How to add lyrics to a MIDI file using GNMIDI

In this tutorial I will show you how to add lyrics to a General MIDI file (.mid) by using GNMIDI. I’m using the professional version of the software (ver. 3.32, released on 23/05/22). In my personal experience, it’s one of the best choices available for this type of MIDI work. You can find more over at

The process described below is how I add lyrics to all the files available on MIDIprog.

1. Open the MIDI file that you would like to work with by going to File Open, using the hotkey Ctrl+O, or dragging and dropping the file into the workspace of GNMIDI.

2. A window containing a lot of useful information will pop up.

Opening the MIDI file in GNMIDI.

3. Open the Karaoke Editor by going to Modify Karaoke editor, or using Ctrl+K.

4. Select the channel that contains the vocal/melody line. All MIDI files available through MIDIprog have their melody line assigned to channel 4. Before clicking OK, don’t forget to enable the option delete existing lyrics. WARNING: This option will also delete any existing markers, which means you will have to reinsert them after finishing syncing the lyrics. Although this is not optimal, it can be worked around by changing your workflow so that you always insert lyrics before inserting markers. I believe this is going to be addressed in future versions of the software. Click OK.

Selecting the vocal line channel.

5. The Song text window is going to pop up. Here you can paste the lyrics of the song, or import them from a .lyr or .txt file. GNMIDI does a good job at recognizing which language the lyrics are in. After pasting, click Split syllables. The software will automatically add dashes between syllables where necessary. Each syllable separated by a dash is going to be synced/assigned to an individual note of the melody line. Click OK.

Pasting the lyrics into the Song text window.

6. The Karaoke text editor is going to come up. The majority of the work is done in this window. You will see the syllables with their timing (in beats.ticks format) on the left side and the notes to which each one is synced to on the right side.

Working in the Karaoke text editor window.

There are two special symbols that control the formatting you should be aware of:

«Line symbol. Moves the lyrics coming after it to a new line. This is the equivalent of hitting “Enter” on your keyboard in a word processing software. You can insert it by clicking on the Line button.
Paragraph symbol. Moves the lyrics coming after it to a new line, leaving an empty line above them. This is the equivalent of hitting “Enter” two times. Used to group/separate lyrics for different song sections, such as when we pass from a verse to a chorus. You can insert it by clicking on the Paragraph button.

If the melody line is programmed keeping the one-note-per-syllable rule in mind, the majority of the syllables should line up correctly and won’t need to be moved. Still, there are times when you would like to “extend” a syllable to last for two or three consecutive notes, such as when the singer changes the pitch of his/her voice but keeps singing the same syllable. On such cases, you can use the keys below to move, split, or merge syllables and words:

F5Move upwardsMoves the highlighted syllable to the previous note (upwards), if there is space to do so.
F6Move downwardsMoves the highlighted syllable to the next note (downwards). It also moves all the syllables coming after it one step downwards.
F7Split syllablesSplits the syllables where the cursor is currently located and moves the second half to the next note.
F8Merge syllablesMerges the highlighted syllable with the one coming directly after it.

After doing edits, you can verify that everything lines up as expected by using the play button. Each syllable will be highlighted the moment it’s supposed to be sung. You can use the normal button to half the playback speed. This is ideal for faster-paced sections of a song, such as rap sections. Note that the playback always starts from the topmost visible line of “cells”. Use the mouse scroll or the up and down arrow keys to navigate to the part that you would like to work on.

7. After all the edits are done, click Save. A new window, like the one you saw in step 2, is going to pop up. This window displays info for the edited MIDI file (now containing embedded lyrics). Go to File Save if you would like to save the new file overwriting the old one, or File Save As... if you would like to save the new file with a different name.

Saving the edited MIDI file.

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