What is MIDI?
What is MIDI?
MIDI (short for Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a music industry standard communications protocol that lets MIDI instruments and sequencers (or computers running sequencer software) talk to each other to play and record music.
More and more of the music you hear every day is written with and played by MIDI sequencers.
- Compact - Hours of music can fit on a single 3 1/2" floppy disk, thousands of songs on a CD
- Efficient - Just about any computer can handle it
- Powerful - A whole orchestra is at your command
- Versatile - A click of a button is all it takes to change key, tempo, instrument, etc.
- Intuitive - a MIDI file is just an electronic version of a player piano roll for many instruments
- Portable Industry Standard - Any MIDI instrument can talk to any other
Why do I need MIDI?
- Bring your sheet music to life! Hear the music collecting dust on your shelf.
If you can hear it, you can play it!
See it play! Print out lead sheets.
Arrange with Flexibility & Control - change tempo, transpose key, isolate parts,
change feel and swing, accent, alternate lines, orchestrate
Perform & Record - Play/sing along with ensembles, duets, trios, concertos,
songs (with Lyrics)
Low Price - cheaper and easier than buying a bunch of recordings or hiring others
Easy to Use - compact, quicker than tapes. It takes only a second to start a file,
cue to a section, etc.
What do I need to play MIDI songs?
- A Multimedia Computer (PC with sound card) OR
- A Dedicated Sequencer/Synthesizer OR
- Computer connected to a Sound Module/ Keyboard by a MIDI Interface
We’ve delivered to Mac, PC compatible and Atari users and support all major
sequencers and keyboards.
Windows users can play standard MIDI files with the Media Player.
To gain all the control MIDI offers, we recommend you get a sequencer that can
mute tracks, transpose, display and print the score.
We sell a full range of sequencers and notation programs, and digital audio, too,
starting under $50, the cost of a book.
Who needs MIDI Classics?
All can use the power MIDI gives!
- Music Teachers
- Music Lovers
Try a Free Guitar MIDI
You probably already can play MIDIs.
Click to get Mauro Giuliani's lovely study,
Op 139 #3.
A new window will open and the piece will play.
Our Catalog Package Deal
2000+ piece collection now includes almost all published solo and duet guitar
works by the two greatest classical guitar composers:
Fernando Sor (complete) and
Mauro Giuliani (140+ works:
all numbered solo works and duet plus most Works without Opus)
as well as
J.S. Bach's Lute Music,
The Renaissance Guitar and
The Baroque Guitar,
Francisco Tárrega Collection,
over 718 studies including the best known of Napoleon Coste and Dionisio Aguado,
Ferdinand Carulli, Matteo Carcassi and many more.
Most works now include urtext (first edition) sheet music in PDF format
so you can print out as many copies as you need.
you can find, play and open sheet music for thousands
of well known and hard-to-get pieces at the touch of a button.
Dover let most of their public domain popular songbooks go out of print.
We thought that was a shame, so we have reissued several of them
and added MIDI karaoke sequences on CD-ROM so you can use them even if you don't
have a piano or read music. We also did some ragtime instrumentals, too.
History of MIDI
Although many people remain unfamiliar with it, the MIDI Manufacturer's
Organization released the first MIDI Specification way back in 1985,
when CDs were still new, and the only people on the Internet were government
agencies, academics, and geeks. It provided a way for hardware and software
from all different makers to talk to each other musically.
For some time into the late 90s, small one and two person bands used MIDI tracks as a
backup band. MIDI still works and provides a tremendous tool for composers to render
their works, and students to audition and practice new pieces.
The MIDI 2 Spec merged the competing XS and XG extensions and added
support for higher speed interfaces.
MIDI remains a fundamental music technology underpinning creation of
much of the music you hear.
The Gory MIDI Details
Want to know more? Learn all about MIDI here!
Official MIDI Spec - IN STOCK |
MIDI Primer | Short MIDI Spec |
Here's a short partial glossary of MIDI Terms. We recommend a great little book
called Tech Terms
for anyone involved in computer music.
- Analog to Digital converters receives a voltage or current and
output a number. DA does the reverse.
- can be used to select alternate sets of 128 instrument voices.
- all MIDI note on events have a channel number from 1 to 16.
Thus playing more than 16 simultaneous instruments requires the use of banks
(multiple MIDI interfaces)
- creates MIDI events. Can be a keyboard, drum pads, guitar,
accordion (yes!), saxophone, mouse, etc.
- typical MIDI events are Note On, Note Off, Pitch Bend, Aftertouch.
- General MIDI, a standard definition of instument patchs assignments
that allows MIDI songs to play on different systems without modification
- General MIDI 2 unites the GS and XG extensions to General MIDI.
- General Synthesizer, Roland's extension to GM, defines additional
instruments and effects (chorus, echo)
- Interconnect Cables:
The original 5 pin plus locator plug cables have been supplanted by
standard USB cables for most interfaces and devices.
- Unit used to connect various parts of a MIDI system, such as
computers, keyboards, sound modules, synch units, etc.
Interfaces can be installed on a computer bus, or connected to a USB port.
Serial (Mac) or parallel (PC printer) port interfaces are now obsolete.
- MIDI Type 0:
- Type 0 files have all data on ONE time ordered track.
(1 of 3 defined file types) This is the most widely supported and streams fastest.
- MIDI Type 1:
- Type 1 have multiple tracks.
- MIDI Type 2:
- Type 2 are pattern files. (rarely seen)
- MIDI Time Code
- record and playback MIDI data. Sequencers can be dedicated
hardware units or computer software.
- SMPTE Time Code:
- Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers
format for synchronization of video and audio. Several subformats exist.
- Sound Card:
- fits in a PC slot. Most consumer cards have a synthesizer
section, a set of stereo AD/DA converters and a MIDI interface jack on a
joystick port. Connect one to a set of powered speakers or a stereo, and you can
record and playback both MIDI and audio. (Older, obsolete sound cards fit in an
ISA slot, new ones in a PCI slot or connect via USB.)
- Sound module:
- a box that creates sounds when triggered by MIDI events.
- also creates sounds. Usually also has a keyboard attached.
- Sysex Event:
- System Exclusive events are specific to each hardware
manufacturer. Sequences usually send Sysex data before playing notes to properly
initialize the hardware.
- Extended General MIDI, Yamaha's extension to GM, defines additional
instruments and effects (reverb, chorus, variation)
MIDI Classics Guitar Sequences |
Order: 203-992-9385 Fax:860-651-4373 Tech/Overseas Voice: 1-203-992-9385
Box 311, Weatogue, CT 06089-0311 USA
Copyright © 1995, 2011, MIDI Classics®. Revised 8/6/2011