Yamaha’s earlier floppy disks use the propriety ESEQ format. They also use a primitive form of copy protection, where the first sectors of the disks are missing. This means computers identify the disks as corrupt, requiring you to use specialized software to back up your Disklavier disks. In place of these sectors, Yamaha uses the PIANODIR.FIL file, which serves both as a file table and a song index.
Converting MIDI files to ESEQ
If you want to use MIDI files with your older Disklavier, you can, but you have to convert them to ESEQ first. There’s software to do this conversion. You can either get it from http://www.carolrpt.com/MIDItools.htm or you can download the whole DKVUTILS suite from my MEGA drive.
Once you download DKVUTILS.ZIP from my site or theirs, you’ll need to extract it. The program that converts MIDI files to ESEQ files is MID2ESEQ.EXE. This program runs only on Windows, and does not seem to run with emulators. Reach out to me and I can assist with conversion.
If you have a Yamaha that’s capable of playing ESEQ only, you might also need to create a PIANODIR.FIL index. I have instructions here on creating a PIANODIR.FIL index.
Creating a PIANODIR.FIL using DKVUTILS
If you are creating a floppy disk for use with an earlier ESEQ only Disklavier, or if you’re preparing ESEQ files for transfer to a Nalbantov USB stick, you might have to create your own PIANODIR.FIL.
Note: Please note that the filenames should be strictly eight characters long, have no spaces, and be entirely uppercase, including the FIL extension BEFORE following the process below. If you don’t do this, some pianos will be unable to read the files.
First, put all the ESEQ files you’ve created in a folder together. The DKVUTILS suite includes a program called ESEQ Explorer. Once you open the program, select the directory you’ve stored your ESEQ files in. You’ll see a screen like the one below:
Note that, if you don’t currently have a PIANODIR.FIL, there will be a red X in front of it. That means it’s not present. Right-click on it and select Create Index. The contents of that folder are now ready to be added to a disk using the Nalbantov tools.
I’ve also quoted the text file from the DKVUTILS.ZIP tool below, since they’re informative:
Yamaha Disklavier discs are always on Double Density (2DD) media, High Density (HD)discs, which are more common nowadays, will not work. Furthermore, they are formatted to 720 Kbytes not the default of 1.2 Mbytes. The original discs are copy protected. This has been achieved by placing invalid data on the first sector. As DOS and Windows always refer to this sector to check out a floppy, they will report that the discs are bad. The Yamaha machinery ignores the first sector so it reads them normally.
The music files on a Disklavier disc have the extension .FIL . They are frequently identified with titles like PIANO001.FIL but sometimes they have names similar to DOS like MUSIC1.FIL. In addition to the music files, there is an index file on the disc. This contains a list of the active music files on the disc, their titles, and pointers to their position on the disc. The index file is always called PIANODIR.FIL and always has a size of 6 Kbytes. In order to set up a Disklavier disc to function on a Disklavier, you must first copy the music files onto it in Disklavier format (ESEQ) and then run the ESEQ EXPLORER program to build the index file.