MIDI Information Page

There are more than 2 million sites which use MIDI and a very small number of these sites that care about their use. We need and welcome your participation in the fight to save the MIDI.
You Can make a difference !!
Many MIDI sites, are being threatened and closed due to MIDI Trouble On The Net.

Please help save FREE music on the Net by visiting these sites and participating or doing whatever you can. And please consider joining the newsgroup.

Let The Music Play: Join EFF Today

Thank You !
Music Relief Association

Copyright, and Information Sources

, or C,  indicates the file or sequence is copyrighted. A sequence can be copyrighted, or a song can be copyrighted. In any case, you should get permission to post that file.
Do not take other peoples work and alter it. Do not eliminate tracks or other information contained within files, that are not yours. And if you have created the sequence, please include some type of self reference. Preferably, E-Mail.
Help keep MIDI formats honest.

MIDI Trouble On The Net

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Read Dean Macy's Original letter

What Is MIDI ?
If you are a beginner, you may wish to start by reading this. It was the first article posted on
About.com's MP3.Com, back in February of 1997, and it is still popular.

*I have had the following information for quite some time. It was previously posted on another site. I have edited this information for length. It is based on an article from
The Online Digital Music Newsletter

You may have heard that MIDI is an acronym for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. MIDI is basically a standard way for various electronic musical instruments to interact with each other. For example, if you have a MIDI-capable keyboard, you can connect it to a drum machine and trigger the drum sounds using the keyboard. You could even connect up two or more keyboards and play them all simultaneously.

The reason you are able to hear MIDI tunes through your computer is that you have a MIDI-capable sound card inside the machine. Most sound cards these days are capable of playing MIDI files, but some do a much better job than others (more on that later).

A MIDI file (or "sequence") is created by entering notes with a MIDI device. Usually this is a keyboard, but there are adapters which allow MIDI notes to be entered with a guitar or other instrument. Unlike digital audio files, MIDI files do not contain actual recorded music. Instead, the music sequence is recorded as a series of numbers which explain how the music is to be played back. For example, to reproduce the sound of a piano playing a C note, the MIDI sequence contains digital information which says " this is a piano sound." Another number says "a note has been played," other numbers convey information such as "the note is middle C," "the key was struck very softly," "the sostenuto pedal was pressed," "the note has now stopped," etc.

An easy, if somewhat oversimplified way to explain a MIDI file is to compare it to an old-fashioned player piano roll. Player pianos use rolls of paper with perforations which correspond to the notes to be played. A player piano roll contains the musical information needed to play back a particular song, but it is useless without a player piano.
Likewise, MIDI sequences must be played back on another MIDI device. This is the major disadvantage MIDI has in relation to digital audio. A sequence recorded on a Roland synthesizer will not sound quite the same when played back on a Yamaha. The biggest differences are encountered when playing sequences on a home computer.

Sound cards use one of two methods to play back MIDI notes--wavetable sampling or FM synthesis. Cheaper sound cards and most older sound cards use FM synthesis to reproduce the sounds of the various instruments used in the MIDI sequence. That is, they approximate the sounds by using a built-in synthesizer. The results are very "synthetic" indeed.
Wavetable sound cards, on the other hand, contain digitally-recorded pieces, or "samples" of real instruments. The manufacturer of the sound card actually records a real piano to serve as the piano sound. Since most sound cards can reproduce the sounds of at least 128 different instruments, the sampling process is very critical and time-consuming.

MIDI files, do not contain actual audio. Instead, the music sequence is recorded as a series of numbers which explain how the music is to be played back. The advantage is that MIDI files are very small, but the sound is totally dependent on the output device (usually the sound card in the computer).

MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, and was first introduced in 1983. This is not actually an audio format, but rather a protocol by which various electronic musical instruments, including sound cards in computers, connect to and interact with each other. However, many people use the term "MIDI" to refer to files (sequences) produced by MIDI devices. Unlike the following audio formats, MIDI files do not actually contain music recordings, but rather a set of instructions on how to play a tune. Think of a piano roll, which contains the information on how to play a piece, but can't produce music without a player piano.

As mentioned before, the main disadvantage of MIDI is that the quality of playback is dependent on the playback device (sound card or synthesizer). A MIDI sequence that sounds great on a high-end card may sound terrible on a cheap one. Also, MIDI is for instrumentals only, not vocals. Most MIDI sequencing programs such as Cakewalk and Cubase can combine MIDI with digital audio so that vocals or non-MIDI instruments can be incorporated. However, these are all proprietary formats, so if you record such a file with Cakewalk the tune can be played back only with Cakewalk.

Server Settings
MIME type = audio/midi or audio/x-midi
action = binary
suffix = .mid
type = midi

MIDI files are not technically audio files and can be played only on a MIDI device such as a synthesizer or through a computer's sound card. There are programs that can convert MIDI to WAV or MP3. Actually, there are are several software programs for converting MIDI to WAV; the best-known are WAVmaker and AudioCompositor. Both use software synthesizers, so the resulting WAV file won't always sound quite the same as the MIDI file played through your soundcard. WAVmaker is a rather complex commercial program; the demo version won't work for anything but the included examples. The shareware AudioCompositor works quite well if you have a good SoundFont to load into it. (SoundBlaster Live! and many other cards use SoundFonts. These are files ending in .sf2).

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