with my software, and timing for particular CD recordings) done by Kelly Dean Hansen are here.
BACH WTC ANALYSES:Detailed analyses are here courtesy of Siglind Bruhn.
MORE BITS OF SCORE ANALYSIS ON THE WEB:
800 pages of harmonic and other analyses of classical pieces have been put together in an ebook by Frans Absil. You can view a sample subset of the book (with enough pages to look at the analysis of certain pieces) here, and can purchase the ebook for a very modest cost here.
Detailed analyses of Hey Jude by Alan Pollack.
Beethoven Violin Concerto.
Beethoven String Quartet # 10 .
Beethoven String Quartet # 11 .
18 Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven Quartets at Earsense
MUSICAL FORMS REFERENCE BOOK: ON-LINE PUBLIC DOMAIN:
The Larger Forms of Musical Composition, by Percy Goetschius
MUSICAL ANALYSIS REFERENCE BOOK: ON-LINE PUBLIC DOMAIN:
Complete Musical Analysis, by A.J. Goodrich
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED INTERESTED IN COMPUTER APPROACHES TO MUSIC ANALYSIS AND MUSIC PERCEPTION:
There are a fair number of academics across several disciplines, scattered all over the world, working on this. See the Journal "Music Perception" (available on Deepdyve, with issues prior to the last 6 years on JSTOR, for those of us who subscribe to DeepDyve and/or JSTOR at home because we don't have access at a major university). Also, in your university library electronic journal search tools, or Google Scholor, and/or at Amazon, search for the names "Carol Kruhmansl" and "David Temperley". Then go from there.
NICE SOFTWARE TO GET THE BASIC IDEA OF MUSICAL COMPOSITION
Impromptu at Tuneblocks.
AUTOMATIC MUSICAL COMPOSITION AND ACCOMPANIMENT SOFTWARE
There is a long-existent, constantly being updated software called Band-In-A-Box that does a lot of things, including automatically writing accompaniments in numerous styles like Jazz, Blues, Rock, Country to your harmony for your melody, or its own harmony for your own melody, or its own melody and harmony. (It doesn't do much with the classical style, because that style is a bit outside of its range of formulas, but even though classical is my favorite style, I've learned a lot ov value to me from this program.)
You can also output whatever Band-In-A-Box writes to a midi file (in most cases--not with certain of its "realstyles"). You can then look at it in Norm's Music Visualizer, where the octave-overlaid view and the other chord help should ease your understanding of what Band-In-A-Box has done harmonically. Ease it at least, if you, like me, are not so good at seeing harmonies either directly in music notation or in a standard (non-octave-overlaid) midi piano roll view.
Much newer is some software called Ludwig that also does automatic music arrangment and harmonization.) Like with Band-In-A-Box, you can output a midi file of the final result, and see what the program did in Norm's Music Visualizer using the octave overlaid view. The program allows you to define your own styles and ways of arranging. The program has a some degree of openness about how it works, so you can experiment with all kinds of arranging and harmonizing. Some options seem to allow it to harmonize more in traditional classical style, which is of interest to me as a classical music lover. (However, of course, the program can't match the invention of the great masters--at least I'm pretty sure it can't.)
Somewhat interestingly, Ludwig is the brainchild of a guy at the Fritz chess software company, who is apparently some kind of polymath who managed to come up with this Ludwig software brainstorm.