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"Trip Through the Grand Canyon"
February 12, 2013 9:29 PM   Subscribe

canyon.mid
posted by grouse (58 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
I LOVE THIS SONG.
posted by ageispolis at 9:30 PM on February 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Don't forget passport.mid
posted by ageispolis at 9:33 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is this where I get to post the arrangement of canyon.mid by MeFi's own virt? Because it's pretty frickin' amazing.
posted by teraflop at 9:34 PM on February 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


An important note about CLOUDS.MID.
posted by Nomyte at 9:35 PM on February 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


Today, Raymond Chen quoted another developer that claimed that onestop.mid is "'less bad' than the [files] it replaced." I do not understand how such a claim could be made in the face of the magnificence that is canyon.mid.

See also: canyon.mid LIVE.
posted by grouse at 9:35 PM on February 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


The windows 95 startup sound is probably my favorite
posted by hellojed at 9:36 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was in a hurry and found myself wanting to click on the wrong scrollbar.
posted by spbmp at 9:36 PM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Psht like passport.mid and onestop.mid can even hang with canyon.mid
posted by danb at 9:37 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have the biggest stupid grin on my face right now.
posted by dephlogisticated at 9:44 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I must protest. This post has a liberal bias against the 1% that owned a Gravis Ultrasound or Roland LAPC-I. The OPL3 using 99% are trying to force us to conform to their world view and "facts" about how canyon.mid is supposed to sound.

In the interests of inclusiveness and NPOV I must insist that my links be added to the FPP.
posted by Talez at 9:45 PM on February 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


This takes me back to building houses in VHSB (Virtual Home Space Builder), decorating the walls with default Windows '95 wallpapers, and having it play canyon.mid or passport.mid on infinite loop.
posted by pravit at 9:48 PM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's okay, but it's no 2ND_PM.S3M.
posted by neckro23 at 9:53 PM on February 12, 2013


The windows 95 startup sound is probably my favorite

Brian Eno's best work.
posted by empath at 9:54 PM on February 12, 2013


Best work? Nah.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:56 PM on February 12, 2013


Huh, it seems like the video cut off the part where I open up Cakewalk Pro 3.0 and try to transcribe Smashing Pumpkins' "Disarm" by ear through the majesty of general MIDI and then upload it to AOL Music where it instantly makes the top 10 downloaded songs on the internet. #humblebrag
posted by naju at 10:10 PM on February 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


Is it weird that I have still have this on all my computers even though I haven’t used, or have barely seen, Windows since ’97? I keep a lot of files, if that wasn’t obvious.

Ensoniq SoundscapeDB represent.
posted by bongo_x at 10:12 PM on February 12, 2013


I can imagine Pat Metheny feasting on the heart of John Tesh while rocking out to this song.
posted by furtive at 10:16 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I never did quite understand canyon.mid other than that it was a file that I found on my computer and never could quite figure out why it was there, or for what purpose. All I knew — and know — is that it was pretty good overall, and that I was somehow compelled to listen to it, a lot.
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:17 PM on February 12, 2013


Also, it sounded good in WinGroove.
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:17 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is one of those types of nostalgia that I think I'll just never understand even though I was there in its heyday. (The weird retro mania for casette tapes is another one. Vinyl I can understand, but tapes?)
posted by whir at 10:17 PM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


*clicks dislike repeatedly*
posted by phaedon at 10:24 PM on February 12, 2013


Once upon a time, we all hung out on IRC, and our IRC clients recognized commands from the other people in a channel to play such and such a sound file.

Some of my most cherished memories are of sitting around at 2 or 3 in the morning with this or that terrible .mid transcription of some popular song blasting through the tiny speakers that came with my Gateway 2000.

I can, of course, right now, listen to the real version of pretty much anything it occurs to me to listen to in a couple of clicks, and for this privilege I pay less in a month than I used to for, like, a single used CD from the CD Warehouse by the mall. Everything is objectively better now, but I'm not sure I'll ever again be happy in quite the way that I was when everything was objectively worse.
posted by brennen at 10:26 PM on February 12, 2013 [15 favorites]


I imagine the nostalgia for many comes from listening to the song a lot, not because it was noteworthy, but because it was there. For a lot of people around my age, their earliest computing experience involves exploring all the stuff it can do; it's nostalgia for that time when it was just exciting that you have a Media Player, and canyon.mid happens to be the only bit of Media you have available at the time.

Best guess anyway, it always sounded like the intro to a morning news program to me.


My personal beloved Windows system file gem is title.wma
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 11:03 PM on February 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


I used to have quite a collection of midi files, maybe I still do in some directory like backup/old/old/website/old/music.


Back in high school we had computer labs with networked machines running the first iteration of Windows NT. I used to spend hours there trying to figure out what I could get them to do. The network admin's idea of security was to disable right clicking, and so I was able to get to the network sharing options for my folder. I brought in all my midi files from home, one floppy disk at a time, and made my folder accessible to anyone, and then started telling my friends. I had some pretty sweet midi files like a midi rendition of Sail Away that I used to rock out too, so of course all my friends made their own copies.

I kind of forgot about it after that, and one day I was pulled out of class by the computer lab admin who was also a teacher. He told me that the network drive was completely full due to everyone copying my midi files, and that he had deleted all of them but was unable to delete the ones in my folder. On a whim I had made my folder inaccessible to "administrator", and apparently that was enough to stop him accessing it! Dumb windows permissioning. He told me he had wasted hours trying to figure out how to delete it but couldn't figure it out. Of course I was really apologetic, I didn't mean to cause so much trouble, I had just wanted to share!
posted by Joe Chip at 11:45 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I miss the Swinth demo for the C64.
posted by not_on_display at 12:22 AM on February 13, 2013


Good timing -- yesterday, I decided that I wanted to hear the Doom soundtrack. Not too hard to find, and it sure downloaded fast. But VLC wouldn't play it right out of the box-- it needed a soundfont file. So I found one which was recommended, and it was good, but not quite right. I had to go back to find a genuine 8MB Soundblaster soundfont file.

And it was good.
posted by alexei at 12:23 AM on February 13, 2013


Oh man, I couldn't NOT click on this thread, but I didn't expect anyone to post my arrangement, and I wasn't about to, just wanted to bask in the glory of the Canyon. Though if you scroll down in the comments, George Stone himself (the guy who wrote it) responded to it, and damn near brought me to tears.


I had to go back to find a genuine 8MB Soundblaster soundfont file. And it was good.

Honest truth: I still sketch out music on a daily basis using 4GMGS.SF2 (the 4MB variant). It's the most essential and convenient musical tool for me, I can express myself almost completely with its 128 tinny Emu-sample-cd-derived patches -- some composers prefer to start at a piano, I prefer to start with a computer with a MIDI keyboard and 4GMGS.SF2 loaded up, despite owning terabytes of instrument sample libraries.

(I started using it.. holy shit, 19 years ago.. on a Sound Blaster AWE32 with 16 MB of upgraded memory, which was quadruple the amount of memory in the 486 computer in whose ISA slot it resided. I hadn't yet discovered the demoscene, so MIDI + Soundfonts were all I had.)
posted by jake at 1:28 AM on February 13, 2013 [13 favorites]


I love everything about this post and comments! Yay canyon.mid, jake's version of it, the (Advanced!) Gravis UltraSound, and Purple Motion!

What do all y'all think of the win98 welcome music?
posted by aubilenon at 1:32 AM on February 13, 2013


I'd still be using the same MIDI sequencer from 1995 (Presto Arranger) if it would run on Windows 7. I don't think it'll run at all on 64-bit systems, which is a huge disappointment because all of the other sequencers I've attempted to use have been too bloated. Presto was what I learned on, and its limitations are what I had become accustomed to. I miss downloading random MIDIs.

I recently bought an Akai so I could get back into the MIDI sequencing thing, but I've yet to hook it up to my computer. I want to buy a dedicated sound card like I used to have (the last soundcard I had was just called the "Sound Blaster Gamer", and I used it for almost a decade, despite it causing all kinds of problems).

Also: clouds.mid > canyon.mid
posted by Redfield at 3:34 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


For me it was all Master Tracks Pro 6, baby. I should get a tattoo.
posted by en forme de poire at 4:58 AM on February 13, 2013


Now I just have to find those .cmf files that came with my first Sound Blaster 16.
posted by en forme de poire at 4:59 AM on February 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


After all these years, now I finally know what my parents deprived me of by not buying a computer with a sound card.

It's more beautiful than I could have imagined. :::weeps:::
posted by Johnny Assay at 5:13 AM on February 13, 2013


Yeah, I was going to say the same time. If you stumbled into the PC world in the late 80s or early 90s you would have probably not been able to play canyon.mid on Windows 3.1 because sound cards were still relatively rare, something that only dedicated gamers had. The AdLib/Sound Blaster war of the early 90s (and later the GUS/SB war) and the rise of affordable CD-ROM drives a few years later led to the "multimedia PC" craze that hit a crescendo around 1995 when it became more or less expected that a new PC would come with both a CD-ROM drive and a sound card.

Does anyone remember a program that was able to modulate the crude internal PC speaker to achieve polyphony? It was traded around BBSes, and I remember the demo tune was a version of House of the Rising Sun. As I recall, the hardware involved here was essentially 1-bit output -- you could write a 0 or a 1 to a certain IO port, and if you did that in a loop with a certain delay the result was a square wave with a frequency corresponding to the delay. But there was no way to control the timbre or achieve any kind of polyphony, at least so I thought until I ran this program. I recall that the technique it used required quite a lot of CPU (at least of the 16 MHz 386SX that I had at the time) so it wasn't practical for much, and not useful for games, but it was a neat technology demonstration. I'm assuming it used some form of pulse-width or pulse-density modulation, like a crude class D amplifier.
posted by Rhomboid at 5:36 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


#trax reunion ITT.
posted by kjh at 5:41 AM on February 13, 2013


10 FOR X = 1 to 255
20 SOUND X,1
30 NEXT X
posted by bondcliff at 6:08 AM on February 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Does anyone remember a program that was able to modulate the crude internal PC speaker to achieve polyphony?

I'm not sure if it was the same or a related thing, but I could swear I remember running some sort of DOS TSR in the early-to-mid 90s that "emulated" a real soundcard over the PC speaker. I use scare quotes because the sound was every bit (heh) as bad as you'd expect, but it was enough of an improvement that I played through at least a couple of games with it on. I think I found it either on a BBS or, more likely, somewhere in the depths of some CompuServe or AOL file exchange.
posted by brennen at 7:02 AM on February 13, 2013


RHOMBOID I REMEMBER THAT. It was indeed House of the Rising Sun, at least as far as I recall. I remember being really impressed with the source, I think because it involved escaping to machine code (could be wrong about that).
posted by en forme de poire at 7:03 AM on February 13, 2013


How can you guys find all those MIDI files when they're not even sorted?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:03 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Someone please load up this Microsoft Midext MIDI driver for PC speaker for Windows 3.1/95, which will play one channel of MIDI at a time on PC speaker, break canyon.mid into its component channels, play and record them all, then multitrack them back together, I'm a work right now. TIA.
posted by drumcorpse at 8:04 AM on February 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


THECLOUD.CMF, you guys this was my jam when I was 9
posted by en forme de poire at 8:15 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Does anyone remember a program that was able to modulate the crude internal PC speaker to achieve polyphony?

Yes, and I remember a few DOS games used this technique to play sampled audio on the PC speaker with 1-bit PWM. This was also done on the Apple ][ which had a CPU with a predictable clock cycle for each instruction so you could craft a loop which flipped the speaker bit at precise intervals (although you'd have to stop the world to do it). This would give you modulated monophonic and polyphonic music too.

Nowadays with gigahertz at your disposal it's easier to make your CPU do stupid tricks.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:40 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


This post has a liberal bias against the 1% that owned a Gravis Ultrasound or Roland LAPC-I


I had a Roland SCP-7 daughterboard snapped onto my Sound Blaster 16.

And played DOOM until sunrise, day after day for weeks, about a foot away from a (then) unbelievably huge surplus-sale ex-CAD workstation 20" monitor, wearing nice headphones through a small stereo amp at high volume.

And burned out my eyes, ears and brain SIMULTANEOUSLY.
posted by CynicalKnight at 8:50 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


20" monitor

/me gasps!
posted by ersatz at 9:00 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I spent a while searching for that demo at the BBS archive site and I think I found it here. Not that it shows on that page, but if you use a tool that records the server provided timestamps in the HTTP headers, those files are dated 1989, which puts it in about the right ballpark. I ran it under DOSBox and played houseris.sng, and this is the result, which pretty much jibes with my memory.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:20 AM on February 13, 2013


My first PC sound card was a "Media Vision" Thunder Board For Windows.

It was basically a Sound Blaster clone, and the "for Windows" part seemed to mostly mean that applications using the Windows 3.1 audio API would work well with the supplied driver, but that you would have to screw around a lot to get certain DOS games to work with it.

Anyway, another part of the "for Windows" was that it came with a floppy disk containing the "Master Tracks for Windows Pro Demo," which in turn came with some .mid files of its own. I haven't heard any of those files in ages and I don't think I have the disk anymore... If any of you have a copy sitting around (or know where they might be found on the Internet), I'd love it if you'd share - those MIDIs are almost as classic to me as canyon itself!
posted by Juffo-Wup at 10:39 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


neckro23: "It's okay, but it's no 2ND_PM.S3M ."

Is it wrong that I don't even have to close my eyes to see the video from the demo when I hear that?

Personally, I think the oddest bundled media included with a version of Windows had to be the music video to Weezer's Buddy Holly.
posted by wierdo at 3:37 PM on February 13, 2013


Personally, I think the oddest bundled media included with a version of Windows had to be the music video to Weezer's Buddy Holly.

If by "oddest" you mean "best".
posted by brennen at 3:42 PM on February 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


kjh: #trax reunion ITT.

zsazS checking in.
posted by zsazsa at 4:36 PM on February 13, 2013


I distinctly remember having an awesome MIDI file I downloaded off the Internet back in... who knows. For some reason, the tune stuck with me, but I have no idea what it's from.

The filename was midi.mid. I searched my hard drive and only found an mp3 conversion (?!?)
posted by dobi at 7:51 PM on February 13, 2013


I distinctly remember having an awesome MIDI file I downloaded off the Internet back in... who knows. For some reason, the tune stuck with me, but I have no idea what it's from.

The filename was midi.mid . I searched my hard drive and only found an mp3 conversion (?!?)


That’s Phil Collins - Sussudio
posted by bongo_x at 10:06 PM on February 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


It also sounds like it has some bad notes, which is weird.
posted by bongo_x at 10:17 PM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some clips from my old bootup config.sys and autoexec.bat (no ems)"

DEVICEHIGH C:\SB16\DRV\CTSB16.SYS /UNIT=0 /BLASTER=A:220 I:5 D:1 H:5
DEVICEHIGH C:\SB16\DRV\CTMMSYS.SYS
DEVICEHIGH C:\SB16\DRV\SBCD.SYS /D:MSCD001 /P:220

SET SOUND=C:\SB16
SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 H5 P330 T6
SET MIDI=SYNTH:1 MAP:E
C:\SB16\SB16SET /P /Q
C:\SB16\DIAGNOSE /S
path C:\WINDOWS;c:\windows\command;C:\DOS;C:\;c:\sb16


I used to know those lines by heart and could rewrite them on the fly. Then at some point, I think DOS 6, you could implement a boot menu that let you choose six different configurations. Swapping between EMS and NOEMS was a simple thing.

I had to sit in the snow at my computer, uphill, both ways, too.
posted by Xoebe at 7:10 AM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Some clips from my old bootup config.sys and autoexec.bat

You kept that?
posted by bondcliff at 7:30 AM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


You kept that?

I'm now kind of depressed that all my old boot floppies have given up the ghost.
posted by brennen at 8:38 AM on February 14, 2013


Some clips from my old bootup config.sys and autoexec.bat (no ems)

Ah, constantly messing around with that stuff to get games to run. It's probably one of the key things that made me feel comfortable enough with computers to eventually get a CS degree.
posted by naju at 8:56 AM on February 14, 2013


I'm now kind of depressed that all my old boot floppies have given up the ghost.

Somewhere I have a 1.2mb 5 1/4 floppy with a label on it that says "JOSHI VIRUS, DO NOT USE!"

I should try to put it on an XP VM and see what it does. Anyone know where I can find a 5 1/4 inch floppy with a Thunderbird interface?
posted by bondcliff at 9:10 AM on February 14, 2013


Wait seriously, does anyone have any leads for reading off of a 5 1/4" drive in a modern computer? I actually have a ton of actual floppies from that era and want to see if there's any data left on them.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:02 AM on February 14, 2013


bongo_x, you are the best. Seriously. It's like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.
posted by dobi at 5:02 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


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