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Piano From Above is a free program very similar to Synthesia created in 2010 by Brian Pantano. The purpose of this application is to teach people how to play the piano and to learn with a practice, play, and learn mode. It can run flawlessly regardless of its screen size.

Piano From Above uses a lightweight note display, making it a lot faster than the popular Synthesia. However, Piano From Above is a bit more complicated to maneuver, but it works well in every way. Like Synthesia, the program utilizes Direct3D, an API from DirectX to generate notes. 

This is a popular choice for playing Black MIDIs due to its lightweight graphics display, which means it is able to load and play larger files than a program like Synthesia, which is focused on aesthetics rather than performance.

Piano From Above

The Piano From Above startup screen in HD quality (1280x800) Piano roll note colors may vary.

Piano From Above is also favorable over other programs because of the features it has. Unlike Synthesia, Piano From Above is able to view all 128 keys when playing a file. Also unlike Synthesia, you can pick custom colors to use, and the falling note window span is much more customizable.

Derp

Piano From Above playing Bad Apple!! 7.67 Million

Latest version: 1.1.0

Version history: Can be found here

Max notes: ~500 Million (Limited)

Dance of the Reed Flutes

Riccardo Loi's remix of "Dance of the Reed Flutes"

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Faster than Synthesia
  • 64-bit as of June 2014

Cons

  • Larger MIDIs can take some time to load
  • Abandoned since June 2014
  • Poorly optimised; has lower midi performance than other MIDI players
  • Only available on the Windows Platform

Hacks

View all 128 keys

PFA Hack How to View All 128 Keys in Piano From Above00:57

PFA Hack How to View All 128 Keys in Piano From Above

128 Keys Video Tutorial

When the user first installs and opens up Piano From Above, the program only displays 88 keys, that is, the note range of the common piano. However, the MIDI range has a full range of 128 keys, and most Black MIDIs created nowadays span this range. This "hack", detailed below, allows the user to view all 128 keys of the MIDI range on Piano From Above. This is one of the reasons that make Piano From Above a more popular MIDI playback program than Synthesia, as it is not possible to view all 128 keys of the MIDI range on Synthesia (128 key Synthesia Videos on EpreTroll's channel actually consist of 88 key recordings that undergo advanced video editing).

  1. Go to the run command (Windows + R) or open up Cortana (on Windows 10) and type in %appdata%.
  2. Navigate to the Piano From Above folder.
  3. Open Config.xml and look for the strings FirstKey="21" and LastKey="108". Change these strings to FirstKey="0" and LastKey="127" (Use 126 if you are using a version preceding release 1.10 of Piano From Above).

View FPS

PFA Hack How to Enable FPS in Piano From Above-000:35

PFA Hack How to Enable FPS in Piano From Above-0

FPS Video Tutorial

Similarly, when the user first installs and opens up Piano From Above, the program does not display FPS values in the upper-right counter. To enable FPS, do the following:

  1. Go to the run command (Windows + R) or open up Cortana (on Windows 10) and type in %appdata%.
  2. Navigate to the Piano From Above folder.
  3. Open Config.xml and look for the string ShowFPS="0". Change this to ShowFPS="1". (You may notice that this locks the FPS to a max value of 60 in the counter. If you want to be able to go above 60 FPS, change the string LimitFPS="1" to LimitFPS="0")

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