The Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI), is a technical protocol and standard used in music and sound production. It is not the sound itself. It’s a language that electronic musical instruments, computers, and software use to communicate with each other. It has underpinned much of music technology for decades. It is used for a huge range of applications across a broad range of application areas.
MIDI allows various musical devices, such as synthesizers, keyboards, drum machines, and computers, to exchange information. This information includes data about which notes are played, how long they are held, the intensity of each note (velocity), and other musical parameters. Control surfaces for synthesizers, samplers, effects pedals, and other MIDI controllers communicate through MIDI networks. Networks are created using dedicated MIDI ports (IN, OUT, and THRU) and MIDI cables, virtual connections, and more recently high-speed USB connections.
It is a standardized language, which means that compatible devices from different manufacturers can communicate with each other seamlessly.
It is a versatile technology that can be used for various purposes, including recording and playback of music, live performance, and controlling software instruments and effects in Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs). It is used to send control and other information, which can be recorded and edited on your DAW.
As mentioned earlier, it doesn’t transmit audio signals like WAV or MP3 files. Instead, it transmits instructions on how to generate and manipulate sounds. For example, when you press a note on a keyboard, it sends a message indicating which key was pressed and how hard it was pressed, and the receiving device (e.g., a synthesizer) uses that information to produce the corresponding sound.
The data is highly editable. You can change the timing, pitch, and other aspects of the music easily within a sequencer or a DAW. The data can also be saved in MIDI files (.mid), which contain a series of messages that can be played back on various compatible devices.
There is no doubt that it has made a massive impact on music technology since the day it was first released onto the market. It is a crucial tool in music production, allowing musicians and producers to create, manipulate, and control musical elements electronically. It has been a fundamental technology in the music industry for several decades.
We are growing a collection of resources for people with an interest in music technology. We’ll be looking at the protocol, as well as the various pieces of equipment and items of software that use it in some shape or form. So, let’s get started with some articles featured below:
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