MIDI Notes

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General points about MIDI
Acronym for Musical Instrument Digital Interface
Was made in 1983
It was made so that synthesisers and other equipment could communicate efficiently
It was made standard by the AES (Audio Engineering Society)
Virtually all keyboards and synthesisers have MIDI built in
Uses a 5-pin DIN (
Deutsches Institut für Normung ­ don't need to know this) connector
Three types of connection usage:
-MIDI In (input the MIDI signal into the device)
-MIDI Out (output of the MIDI signal to go to a different device)
-MIDI Thru (to daisy-chain, or link up, devices, diagram here)
Note on/off is when, for example, you press a key on a MIDI controller (like in the MIDI suite), or a
synthesiser connected via MIDI, and the note sounds through a different device (like a computer), and this is
known as the note being ON . When you release the key, and the note stops sounding, this is known as note OFF .
Also, there must be a capability to also hold up to 128 different notes and velocities. This is known as Data 1 and
Data 1 ­ NOTE (Where Middle C = #60, as a standard, from values 1-128)
Data 2 ­ VELOCITY (How fast you depress the key, and often linked to how loud the note will sound)
Different types of MIDI message (remember these)
o Notes on/off
-Whether the note is depressed or not
o Controller
-E.G. CC 7 (is volume)
o Pitch Bend
o Program Change (NOT Program ME )
-Changing the Program/instrument/sound your using (like switching from a violin to a piano)
o Poly pressure (polyphonic aftertouch)
-When pressing the key harder after you've depressed it it, vibrato/expression/volume can be programed in to
o After touch (not always included)
-Same as above , but individual notes' pressure can't be individually changed, or it changes all of them at
once .
o System Exclusive
-A type of programing language specific to the device you are using that is NOT standard of MIDI. All of the
above specs are a STANDARD of MIDI, meaning all machines with MIDI will have these parameters. System
Exclusive (or SysEx) is the only parameter that can be modified by the manufacturer so that the device has its
own data language .

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Some more information on MIDI
Remember the fact that MIDI data can have 128 different values, or steps, like velocity? Well some
parameters can have more than this, and so things like pitch bend can have a lot more values than this, in fact
128 times more values than 0-127.
So for a pitch bend to sound smooth, the 0-127 steps do not sound smooth enough for a decent pitch
bend.…read more

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