How to see midi instrument in imported midi file

When I import a midi file in Ardour it works, but I would like to be able to see what instrument is playing. In the mixer I only see general midi selections, but not the current instrument…


The instrument played by MIDI note data is not known to Ardour, since only plugins can do that.

If you are using a plugin or hardware synth that has a MIDNAM file, which maps patch numbers to names, then Ardour can display some information, if you tell it which MIDNAM to use. Very few plugins, however, have a MIDNAM file - only the plugin’s GUI can show you the current patch name.

What are you using for sound generation, a plugin or some external hardware synth?

For sound generation I use a plugin, I did not do anything for that. The mixer shows ‘General Midi Synth’ but not what patch is played. BTW, I am importing this midi file from Band-in-a-box, so there I could see what GM patch is used, but not in Ardour

The “General MIDI Synth” is Fluidysnth pre-loaded with a General MIDI compatible soundfont. The synth will follow the GM specification with respect to patch changes etc. etc. You can see the current instrument in the plugin’s own GUI. There’s nowhere in Ardour that it will be displayed, because Ardour is not able to “look inside” a plugin to determine this.

You say: “You can see the current instrument in the plugin’s own GUI”

I am sorry, but I do not see that. When I double click on the General MIDI Synth, I only see a list of drop-down buttons, like

C1: Stereo Grand C9: Celeste
C2: Bright Grand C10: Glockenspiel

Nothing about the current GM patch…


Forget my previous comment: apparently the patch names are visible at the start of the tracks in the editor, I must have overlooked them…

That is not universally true. Ardour can ask the plugin, if the plugin allows that. There is a custom LV2 extension that both a-fluidsynth as well as gmsynth.lv2 implement. Those plugins also generate a midnam, so Ardour can show the name of the active patch in the editor (Track-header > patch selector) as well as the plugin’s UI.

For other plugins Ardour assumes that any patch that Ardour sends to the plugin will be used as-is. Ardour re-plays previously set CCs and patches at session-load (but only ones that were previously sent to the track).
Ardour cannot know about initial plugin states of generic plugins.