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by Francis Li

WinKaraoke Creator Tutorial

This tutorial was written to take you step-by-step through the process of creating a karaoke file.  Please let me know any comments you have that may make this tutorial easier to understand.

  1. Find a MIDI file.

    First, find a MIDI file for the song you wish to make into a karaoke file.  There are many websites on the Internet that have MIDI files, try the sites on the Links page for some starting points.  For this tutorial, we will use a MIDI file for the children's song "Row, Row, Row Your Boat".

    Click here to download the MIDI file for "Row, Row, Row Your Boat".

  2. Prepare the Lyrics

    You can often find lyrics to songs on the Internet.  Try searching at a major search engine like Google or a website like the International Lyrics Server.

    After you find the lyrics, split them into groups of three lines each- this is necessary if you want your karaoke file to play on other karaoke players (such as Tune 1000's Soft Karaoke).  Before the beginning of the first line of each group of three, add the "\" character (without quotes).  For the other two lines in each group, add the "/" character (without quotes) to the beginning.

    Then, separate each word into its syllables.  You will enter each syllable separately in WinKaraoke Creator.

    Here are the lyrics for "Row, Row, Row Your Boat", before and after the preparation.  I've put a "-" character in-between each syllable in each word so you can see what the separation is like, but we won't type the "-" into the program:

    Original Lyrics Prepared Lyrics
    Row, row, row your boat,
    Gently down the stream.
    Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,

    Life is but a dream.
    Rock, rock, rock your boat,
    Gently side to side.

    Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
    Let's go for a ride.
    \Row, row, row your boat,
    /Gent-ly down the stream.
    /Mer-ri-ly, mer-ri-ly, mer-ri-ly, mer-ri-ly,

    \Life is but a dream.
    /Rock, rock, rock your boat,
    /Gent-ly side to side.

    \Mer-ri-ly, mer-ri-ly, mer-ri-ly, mer-ri-ly,
    /Let's go for a ride.

  3. Open the MIDI file in WinKaraoke Creator

    Run WinKaraoke Creator.  Go to the File menu, and choose Load MID File.  Find the MIDI file for the song and open it.  You will see something like this:

    The music is displayed like on a sheet of piano music.  The red notes show the current location of the song- in this case, the very beginning.  When you type in text for lyrics, they will be added to the current location.  You can move the current location by clicking on a column of notes using the right mouse button.

    If you click on a column of notes with the left button, the program will play those notes.  Click on the Play button (the triangle pointing right) in the lower right to play the entire song- playback starts from the notes on your screen.  The program will color the notes green as they play.  Press Stop (the square) to stop playback.  You can move around the song by moving the scrollbar.

  4. Find the Melody

    There are a lot of notes on the screen, but the melody of the song is very simple.  To make the screen less cluttered, go to the Options menu and choose Tracks.  You will see something like this:

    If the text seems messed up, you can resize the window by clicking and dragging at the edge.  Make the Tracks window wider so that the text will display correctly.

    Each Track represents a set of notes.  Click on the check boxes and watch what happens in the main window- notes will appear and disappear as you check and un-check the boxes.

    Most MIDI files (but not all) contain the melody of the music in one Track.  In this case, it is clearly labeled.  Click on Deselect All to un-check all the Tracks, and then select the Melody track.  Click OK to return to the main screen, which should look something like this:

  5. Enter the Lyrics

    Now it is time to enter the lyrics, one syllable at a time.  The beginning of the song is the current location, as shown by the red note.  In the box at the lower left hand corner, type in the first lyric of the song, which is "\Row," (without the quotes).  It will look like this:

    Press the enter key on your keyboard, or click on Add Lyric to enter the lyric for the note.  The text will appear in the screen underneath the note and the program will jump to the next note in the song (as shown in red).  Type in the next lyric, " row,".  Notice that I add a space as the first character.  You need to enter the spaces yourself so that the words print out correctly on screen.  It should look like this:

    Press enter to add the lyric, and repeat the process.  When you come to the word "gently", notice that it is composed of two syllables, "gent" and "ly", each of which are associated with a particular note in the song.

    Sometimes there are extra notes that do not have a lyric associated with them.  Just hit the enter key without typing anything in, and the program will jump to the next note.  For example, in between the words "the stream", there is an extra set of notes that add a nice musical touch but are not part of the main melody.  As you continue, the program will look something like this:

  6. Save Your Work

    You will want to save your work at regular intervals.  Go to the File menu, and choose Save.  The first time you save your song, you will get a dialog box asking for a name.  Type a new name, or simply change the .mid to .kar, before hitting OK.

  7. Add other info

    You can add some notes about the song and the music.  Go to the KAR Info menu, and choose File Info or Song Info.  The File Info section is used for information about who created the original MIDI file and who added the lyrics.  The Song Info section is used for information about the song- the name of the song, the composer, the album it was on, etc.  The first line of the Song Info section should be the full name of the song- many karaoke players look here for it to display to the user.

  8. That's it...

    If you'd like to see a finished copy of this song, you can download it here:

    Click here to download a finished karaoke file of "Row, row, row your boat".

Copyright 1997-1999 by Francis Li