Ripping Drum Tracks From MIDI Files




Introduction: Ripping Drum Tracks From MIDI Files

This Instructable walks you through ripping a drum track from a MIDI song. Then you can play along or create a cover of the song or let your creativity run wild.

Here is a sample drum track that I did using this method. It is from the Beatles song "Drive My Car".

I have found that this method creates as good or better drum tracks than the canned tracks that come with drum machines. But with this method the tracks are song-specific. You can also do some crazy stuff, e.g. I'm working up Brubeck's "Take Five" using the drum track ripped from Emerson, Lake and Palmer's "Tarkus" (slowed down a bit).

Windows XP, VISTA and probably earlier Windows

Step 1: Gather the Tools...

For this Instructable, you will need the following:

DrumTrack (free software for tracks...d'uh)

A midi file (download the following for the demo)

Audacity (free software editing's very cool)

Step 2: Fun With DrumTrack

Download and install DrumTrack

Spend some time getting to know this really fine software. You can compose drum tracks with this. Check out DrumTrack's humanization (Song > Song Patterns > Humanization)...maybe it will make your drum track less drum machine like.

Now download the MIDI for the demo and listen to it.

You should be able to double-click the demo MIDI file. If not (you don't have a player associated with mid files) try running Media Player and opening to the MIDI file.

In DrumTrack import the MIDI file.
File > Import MIDI Drum Score

Here's the catch...even though our Demo MIDI is a full score DrumTrack ignores all the instruments that are NOT drum related. Plus it assigns the drum parts form the imported MIDI to the appropriate instrument in the program.

Step 3: Continuing With DrumTrack

Once you have loaded the MIDI file in DrumTrack, give it a listen (click the play button from near the top). Look at the upper left of the program to see what pattern is playing (many songs begin with one or more silent patterns). Instead of playing all the parts (melody instruments, harmony, etc.), DrumTrack will just play drum instruments.

If you have developed a mastery of DrumTrack, you can enhance the original drum track. Otherwise, you can go on to export the track to something usable.

File > Export to MIDI

WAV File
File > Export to WAV

MP3 File
DrumTrack does NOT export to MP3. So export to a WAV file. Then download and install the freeware program Audacity.

In Audacity, open the WAV file that you just exported.
File > Open
Once it opens, export to MP3
File > Export As > MP3

Step 4: Conclusion

Now you are little bit closer to being a one-man (one-woman) band. So to do your own covers of well known song, you search the Web for a midi of the song, rip the drum track and add your own tracks. You may be able to create a Karaoke using this as well.

Here is my wishlist for improving on this Instructable
1) How to add a click track to the beginning of the track so that you know when to come in (you are playing along, no?)

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    15 years ago

    Hello, and welcome to the Instructables community! It's great that you've decided to tell the world about something you've made by publishing an Instructable. We just wanted to let you know that your project still needs a little more work if you want it to be well received on Instructables. Projects that don't include certain basic elements tend not to get the attention that they deserve, and so we'd love for you to check out the list below of what makes a successful Instructable. Successful projects on Instructables include: - clearly written details of a finished project with instruction - as many steps as are necessary to explain your project - clear images that you took of your project for most, if not all of your steps - an intro image - proper spelling and grammar - appropriate cautions or safety considerations I'll give you another opportunity to make any final changes to your project before we publish it. Once you're all set to go, please republish your project and send me a quick comment letting me know that you've made some changes. I'll give it a quick final check to make sure you're on the right path, and then remove this note. Thanks for your submission and we hope to see your project published soon!


    11 years ago on Step 4

    I signed up JUST to say THANK YOU for this nice tutorial. I was about to get MENTAL trying to make something free work, to transform my guitar pro midi drums into something real to the audacity so I could record with the keyboard over it. And this was so simple! great job, thank you.


    13 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for this...  I knew there was a way with software that came with one of my ancient sound cards that's long gone, but this will definitely help me out since my music making process is crippled in structure and my inability to make anything happen with drum machines (fried mine before getting anything out of it) and software. And the inability to come across drummers or compatible musicians.

    Saving this.

    Cool program. Is there a way to convert mp3s to midi files? Ive heard there isnt (for stereo tracks), could you save tracks off a cd to midi?


    Reply 14 years ago on Introduction

    If you use a software or site ( is a great one) to convert a file, you could convert virtually any type of file to another... Hope I helped!