Ever since Windows 3.1, Microsoft has included MIDI files in the
C:\WINDOWS\MEDIA folder so that if a user ever needed to troubleshoot a MIDI application, Microsoft support would have files that were reliably there.
Along with original compositions, there were also MIDI files of well-known classical works, like Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. I won’t be featuring these in this post, just the original compositions.
MIDI files are sometimes criticized for sounding terrible and dated. The reason for that is because the critic didn’t use a good SoundFont. MIDI files don’t actually store any sounds; it can be thought of like sheet music: the notes to play are contained in the file, and what it sounds like when played is up to the SoundFont used. In this post, I’ve rendered the MIDI files using one of two SoundFonts: Microsoft’s
2gmgsmt.sf2 and Finale’s
synthgms.sf2. The SoundFont used to render the MIDI file is indicated after the filename.
Let’s go look in the
MEDIA folder, shall we?
- PASSPORT.MID (synthgms)
PASSPORT.MID was first included in Windows 3.1 and was included until (but not including) Windows XP. This was one of two files (the other being CANYON.MID) included to promote Passport Designs.
It kind of sounds like the background music for a DOS game, like Commander Keen.
I’ve tried searching for the composer, but without success (apparently, George Stone knows nothing about it).