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MIDI—Music Interface

Updated 15 September 2022

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

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