Burn a CD in Windows 7 Media Player, using a .wpl Playlist

WMP List Pane Burn Tab with Menu

The methods for burning off mp3 files to an audio CD can vary greatly from one computer to another. However, for many users, it's as simple as using the Windows Media Player to open a playlist of selections, copying that playlist to a "burn" list (selections to be burned to CD), and burning the CD itself. The snapshot at right shows where we're headed (click it to see it full size). In Windows Media Player, the Burn tab will look like this when we're just about ready to start burning to CD. Notice the drop-down Burn Options menu attached to the "blue check mark" icon near the upper right. We'll want to look at this menu along the way.

Here's how to use Windows 7 Media Player to burn off one of the playlists that you downloaded from this site:

  1. In Windows Explorer, look in the subdirectory for the part you want to burn off, such as soprano or tenor2, under the operetta parent folder for the score you are studying, such as pirates. Or look in the tutti folder for that operetta if you want to burn off the Tutti files for the score. For example, open the subidrectory /practice/pirates/soprano if you followed the example on the Tips for Downloading the Practice Files page.
  2. In the directory listing, most of the files are .mp3 files, which are individual musical selections. But there should be a few .wpl (Windows Playlist) files, probably listed at the bottom of the directory listing. Find the one whose name best fits the group of selections you want to burn off. If you right-click the file name, the pop-up menu should let you Play the playlist. Unless you have changed your Windows defaults, selecting Play should open the Windows Media Player and begin playing the group of selections listed in that playlist.
  3. In Windows Media Player, stop the playback.
  4. If you can see the list of selections in the right-hand area of the windows, then you are on the Library window where you need to be. If instead you are looking at a mostly dark blank window with three clickable lines in the middle, click the Go to Library command in the middle of the window, or the Switch to Library icon near the upper right.
  5. In the Library window, look at the playlist in the right-hand pane of the window. Confirm to yourself that these are the selections you want to burn off to CD.
  6. While we're looking at the Play tab contents, let's capture the playlist title to re-use later as a burn list title. Click into the list title area above the first selection and highlight it. Press Ctrl-C to copy the title to the clipboard.
  7. Now click the Burn tab above the playlist. The playlist area will be replaced with a mostly empty pane containing, about midway down, a link which will let you import the playlist into the burn list. Click this link. The same list of selections that were on the playlist should now appear as the contents of the Burn tab's list, but with the unhelpful title Burn List.
  8. Click the Burn List title area and highlight it, then press Ctr-V to paste in the playlist title we copied earlier. (Or go back to the Play tab, copy the title, return to the Burn tab, and paste it into the Burn List title area.)
  9. Drop down the Burn Options menu attached to an icon at the upper right above the list. Its icon has a blue check mark on it. Make sure the option "Audio CD" is selected, and not "Data CD/DVD." You want to create a playable audio CD, not a data ROM disc. You can also verify that the drive will eject the disc when finished. (Or you can turn off the eject option if you prefer it that way.)
  10. Put a blank CD into your CD burner drive. If Windows Media Player is looking at a different drive from your burner drive, look for your burner's drive letter in the left-hand navigation pane of the window. Try clicking its icon there. If Windows Media Player is unable to recognize your burner drive, you will need to troubleshoot beyond the scope of this instruction.
  11. Once Windows Media Player detects the blank disc, it should show a Disc 1 listing containing all of the selections (with some blank space left over). If the list is split into Disc 1 and Disc 2, then you have too many selections for one disc at the capacity it is able to hold. (For the playlists included in the G&S Practice downloads, this usually shouldn't be a problem unless you have combined two playlists into one long list as described below. Each G&S playlist on this site fits on an 80-minute CD. If your burner or blank CD is limited to 72 minutes, there may be some splitting of larger playlists. Either omit some selections until they fit on one disc, or you may want to burn the two discs.)
  12. Once you have a satifactory list of selections to burn to your CD, click the Start burn icon just below the Play and Burn tabs. The burn process will proceed for a few minutes (times will vary), and eventually the disc will be ejected when finished (unless you turned off that option).

To combine multiple playlists

As implied above, sometimes you might want to combine two playlists together on one CD. If your part playlist plus the corresponding tutti playlist add up to less than 80 minutes (or 72 minutes if that's your limit), you can simplify your study by putting them both on the same disc. The trouble is, when you play the second playlist, it replaces the first one. It doesn't append itself to the first list. So how can you get them to combine?


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