Black MIDI Wiki
Advertisement


Piano From Above is a free program very similar to Synthesia created in 2010 by Brian Pantano. The purpose of this application is to teach people how to play the piano and to learn with a practice, play, and learn mode. It can run flawlessly regardless of its screen size.

Piano From Above uses a lightweight note display, making it a lot faster than the popular Synthesia. However, Piano From Above is a bit more complicated to maneuver, but it works well in every way. The program utilizes Direct3D to render the piano roll.

This is a popular choice for playing Black MIDIs due to its lightweight graphics display, which means it is able to load and play larger files than a program like Synthesia, which is focused on aesthetics rather than performance.

Piano From Above is also favorable over other programs because of the features it has. Unlike Synthesia, Piano From Above is able to view all 128 keys when playing a file. Also unlike Synthesia, you can pick custom colors to use, and the falling note window span is much more customizable.

Advantages/Disadvantages[]

Advantages[]

  • Faster than Synthesia
  • Able to read MIDI note count and change track settings
  • Highly customizable colors
  • 128 key support
  • 64-bit since June 2014
  • Open Source since 2019

Disadvantages[]

  • Larger and/or sustained MIDIs can take some time to load
  • Heavily affected by sustained notes/crash points
  • Poorly optimised: has lower midi performance than many other graphical MIDI players
  • Windows only, although can be ran in Wine/Proton on Linux and macOS
  • Can't load MIDI files larger than 2 GB (2,147,483,648 Bytes)

Version History[]

All known releases of PFA as of 2020

Version Date Comments
1.0.0 12/14/2010 First release
1.0.1 01/13/2011 Previous go-to PFA version before 1.1.0 release, last freemium version, was essentially 1.0.0 with a bug fixed
1.1.0 (Original) 06/08/2014 64 bit build. First version to be free for the public
1.1.0 (Open Source) 03/05/2019 Open source release, no other changes over the original 1.1.0 release

Tips & Tricks[]

View all 128 keys[1][]

When the user first installs and opens up Piano From Above, the program only displays 88 keys, that is, the note range of the common piano. However, the MIDI range has a full range of 128 keys, and most Black MIDIs created nowadays span this range. This "hack", detailed below, allows the user to view all 128 keys of the MIDI range on Piano From Above. This is one of the reasons that make Piano From Above a more popular MIDI playback program than Synthesia, as it is not possible to view all 128 keys of the MIDI range on Synthesia (128 key Synthesia Videos on EpreTroll's channel actually consist of 88 key recordings that undergo advanced video editing).

  1. Go to the run command (Windows + R) or open up Cortana (on Windows 10) and type in %appdata%.
  2. Navigate to the Piano From Above folder.
  3. Open Config.xml and look for the strings FirstKey="21" and LastKey="108". Change these strings to FirstKey="0" and LastKey="127" (Use 126 if you are using Piano From Above 1.0.1 or 1.0.0).

View FPS[2][]

Similarly, when the user first installs and opens up Piano From Above, the program does not display FPS values in the upper-right counter. To enable FPS, do the following:

  1. Go to the run command (Windows + R) or open up Cortana (on Windows 10) and type in %appdata%.
  2. Navigate to the Piano From Above folder.

Open Config.xml and look for the string ShowFPS="0". Change this to ShowFPS="1". (You may notice that this locks the FPS to a max value of 60 in the counter. If you want to be able to go above 60 FPS, change the string LimitFPS="1" to LimitFPS="0")

References[]

Advertisement