Hooktheory.com is a beautiful site with all sorts of tools and exercises to help people understand and write music. Hookpad, their software to create chord progressions and melodies, is one of their main offerings. Since I use Hookpad primarily to mix existing songs together, I naturally want an easy way to access those songs in Hookpad.
Granted, there is a sizeable database of user submitted songs in the Hookpad format, but most songs I want to play with still aren’t available. Searching for how to upload MIDI into Hookpad, I realized there is no direct method for doing this. However, I was able to put together a method using several resources. This method uses the applications I have at my disposal, but can likely be modified.
Uploading MIDI files into Hookpad
An indirect method, but simple, method
For this method to work, you’ll need the paid version of Hookpad (Hookpad+), some kind of digital audio workstation (DAW), and access to your computer operating system’s MIDI setup. In my case, I’m using Ableton Live on a Mac.
Step One: Activating the IAC driver (Mac)
- Visit Applications > Utilities > Audio MIDI Setup
- Select Show MIDI Window from the Window menu
- Double-click the IAC driver icons and check the option “Device is online” to activate it
- Once this is complete, the IAC driver ports should appear in your DAW and can be used to send MIDI data to Hookpad
- Instructions on Windows
Step Two: Preparing MIDI in the DAW (Ableton Live)
- Open Live and load the MIDI file
- Hookpad+ can handle up to 4 tracks, so set up the MIDI data to play one track at a time if under 5 tracks
- The track you’ll be recording into Hookpad should have MIDI To pointing to the IAC driver
- If IAC driver doesn’t show up in Midi To, you may need to open the MIDI preferences in Live and enable it as an output device
- Make sure the MIDI track doesn’t have any devices (instruments, audio effects, etc.) assigned to it or you’ll see an Audio To instead of Midi To
Step Three: Recording in Hookpad+
- Open Hookpad+ in your browser
- The software should automatically recognize the MIDI input using Web MIDI API
- Make sure the tempos and key signatures match between the DAW and Hookpad
- Hit record on Hookpad and then play the MIDI track in your DAW
- The notes should automatically start playing and recording in Hookpad!