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MIDI—Music Interface

Updated 10 March 2023

This is my personal journal about MIDI. MIDI is a near universal interface for the use of electronic musical instruments. The MIDI interface is very old (in computer terms) and there is is much to learn. This journal is written for my own notes and will have limited appeal to normal readers. MIDI is best known for music performance and composition. It can also be used for much more that that in areas such as mixing, lighting, art installations, and even websites.

Korg NS5R General MIDI interface

Introduction to MIDI

The first stop on any MIDI journal is the MIDI Association. It is free to sign up and you get instant access to the MIDI specification(s) and the forum. My first read from their library is the "What is MIDI?" booklet.

Computer Chronicles - 1986 MIDI Music Special

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Extra-MIDI Notes

OpenSuse Tumbleweed

It has taken me a long time to find an off the shelf MIDI file player. On the command line, I used PMIDI. I have recently discovered the Drumstick MIDI applications for Linux and other platforms. This can be readily installed from OpenSuse.

OpenMPT (Windows)

OpenMPT logo

OpenMPT is probably best known for its ability to play Amiga MOD-style music. That is how I found out about OpenMPT. Beyond this obvious use, OpenMPT is also a powerful sequencer and is SoundFont enabled. I find it very easy to load in MIDI tracks and start hacking away. The OpenMPT workflow is not a MIDI orientated approach but it does have a few tweaks up its sleeve. The Tree View is a work of pure genius.

Sound Fonts .sf2

send midi commands to your MPC one

SendMIDI is a multi-platform command-line tool makes it very easy to quickly send MIDI messages to MIDI devices from your computer. The software is built in the JUICE library and is intended for sending CC, PRN and other messages to your MIDI-enabled equipment.

I haven't had much of a chance to give this whirl yet. I see this as the perfect solution to sending macro set up commands to my Yamaha Motif-Rack. Imagine this… large on-screen hot buttons to change effects, delays and other details on the fly. I can see this MIDI control tool improving my audio creation skills.

Besides sending CC, PRN, and other MIDI messages to your MIDI devices, SendMIDI can also be used for automation and integration purposes. You can use it to automate tasks that involve MIDI messages, such as sending MIDI program changes at specific times during a live performance, or controlling MIDI-enabled devices with scripts or other software programs. Additionally, SendMIDI can be integrated with other audio or music production tools, such as digital audio workstations (DAWs), MIDI sequencers, or hardware controllers, to enhance their functionality and streamline your workflow.

Go to SendMIDI project site.

Sound Fonts .sf2

Pneumo4 Soundfont VST player

Sound fonts were once marketed as the electronic instrumenet equivelent of a standard text font. Sound fonts have fallen our of fashion and are rarely used by the mainstream. That makes sound fonts perfectly interesting for my journal. Many retro-music platforms still give access to using soundfonts. However, VST programs are now the defactor standard for instruments in music software. There is a an old-school freeware VST program that lets one use sound fonts like any other modern instrument. The application is called Pneumo4 (Internet Archive).

Other areas to investigate