Transposing Songs with Bass lines to a different Key

I have had a few requests about transposing songs with bass lines into different keys so I thought I would make a quick tutorial using a free Midi Editor.

First you will need to export the midi files from each part of the song by right clicking song part and exporting to Midi. Remember which folder you export to.

You end up with this

Now you can download Free Midi Editor and open this progam. Click on the Yellow folder in the top left hand corner to open midi file and select file from the folder you have previously save midi’s to

And you will end up with a view of the midi file similar to this. I would click on the zoom horizontal out button to make sure the whole midi file is in view. Here you will notice two distict paterns. The drum beat pattern is down the bottom in the section on the piano roll on the left side of C to c’. The bass pattern is in the section c’ E to c"’ E. Caution: If you move the bass notes outside of this range the notes outside the range will not sound on beatbuddy. Eg if you transpose a Low E to a Low Eb the Eb will not play. You will have to relocate that one note up an octave.

Now right click and drag across the screen to highlight the bass part

Now we can transpose to a different key. In this case from G to F by relocating the selected midi events down to lines. I advise to select the up/down arrow (move events (up or down)) on the editor bar at the top then pick any event highlighted and drag it to the right location and all the other events will move with it.

All thats left to do now is click on the save button to save the file which overwrites the original file and now just import back to the song in beatbuddy manager and overwrite the existing file.

Repeat this process for each part of the song.
This program can most likely be used to create midi files from scratch and use VST instruments for playback but I have not used this program for that and have no idea how it works.


thank you. i will test it out

thanks for this Stu :wink: looking forward to using it ! :wink:

I know I am using my internal sound card but how do I map the bass so I can hear the notes?

Is there a MAC version of the Midi Editor or Windows only? Thanks!!

Im a windows only man. Ill do a quick google search see what I can dig up. What others have already said you can create and modify midi’s in garage band but can’t export. Brb


I found a program called Aria Maestosa which is allegedly mac compatible. I downloaded it to windows opened a midi file I had located the bass and relocated just like the other program and exported to midi. took me 11 minutes all up including trying out some test midi files i had that were not appropriate and I discovered had no bass lines. Have a try with it. Don’t give up staight away if you dont get it at first. Setup up a test folder with test midi’s and a test song in beatbuddy manager so you can try stuff without having to worry about accidentally deleting anything.


I mainly use Aria to audition midi files, because it auto configures the instruments. Sometimes I use it to compare the piano roll pattern tell Reaper which track is which. It’s also not bad to chop up songs, but it’s odd cause in order to chop out a part, you basically have to chop out what you DON’T want, then undo it to get your song back after saving the part. Aria seems to really hate midi clips that are the drums with bass type. They end up oddly inverted and moved around. So, I use Reaper for all my heavy lifting. With Reaper I can usually knock out an easy song with bass in less than 15 minutes.

I’ve given @CharlesSpencer a songfont of drums with bass, so I’m hoping we’ll have that option soon!

Any news on the ‘drums with bass’ front? I’ve tried Aria (being a MAC person) and everything else I can find (I have Cubase, downloaded Reaper - even Muse Music - you name it) but all I want to do is move All Along the Watchtower to a different key not sign on to score the next Star Wars. Learning the various setups and conventions of the SW to do such a simple task is counter-productive. I’ll move onto a ‘no-bass’ option if I can’t sing in that key.

what key did you want in? I meant to do it in C, but I think it ended up in C#, so if you want it in C, I’d be happy to do that. Reaper is my main tool these days.

I went ahead and did it:

Wow thanks! I figured since I sing in more than one key simply up an interval would be no problem but not so. I guess I’ve got Am-G-F stuck in my tonal center (thanks to Dave Matthews). From what I can see Reaper seems a good investment of my time to learn (and purchase). Is the manual comprehensive enough or is there a better hand-holding learning source? The thing I found frustrating with the free CuBase that came with a USB interface was forgetting all the required signal routing and underlying conventions once I learned it to simply lay down work since I don’t use it enough.

I think I should go back and look at all my posts, and consolidate them into a formal tutorial! I taught Phil how to make bb songs with bass, and now he’s cranking them out like crazy! :slight_smile: 4 or 5 more guys like that, and our “with bass” library can reach the thousands! :slight_smile:

A difficult task instructing but if you can point the way, as you already noted, so many will be in your debt. Manuals typically only tell what something is (and in their terminology) not how to use it which would require the writer to anticipate the learner’s questions. Tough. When I think “I just want to import a midi file, grab the bass part and bump it up an interval while listening to it as bass” - seems simple to me. Obviously I need to know more about what goes on under the hood in the software so I can avoid becoming an expert :wink: I have recorded successfully with CuBase (LE Elements 6 that came with a box I bought - and it works on my Mac) but there were some long cold winter nights reading and cursing why I couldn’t hear what I wanted. Some really cool stuff ultimately though with plugins etc. but not being a daily user though I forget.

Every time I try transposing , I cross the 500 note limit , it may be adding events
tried rewriting notes in new key, Fortunate Son intro is just pedalling the E …
thought would be a good starting point, it’s ended up being more frustrating …
agree about reason …looks great, but not sure where plugins are or where to put them
… a tutorial would be great … & I’ve reread Stu’s tutorial quite a few times … :frowning:
I want to pump them out too …lol

I wrote a filter to change all zero velocity note-on events to noteoff events, and was able to basically double the capacity of the loops. The 500 note limit is going away though, so most songs can just be the whole song now.

guitar stu’s tutorial:

I’ll start a new thread and demo how I do songs with bass

Hi.Just checking to see how I turn the events off to double the 500 limit.I have imported a midi file section and changed the key of the bass but when I go to import the part with the new key into the beat buddy manager it says I have gone over the 500 event limit.I am using sonar to edit the midi and it must be adding events for some reason that is taking me over the limit when importing back to beat manager.Thanks for your time/

I get that problem when using Reaper to create midi’s. With some large parts it will go over the 500 note limit when there isn’t 500 notes in it. To get it back under I open the midi in Free Midi Editor and then just hit the save button and then I can use it in Beatbuddy Manager. There is an extra step required if the part is not in 4/4. You will have to adjust the time signature to match what it was before then save.

Thanks mate.I worked it out not long after I sent the message.For some reason cakewalk sonar must add extra events so I changed the keys in cakewalk as it is really fast and easy to do and then saved the file and opened it up in Anvil then saved the same file in anvil and it opened in Beat manager.I also found if you open some files in the main section first instead of the fill section it will allow more notes then the file can be dragged into the sections where it wouldn’t fit.Thanks for your quick reply.Cheers.