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What is MIDI?

MIDI Plug 8655 bytes

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.

MIDI is:

Why do I need MIDI?

What do I need to play MIDI songs?

Who needs MIDI Classics?

All can use the power MIDI gives!

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 MIDI Guitar Library

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, Frederick Noad's 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.

With our HTML Player you can find, play and open sheet music for thousands of well known and hard-to-get pieces at the touch of a button.

Our MIDI Popular Song Library

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 | MIDI Tidbits

MIDI Tidbits

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)

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