Musical Instrument Digital Interface
MIDI is a form of technology which allows a huge range of computer
generated musical instruments to communicate to each other.
A good way to think of it is a “language all the different instruments can
understand”. Since a language is only the words, not the voice, MIDI
information does not include any actual audio information, and has to be
“assigned a voice”, like a bass guitar, a piano or percussion.
A standard MIDI
keyboard control, used
to input note
In 1978, where synthesizers were extremely popular, they were evolving to
include microprocessors, which put them on the market for those with
less money to hand.
However, The fact that every company had different methods meant that
The instruments from each company could not communicate with each other.
So if someone had lots of synth modules from different manufactures, they
could not connect together.
MIDI was created as a universal language all makes of instrument could
understand, after a meeting in January 1982 at NAMM.
HISTORY OF MIDI
MIDI information is a sequence of commands to turn on and off notes,
which are also specified. Depending on how close the on and off commands
are, the note length changes, so this also included.
The information also includes control parameters such as modulation,
panning, velocity, and expression, all of which add to the authenticity of the
MIDI can also be used to
Synchronise lighting with
You can connect MIDI controllers like keyboards, guitars, and synthesisers
using a MIDI interface, using the IN/OUT ports on the interface,
And you can connect different synthesisers, even of different brands, using
the MIDI THRU port to create what is called a “daisy chain”
CONNECTING WITH MIDI
There are 128 possible sounds for each of the 16 possible channels.
Each number 1-128 corresponds to a specific instrument.
A MIDI Sound Module is a computer-based musical instrument. Instead of
having a traditional interface like a keyboard, it is controlled electronically
through a computer.
It doesn’t produce actual musical notes like a normal instrument. Instead, it
generates electronic tones that can be altered by a computer to resemble
It can be controlled through a computer, or an external device such as a
MIDI Data Format
The majority of MIDI communication consists of multi-byte packets
beginning with a status byte followed by one or two data bytes .
Bytes are packets of 8 bits (0's or 1's). Status bytes begin with a '1' e.g. 1xxx
xxxx--this is call 'set.' Data bytes begin with a '0' e.g. 0xxx xxxx--this is called
'reset.' Each byte is surrounded by a start bit and a stop bit, making each
packet 10 bits long.
Controllers are the expressive power behind midi, allowing the artificial
input to sound like a real audio signal. Qualities of a real
recorded piece of music are things such as dynamics,
modulation, and expression. Controllers are all assigned numbers so
they can be sent via binary data – Here are some examples.
1 modulation wheel
7 main volume1
0 pan controller
64 sustain pedal
MIDI is a universal language brought about by the necessity for
communication between different MIDI enabled modules.
It works as a series of bits of binary data, allowing sounds and controls to be
MIDI is a simple alternative to a session musician or an instrument which is
difficult to record.
Controllers add expression and believability to the piece.
MIDI is still inferior to real audio, as the sounds are still the same every note.
MIDI is only a language, and does not contain ANY audio information,
making it fully programmable.