Top 10 MIDI Songs for Yamaha Keyboards
Instant backing band!
Beyond the sheer joy of playing a musical instrument, digital keyboards offer an extra bonus: the ability to act as a backing band by playing prerecorded versions of your favorite tunes via special data files called MIDI songs.
MIDI songs offer several important advantages over audio recordings. For one thing, you can freely change their key and/or tempo without affecting sound quality — in fact, you can even freely change the instrumentation! You can also turn tracks on and off to create your own custom “minus-one” versions, making it easy to hear and learn each individual component. It’s a terrific live performance feature, too, since it allows you to do “break-downs” with the push of a button. MIDI songs are also much, much smaller than audio versions, meaning that you can typically load many of them into even those instruments that have limited memory capacity.
All current Yamaha digital keyboards and digital pianos, as well as Yamaha arranger workstations and synthesizers, have the ability to play back MIDI songs, and you can find literally hundreds of them available for instant download at the Yamaha online store.
On that same website, you’ll also find specialized You Are The Artist collections that have been created to take advantage of some of the very best sounds in selected Yamaha keyboards, called Yamaha XG voices. These voices are incredibly realistic, and are showcased in the arrangements. You Are The Artist titles also include sheet music (which can be purchased separately or as part of the package) so you can follow along and learn how to play the song yourself.
1. Bohemian Rhapsody
Whether you’re familiar with this mega-hit by the group Queen from the movie Wayne’s World or you remember the original release from back in 1975, this six-minute-plus suite (written by the group’s prolific lead singer Freddie Mercury) brought operatic sensibilities to hard rock. An unlikely pairing, to be sure … but it works! Download the You Are The Artist version here. It’s also available as a MIDI song in the We Are the Champions (Music Made Famous By Queen) PianoSoft collection.
2. A Whiter Shade of Pale
One of the anthems of the 1967 Summer of Love, “A Whiter Shade of Pale” was one of the most commercially successful singles of all time and has become an enduring classic, with more than a thousand known cover versions by other artists. Its unforgettable Bach-derived organ lick and rousing chorus are guaranteed to bring you back to a bygone era! Download it here.
3. Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)
Performed and co-written by Christopher Cross, this Oscar®– and Golden Globe®-winning song served as the main theme for the 1981 film Arthur, starring Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli. The catchy “caught between the moon and New York City” lyric was inspired when co-writer Peter Allen’s plane was placed in a holding pattern during a night arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Download it here.
4. Bad Moon Rising
This Creedence Clearwater Revival mega-hit has been recorded by at least 20 different artists, in styles ranging from folk to reggae to psychedelic rock. The song is characterized by its upbeat tempo and catchy melody, but due to singer John Fogerty’s quirky delivery, the lyric in the chorus is often misinterpreted. Trust us: There is no “bathroom on the right”! Download it here.
5. Blinding Lights
If you’ve heard “Blinding Lights” many, many times, it should come as no surprise: This 2020 release by Canadian singer the Weeknd is one of the most-streamed songs of all time, earning 2.72 billion subscription stream equivalents globally, including some 1.6 billion on Spotify® alone. A controversy was sparked when, despite the song’s massive success, the Weeknd received no Grammy® nominations that year. Download it here. (You Are The Artist version available here.)
6. Brown Eyed Girl
This mega-hit by Irish soul singer Van Morrison dominated the charts in 1967 despite the fact that the song’s nostalgic lyrics about a former love were considered too suggestive at the time to be played on radio. Today, of course, it is a staple in the repertoire of many singers and is regularly played by oldies and classic rock radio stations. Download it here.
7. Last Christmas
Would it be the holidays without this chestnut? The original 1984 single from the British pop duo Wham! was written and produced by George Michael, who also played every instrument on the track. The song has since been covered by artists such as Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Jimmy Eat World and Backstreet Boys. Download it here. (You Are The Artist version available here.)
8. (Everything I Do) I Do It for You
This power ballad, sung and co-written by Bryan Adams, was made famous as part of the soundtrack of the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. The song enjoyed special success in the United Kingdom, where it spent sixteen consecutive weeks at number one — the longest uninterrupted run for a single ever. Download it here.
This song plays a major role in the 2018 remake of A Star Is Born, where it’s performed no less than three times by Lady Gaga and co-star Bradley Cooper — most notably before a live audience at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. “Shallow” would go on to win Oscar and Golden Globe Awards for Best Original Song, as well as garnering four Grammy nominations. Download the You Are The Artist version here. It’s also available as a MIDI song in the Hit Chart Songs of 2018-2019 PianoSoft collection.
10. Careless Whisper
Another hit song from Wham!, this 1984 release features a catchy saxophone riff that’s often used as an internet meme — something that’s given it increased popularity on social media in recent years. Nine different sax players were hired and fired in the course of the recording before session player Steve Gregory finally delivered a performance that satisfied George Michael. Download it here.
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