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Basic Understanding of the Musical Instrument Digital Interface

Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) is a technical standard describing a protocol, connectors, and digital interface that allow electronic instruments to communicate with other digital musical tools. It is not music, it doesn't contain any actual sounds, and it is not a digital music file format like WAV or MP3. The purpose of MIDI is to send a series of messages, for instance, "note off," "note/pitch," etc. Such messages are sent to a MIDI instrument to produce sound. Many things can be a MIDI instrument, including a piece of hardware (synthesizer, electronic keyboard) or a certain software environment (GarageBand, Ableton, digital performer, etc.).

MIDI has many advantages, including:

  • Compact. It only requires a few hundred of messages to restore a full song;
  • Easy to modify notes. It is easy to change duration, pitch, and other parameters without rerecording;
  • Change instruments. You can send the notes to any instrument because MIDI only describe them.

An electronic keyboard is most often used to generate MIDI messages that may be routed to a digital synthesizer, or they may be patched to other MIDI instrument, for instance, a PC.

There are several MIDI messages, including:

  • Note On. It signals that a note has been played or a key has been pressed. This message includes the information on the key that was pressed and at what velocity;
  • Note Off. It signals that the note is done playing or the key has been released;
  • Polyphonic Key Pressure. It is a measurement of how hard a key is pressed;
  • Control Change. It indicates that a controller has been turned or pressed;
  • Pitch Wheel Change. It signals about bending the pitch of the note with the keyboard's pitch wheel.

If MIDI is used to record music onto a PC, the software saves the list of instructions and messages as a.MID file. If you use such a file on an electronic keyboard, it will play a key with a certain velocity as well as hold it for a specified amount of time before taking another note..MID can be played on any electronic device that comes with synthesizer software. Cell phones use such files to play ringtones. MIDI files are great for karaoke machines because they allow to change pitch easily for different vocal ranges.

It is worth mentioning that each.MID file will sound a bit different on each device, this happens due to different audio sources.

MIDI files do not contain sampled audio like WAV or MP3 files, so they are comparatively smaller than audio files.

Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) is a technical standard describing a protocol, connectors, and digital interface that allow electronic instruments to communicate with other digital musical tools. It is not music, it doesn't contain any actual sounds, and it is not a digital music file format like WAV or MP3.

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Assignment ID
100001789
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CREATED ON
September 25, 2016
COMPLETED ON
September 26, 2016
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$43
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