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MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface),

MIDI: a protocol that enables computer, synthesizers, keyboards, and other musical
device to communicate with each other.

MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface), pronounced /ˈmɪdi/, is an industry-


standard protocol defined in 1982[1] that enables electronic musical instruments, such as
keyboard controllers, computers and other electronic equipment, to communicate and
also to control and synchronize with each other. MIDI
allows computers, synthesizers, MIDI controllers,sound cards, samplers and drum
machines to control one another, and to exchange system data. MIDI does not transmit an
audio signal or media — it transmits event messages such as the pitch and intensity of
musical notes to play, control signals for parameters such as
volume, vibrato and panning, cues, and clock signals to set the tempo. As an electronic
protocol, it is notable for its widespread adoption throughout the music industry.

All MIDI compatible controllers, musical instruments, and MIDI-compatible


software follow the same MIDI 1.0 specification, and thus interpret any given MIDI
message the same way, and so can communicate with and understand each other. MIDI
composition and arrangement takes advantage of MIDI 1.0 and General MIDI
(GM) technology to allow musical data files to be shared among many different files due
to some incompatibility with various electronic instruments by using a standard, portable
set of commands and parameters. Because the music is stored as instructions rather than
recorded audio waveforms, the data size of the files is quite small by comparison.
Individual MIDI files can be traced through their own individual key code. This key code
was established in early 1994 to combat piracy within the sharing of .mid files.

By the end of the 1970s, electronic musical devices were becoming increasingly common
and affordable. However, devices from different manufacturers were generally not
compatible with each other and could not be interconnected. Different interfacing models
included analog control voltages at various standards (such as 1 volt per octave, or the
logarithmic "hertz per volt"); analog clock, trigger and "gate" signals (both positive "V-
trig" and negative "S-trig" varieties, between −15V to +15V); and proprietary digital
interfaces such as Roland Corporation'sDCB (digital control bus), the Oberheim system,
and Yamaha's "keycode" system.

Interfaces

MIDI connector diagram

The original physical MIDI connection uses DIN 5/180° connectors. Opto-
isolating connections are used, to prevent ground loops occurring among connected MIDI
devices.
The MIDI transceivers physically and logically separate the input and output lines,
meaning that MIDI messages received by a device in the network not intended for that
device must be re-transmitted on the output line (MIDI-OUT) by means of a "soft
through". This can introduce a delay, one that is long enough to become musically
significant on larger MIDI chains.
MIDI-THRU ports started to be added to MIDI-compatible equipment soon after the
introduction of MIDI, in order to improve performance. The MIDI-THRU port avoids the
aforementioned retransmission delay by linking the MIDI-THRU port to the MIDI-IN
socket almost directly. The difference between the MIDI-OUT and MIDI-THRU ports is
that data coming from the MIDI-OUT port has been generated on the device containing
that port. Data that comes out of a device's MIDI-THRU port, however, is an exact
duplicate of the data received at the MIDI-IN port.

File formats
[edit]Standard MIDI (.mid or .smf)
MIDI messages (along with timing information) can be collected and stored in
a computer file system, in what is commonly called a MIDI file, or more formally, a
Standard MIDI File (SMF). The SMF specification was developed by, and is maintained
by, the MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA). MIDI files are typically created using
computer-based sequencing software (or sometimes a hardware-based MIDI instrument
or workstation) that organizes MIDI messages into one or more parallel "tracks" for
independent recording and editing. In most sequencers, each track is assigned to a
specific MIDI channel and/or a specific instrument patch; if the attached music
synthesizer has a known instrument palette (for example because it conforms to
the General MIDI standard), then the instrument for each track may be selected by name.
Although most current MIDI sequencer software uses proprietary "session file" formats
rather than SMF, almost all sequencers provide export or "Save As..." support for the
SMF format.
An SMF consists of one header chunk and one or more track chunks. There exist three
different SMF formats; the format of a given SMF is specified in its file header. A
Format 0 file contains a single track and represents a single song performance. Format 1
may contain any number of tracks, enabling preservation of the sequencer track structure,
and also represents a single song performance. Format 2 may have any number of tracks,
each representing a separate song performance. Sequencers do not commonly support
Format 2. Large collections of SMFs can be found on the web, most commonly with
the extension .mid but occasionally with the .smf. These files are most frequently
authored with the (rather dubious) assumption that they will be only ever be played
on General MIDI players.

Components of a MIDI System

Synthesizer:

• It is a sound generator (various pitch, loudness, tone colour).


• A good (musician's) synthesizer often has a microprocessor, keyboard, control
panels, memory, etc.

Sequencer:
• It can be a stand-alone unit or a software program for a personal computer. (It used
to be a storage server for MIDI data. Nowadays it is more a software music
editor on the computer.
• It has one or more MIDI INs and MIDI OUTs.

Track:

• Track in sequencer is used to organize the recordings.


• Tracks can be turned on or off on recording or playing back.

Channel:

• MIDI channels are used to separate information in a MIDI system.


• There are 16 MIDI channels in one cable.
• Channel numbers are coded into each MIDI message.

Timbre:

• The quality of the sound, e.g., flute sound, cello sound, etc.
• Multitimbral - capable of playing many different sounds at the same time (e.g.,
piano, brass, drums, etc.)

Pitch:

• musical note that the instrument plays

Voice:

• Voice is the portion of the synthesizer that produces sound.


• Synthesizers can have many (12, 20, 24, 36, etc.) voices.
• Each voice works independently and simultaneously to produce sounds of
different timbre and pitch.

Patch:

• the control settings that define a particular timbre.