Hummel Trumpet Concerto!
(MIDI version of the Hummel Trumpet Concerto, 3rd movement Allegro sequenced by Brad Spellicy. Used with permission.)
Creative Labs, maker of SoundBlaster cards.
The earliest types on the Internet, first used with unix computers, use the .au and .snd extensions. These are apt to be the largest files for a given length of audio. Later sound files use the extensions .ai, .aif, .mp2 or .mp3, and .wav. Most modern browsers either have the capability to play these built in to the software or can play them with plug-in software, readily available from Netscape or Microsoft.
If your modem and connection are fast enough, it is possible under good conditions to feed a low to medium quality signal to you fast enough to play in real time over a dial-up connection. RealAudio was the first company to produce streaming audio files and broadcast of live events. These files have the .ra extension, and require you to download the RealAudio or RealPlayer software(the latter combines a streaming video capability, too) from the RealAudio site or buy it in a store. There are other forms of streaming audio appearing now, too, such as the audio components for QuickTime, Shockwave, and Streamworks.
MIDI, another type of sound file uses a resident library of instrumental sounds from your sound card. This technique is called wave table synthesis. The files, instead of reproducing sound waves based on sampling, feed information to the software and sound card on pitch, duration, instrument or type of sound, and other technical characteristics of the sound. The card pulls the prerecorded instrumental sounds from its wave table. These files can be much smaller than those based on sampling, even with many instruments. If your sound card supports MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) files (with the .mid extension), you can play MIDI files. Quality may vary greatly, depending on the sound card and you can hear very different sounds from different computers. At its best, it can be very, very good. At its worst, it is horrible. It is very popular, though, and large libraries have been built up of MIDI files. See Sources below. MIDI, as an audio standard for musicians, can be used with keyboards and synthesizers independent of computer systems, too.
Check to see if your system is set up to play each of the types below by clicking on them:
<a href="mysong.mid"> Play My Song </a>
It is also possible to embed a file into the html code for a page so that it will play in the background. Netscape introduced the EMBED tag and Microsoft the BGSOUND. With the newer browsers, both commands can be used and each browser will ignore the other's command. The examples shown here use MIDI files, but you can substitute other file types with the same results. Here are the paired commands to call a MIDI file. In the first example, the Netscape EMBED call forces the use of the Crescendo MIDI player plug-in. The second example allows any MIDI player to take effect instead of the Crescendo. The companion MSIE BGSOUND call does not specifically call Crescendo.
<EMBED TYPE="music/crescendo" SONG="mysong.mid" HEIGHT=16 WIDTH=16 AUTOSTART=true LOOP=false> <BGSOUND SRC="mysong.mid" LOOP=1>
<EMBED SRC="mysong.mid" AUTOSTART=true LOOP=false> <BGSOUND SRC="mysong.mid" LOOP=1>
Notice that both EMBED and BGSOUND include a LOOP parameter. Set to "false" and "1" respectively, the file does not repeat. Set to "true" and "-1" or "INFINITE", it repeats endlessly until the page is abandoned or the music turned off. BGSOUND also permits a specific number of repetitions.
Then Microsoft introduced ActiveX and OBJECT tags, and the most general answer that gives the most control is to put an EMBED tag inside OBJECT tags. If you want to try this somewhat more sophisticated approach, the formats that work are explained and illustrated for the Crescendo MIDI player's guide to Embedding Plugins.
MSIE 4.0 added support for the EMBED command. If you are willing to omit support for earlier versions of MSIE, you can just use the EMBED command as shown in the examples above.
TuDogs:Free Music. A rated selection of pointers to music source sites. Mostly MIDIs.
Music Selection Resources on the WWW. A large selection of music and music-related links, briefly annotated.
Classical MIDI Archives. The definitive classical MIDI collection.
Worldwide Internet Music Resources. A large collection of music resources from the Indiana U music library, including some music clips.
SoundAmerica. Over 10,000 sound files of all sorts in .wav format.
The All-Music Guide. A bit of a misnomer, since it is very weak on classical and show music, but very strong in popular music.
The National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) and their licensing arm, the Harry Fox Agency have been vigorously cracking down on websites that post unlicensed copyrighted works. Many MIDI sites have been closed recently.
To dispel a few common misconception, you have no fair use right to put a recording on your web pages. And although some have suggested that short clips under 30 seconds are all right to use, that has not been established in the courts.
ASCAP will be glad to sell you rights to put recordings on your web page. The minimum charge is $264 per year. See ASCAP's Internet Licensing FAQ.
See our Copyright Guide for more information.
What would you like to see added to this Guide? Do you have any comments, corrections or suggestions for improvement? Use the form below, and we will give your ideas prompt consideration.
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