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.
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ABOUT MIDI & COPYRIGHT|
©, 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.
MIDI Trouble On The Net
What Is MIDI ?
If you are a beginner, you may wish to start by reading this. It was the first article posted on
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.
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.
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.
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