#music #midi #piano #learning #sdl2

app rusthesia

Reads midi files and create piano notes waterfall

14 releases

✓ Uses Rust 2018 edition

0.1.13 Feb 22, 2019
0.1.12 Feb 22, 2019

#10 in Audio

Download history 83/week @ 2019-02-01 10/week @ 2019-02-08 17/week @ 2019-02-15 23/week @ 2019-02-22 42/week @ 2019-03-01 44/week @ 2019-03-08 14/week @ 2019-03-15 72/week @ 2019-03-22

102 downloads per month

MIT license



Rusthesia is till now just a hack to play a midi file, created from Logic Pro/X, and display a window with falling notes down onto a piano.

The midi file can be transposed in half notes in realtime by using shift left/right key. Playing can be paused by space.


Synthesizer is not included. Instead midi messages will be sent via core audio. Logic Pro/X can be used for playing the midi, but has to be set up accordingly.

No idea for other operation systems, if it works or how to do.


Screen output uses sdl2.




The sdl2 libraries need to be installed. On macos this can be done by:

brew install sdl2 sdl2_gfx


cargo install rusthesia


For help just execute

rusthesia -h

As an example the midi-file Marche_aux_Flambeaux.mid is included. As per that website, this file is in the public domain.

First list the available tracks:

> rusthesia Marche_aux_Flambeaux.mid -l
Track 0:
  Text: Creator: GNU LilyPond 2.8.7
  Text: Generated automatically by: GNU LilyPond 2.8.7
  Text: at Mon Oct 16 20:41:39 2006
  Text: at Mon Oct 16 20:41:39 2006
  Track name: Track 0
Track 1:
  Track name: upper
  Instrument name: accordion
Track 2:
  Track name: lower
  Instrument name: accordion

For playing and displaying all tracks use:

> rusthesia Marche_aux_Flambeaux.mid -p 0 1 2 -s 0 1 2

In order to play the lower and show only the upper, use the following command:

> rusthesia Marche_aux_Flambeaux.mid -p 1 -s 2

Only use the midi player function without graphic output:

> rusthesia Marche_aux_Flambeaux.mid -p 1


Todo list is managed under projects



Logic Pro/X

Have not been able to use Logic Pro/X as a synthesizer with channels assigned to different instruments. Still keep looking for the needed hidden feature.


Works, but need to create a concert with keyboard per channel, which is not very convenient.

Connected piano (Roland RD-64) with synthesizer

As rusthesia offered to use my Roland RD-64 as output, I have given it a try. Very positively surprised, that it works pretty well. Even can play along by hand to the song.


As per info from Samuel Da Mota, the code works on linux:

No need to change a single line of code or configuration whatsoever. One only need to install the libsdl2-dev and libsd2-gfx-dev packages for your project to build. And then to install a system wide midi sequencer such as timidity and run it (using timidity -iA) to get music being played.

In the meantime have tried on deepin linux, which is IMHO based on Debian. This steps to be executed for compilation:

sudo apt install librtaudio-dev libsdl2-2.0 cmake libfreetype6-dev libsdl2-dev libsdl2-gfx-dev libsdl2-ttf-dev libfontconfig1-dev

Unfortunatly it does not work for these issues:

  • Long pause before windows comes up
  • Super slow
  • No output if using timidity -A

Need further debugging.

Data to Marche_aux_Flambeaux.mid

  • 115 bars
  • 4/4 bar
  • 110 beats per minute (as per Logic Pro/X)
  • duration 4 minutes 8 seconds
  • First note starts at bar 2.0
  • Last note ends at bar 114.3

Solutions for known issues


If the application outputs lots of fontconfig errors, then there could be a libfontconfig mismatch. Please check, if pkg-config is able to find fontconfig:

pkg-config --list-all|grep fontconfig

If there is no output, then crate servo-fontconfig-sys will build its own version, which can be incompatible. Installation of libconfig1-dev has fixed this.


The attached LICENSE file defines the license for the code of this crate only - specifically before compiling or linking. The resulting binary after linking may be problematic in regard to license incompatibilities of included crates.

From current point of view to be checked: BSD-3-Clause (1): simple-logging ISC (1): rdrand N/A (2): fuchsia-cprng Unlicense (1): midly

AFAIK is incompatible: GPL-3.0-or-later (1): sdl2-unifont

Consequently automated builds resulting in a public available binary cannot be set up for now.

Final Words

The application works, but still this is a quick hack and not polished for code review ;-)


~175K SLoC