Enabling Note Track playback on Mac

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This page contains instructions for how to set up your Mac so that it can play MIDI files, Note Tracks, in Audacity.


  1. What is needed
  2. Software Synthesizer
  3. Ready for use

What is needed

Basically you need to install and run additional software on your Mac:

  • a software MIDI synthesizer, a synthesizer is the thing that actually makes sound from the MIDI instructions

Software Synthesizer

As described above, a synthesizer is the thing that actually makes the sounds for you.


For Macs, typically the easiest solution is SimpleSynth. You can download and install this program and keep it running in the background at all times. This will give you a basic set of standard MIDI sounds for Audacity to work with.

You can download SimpleSynth for free from this external website.

Peter 24Jul17: I have some reservations about us recommending a package like this whose website shows that it has not been maintained/updated since 5th September 2009.


If you wish to use a 64-bit software synthesizer (and this is neccessary for macOS 10.15 Catalina and onwards as only 64-bit applications are supported). then you can use sforzando, which is also available as a free download. }}

You can download sforzando for free from this external website.

Keep it running

Once you have installed your chosen software synthesizer launch it and keep it running in the background.

Otherwise you will need to re-launch it each time before you launch Audacity.

Ready for use

This should leave you ready to relaunch Audacity, import a MIDI file and play it.

Bulb icon Don't forget to relaunch the software synthesizer each time you restart your Mac.
Don't ask me how I know this ... <blushes deeply>