[LAU] MIDI pedigree

David Kastrup dak at gnu.org
Mon Apr 5 15:24:15 CEST 2021

I am currently considering setting "(Don't Fear) the Reaper" from Blue
Öyster Cult for accordion orchestra, and particularly because of the
complexity of the rather layered arrangement, that implies a lot of
transcription effort.  I took a look at guitar tab sites and got quite a
few bits out for the guitar parts, but there is a lot of stuff missing
of course and need for writing stuff down.

So I dug around on the web to look for MIDI files and found a few ones
that were pretty solid (actually, astonishing in itself).

A few MIDI files clock in around 70kB and are likely obvious variations
of the same source.  But I also found something in the 20kB range.

Now here is the thing: all of them, as accurate and detailed as they
appear otherwise, get the central guitar riff wrong.  The second bar of
the central riff is a (broken) straight G major chord, g b d g.  The
guitar tabs have it.  The original single version has it (haven't found
other versions).  Tutorials have it.  But the Midi files invariably have
g c d g.  All of them, the simple and more complex ones.

So I have two working theories: there is some other version of "(Don't
Fear) the Reaper".  The other is that all MIDI files have a common
ancestor that got it wrong and never looked twice, in spite of very
meticulously transcribing all the solos.

David Kastrup

More information about the Linux-audio-user mailing list