Maestro (basics)

When you are looking for an ABC-file but can’t find it, you can always ask me. But, you can also make it with Maestro.

With this program you convert MIDI-files into ABC’s.

MIDI’s you can find allover the net. Just Google for MIDI and the song you want, and often you will find it. Two sites I like to use are:

Sometimes you have to pay for a MIDI. Up to you whether you do that or Google some more. I also advise you to download a few MIDI-files from the song you want, some just ain’t good.

And then of course, you need Maestro. You can download it here.

In this tutorial I will show you the basics of Maestro. For one instrument.

Maestro window
Open the MIDI-file by right clicking it and open with Maestro, dragging and dropping it into the black sceen, open the file in the ‘File’ menu or double click when Maestro is assigned to MIDI-files.

In the upper left you see three options:

T: Song title
C: Artist
Z: Name of the maker of the ABC (you)

By default Maestro shows the name of the MIDI in T:.

In the big black window you see all the tracks (instruments) of the MIDI. Sometimes it is just one track, but mostly there are more. I advise you to use the one with the most tracks if you have downloaded more.

When you click Play, the MIDI will play as MIDI. Nice, but we want to hear how the ABC sounds. Herefor you open the dropdown menu ‘I:‘ above the black window, and choose the instrument you want. Then check at least one checkbox in front of a track (NO Drums), and check ‘ABC Preview‘ on the bottom.

How to edit?
What you do is just listen.

Right of the name in every track are two sound options.


The upper one changes the sound higher or lower by clicking the little arrows. The lower one is the volume of the track.

Use the upper one to get rid of the red in the track.


It is not always possible to get rid of all the red. If just a little bit is left, it doesn’t have to be that bad. And in my experience it’s better to have red below than above. You can also edit this with ‘Transpose’ in the Export Settings.

Difference is, the changes you make in Export Settings are for all the tracks.


You can also change the speed of the tune with ‘Main Tempo‘.

More tracks
In most cases you need more tracks for a nice tune. You can add as you please. Keep listening, adding, deleting, changing, until it sounds right.

When it does, click ‘Export ABC As…‘ and you are done!

Few last words
Less is more. This is so true for an ABC-file. Using the least possible tracks will make the tune sound better, clearer. Personally I always try to use 3 or 4 tracks maximum. And maybe some tracks that don’t have much music (like track 10 in the example above).

Tunes ingame may sound different from what you hear in Maestro, or with the ABC-player that you get with the download. So before playing your brand new song to friends, try it for yourself, and listen whether it turned out the way you hoped.

When you want to make arrangements for more instruments you can repeat the things above for any instrument you want, by clicking ‘New Part‘ on the left of the screen.

Play on!