Importing MIDI files into the Palette

BFD3 allows you to import a MIDI file into a destination slot in the Palette and, using the MIDI Import panel, optionally split the file into smaller Grooves to be placed on ascending slots beginning with the destination slot.

Initiating MIDI import

There are two ways of initiating the MIDI import process - either of the following ways invokes the MIDI Import panel:

Using drag & drop

Drag & drop the MIDI file(s) onto the destination Palette slot from a system file location such as the desktop or a folder window. When using this method, it is not possible to split the file into smaller Grooves - all controls in the MIDI Import panel are disabled except for the Import MIDI key map setting. Each file is created as an individual Groove in slots ascending from the destination slot.

Using the File menu (with the Groove Browser visible)

BFD3's File menu contains 2 functions for importing MIDI files - these functions display the MIDI Import panel with all functions accessible, allowing you to split files into smaller Grooves:

The Load Groove(s) from file... function allows you to import files into the current session.

The Batch Import BFD1 Grooves or MIDI... function processes multiple files to create native BFD3 versions which are imported into the database.


Import MIDI key map setting

MIDI files simply contain pitched notes - they do not contain any information about the BFD3 articulations that should be triggered. Therefore, a key map must be defined and used as a reference in order to assign a MIDI file's note events to articulations within BFD3. The Import MIDI key map setting in the Grooves Preferences and in the MIDI Import panel (see below) specifies the Key Map that is used for the import process. By default, it is set to the BFD 1.5 Key Map to allow loading BFD 1.x-format Grooves and Bundles (see below). It can, however, be changed to any other available key map, such as the General MIDI Key Map supplied in the factory data. Alternatively, a new Key Map can be created in the Key Map panel and used instead.

By default, BFD3 ignores any MIDI notes encountered that are not defined in the referenced keymap. The Unmapped MIDI note mode setting in the Grooves Preferences can be set to to show a warning when this occurs instead of simply ignoring any unused notes.


MIDI Import panel

After initiating the MIDI import process using one of the two above methods, the MIDI Import panel appears.

MIDI file summary

The summary area displays an analysis of the imported MIDI file. The filename, tempo, time signature and length in bars are shown.

MIDI import map

This setting is identical to the Import MIDI key map setting in the Grooves Preferences - it is also provided in the MIDI Import panel for convenience. Note that when the setting is changed in the MIDI import panel, it is also changed in the Preferences.


Importing the MIDI file(s) as a single Groove

To import the entire MIDI file as a single Groove into a slot, no adjustments in the MIDI import panel are required – simply click the Import button.

Click the Cancel button or the ESC key to return to the main BFD3 interface without importing anything.


Splitting and importing a single MIDI file as multiple Grooves

The MIDI Import panel allows you to split the MIDI file into smaller Grooves of equal length, to be imported into ascending Palette slots beginning with the destination slot. The settings in the panel determine how this occurs:

Bars per Groove

This setting specifies the length of each smaller Groove in bars.


This display shows the number of smaller Grooves that will be created with the current Bars per Groove setting.

Import Groove

This pair of values allows you to set up a range of the smaller Grooves created to actually import to Palette slots.

New name

This field allows you to enter a name for the Grooves to import. The named Grooves are numbered sequentially in the Palette.

Import & Cancel

Once the parameters above have been set, click the Import button. The MIDI file is split as specified and the desired segments are imported into the Palette as Grooves, in ascending slots starting with the destination slot.

Click the Cancel button to return to main BFD3 interface without importing anything.


Importing BFD 1.5 Grooves

BFD3 Groove and Palette files are stored in a proprietary format which allows the software to associate events with specific articulations, and are therefore independent of MIDI mappings. The Palette can contain up to 128 Grooves, while a saved Palette file includes these and also includes the state of the entire Grooves page.

On the other hand, BFD 1.x used MIDI files as Grooves, routing notes to articulations according to the default BFD key map. Up to 12 MIDI files were referenced from a text file called a Bundle file. The MIDI files exist in a subfolder with the same name as the Bundle file.


Accessing BFD 1.x Bundles in the Groove Browser

If BFD3's scanning process discovers BFD1.x format Grooves and Bundles, they are displayed in the Grooves Browser in the same way as BFD3 Palettes and Grooves. When they are loaded, they are always loaded according to the current Import MIDI key map setting in the Grooves Preferences and MIDI Import panel.


Assembling Palettes from BFD1.5 bundles

Groove Bundle sets generally consist of one or two Groove Bundles and an accompanying Fill Bundle, each consisting of up to 12 MIDI files. In order to assemble these into a single BFD3 Palette, proceed as follows:

1. Load the first Groove Bundle from the Palettes section (upper half) of the Groove Browser, either with a double-click or using drag and drop to the Palette area. When loading a Bundle as a Palette in this way, the Groove engine is reset and the Grooves from the Bundle are placed into ascending slots starting at slot 1.

2. Click on the second Bundle, if it exists, in the Palettes section (upper half) of the Groove Browser. Its contained Grooves are shown in the Grooves section (the lower half of the Groove Browser).

3. Select and then drag and drop the Grooves to a destination empty slot in the Palette - the Grooves are placed on sequentially ascending Groove slots starting with the destination slot.

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the Fills Bundle if it exists.

5. Select the slots containing Fills in the BFD3 Palette and Fill button in the Slot Groove Actions area. These slots are now designated as Fills.

6. Save the assembled Palette to the BFD3 User location for future use.


Batch converting BFD 1.5 Grooves/Bundles and MIDI files to BFD3 format Grooves

If you prefer, MIDI files or BFD 1.5 format Grooves can be permanently converted and resaved in native BFD3 format files and inserted into the database. Converted files are no longer dependent on the current Import MIDI key map setting.

After ensuring that the Groove Browser is visible, use the Batch Import BFD1 Grooves or MIDI... function on BFD3's File menu.

This button brings up a system file open dialog allowing you to browse to and select a folder of MIDI files to convert into BFD3 Groove files.

This function can be used either for MIDI files, BFD1.x Grooves (which are MIDI files) and Bundle files (in the case of Bundles, all their referenced Grooves are imported).