MIDI is an abbreviation for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. It was invented in the 1980s and is a protocol that allows computers and electronic musical instruments to communicate with each other. When you press a key on your music keyboard, you generate MIDI messages that tell which key was pressed, how much pressure was used for it, etc. All these messages are sent to your computer and recorded as a MIDI file. Programs suitable for working with midi files are often capable of translating a midi file into notes and notes into midi files.
Example: Recording your music keyboard performance to computer and editing the data. Edited data can be played back on the keyboard again. See picture below.
A USB cable has much higher bandwidth than a MIDI cable, which means a single USB cable can support 16 virtual MIDI ports. Many modern MIDI keyboards and controllers now come with a USB-MIDI port as well as traditional MIDI ports. This means that you can now plug your MIDI device directly into your computer with a USB Cable without requiring an interface at all. For many situations, all you need is an inexpensive MIDI controller keyboard (without internal sounds), with a USB connection to the computer.
Buy a keyboard first
Even if you can’t play the piano, we recommend that you buy a music keyboard with midi connection (input output). Why? Because once you’ve got one, your computer setup instantly becomes more musical. With a midi keyboard things instantly start to get more enjoyable.
MIDI channels are a bit like channels on your TV set. A channel is a separate path over which midi messages travel to their destination. There are 16 channels per MIDI device and each channel plays different instrument and each channel has its independent volume, panning, and other settings.
General MIDI Patches Or Sounds
|0||Acoustic Grand||32||Acoustic Bass||64||Soprano Sax||96||FX 1 (rain)|
|1||Bright Acoustic||33||Electric Bass(finger)||65||Alto Sax||97||FX 2 (soundtrack)|
|2||Electric Grand||34||Electric Bass(pick)||66||Tenor Sax||98||FX 3 (crystal)|
|3||Honky-Tonk||35||Fretless Bass||67||Baritone Sax||99||FX 4 (atmosphere)|
|4||Electric Piano 1||36||Slap Bass 1||68||Oboe||100||FX 5 (brightness)|
|5||Electric Piano 2||37||Slap Bass 2||69||English Horn||101||FX 6 (goblins)|
|6||Harpsichord||38||Synth Bass 1||70||Bassoon||102||FX 7 (echoes)|
|7||Clav||39||Synth Bass 2||71||Clarinet||103||FX 8 (sci-fi)|
|12||Marimba||44||Tremolo Strings||76||Blown Bottle||108||Kalimba|
|14||Tubular Bells||46||Orchestral Harp||78||Whistle||110||Fiddle|
|16||Drawbar Organ||48||String Ensemble 1||80||Lead 1 (square)||112||Tinkle Bell|
|17||Percussive Organ||49||String Ensemble 2||81||Lead 2 (sawtooth)||113||Agogo|
|18||Rock Organ||50||SynthStrings 1||82||Lead 3 (calliope)||114||Steel Drums|
|19||Church Organ||51||SynthStrings 2||83||Lead 4 (chiff)||115||Woodblock|
|20||Reed Organ||52||Choir Aahs||84||Lead 5 (charang)||116||Taiko Drum|
|21||Accordion||53||Voice Oohs||85||Lead 6 (voice)||117||Melodic Tom|
|22||Harmonica||54||Synth Voice||86||Lead 7 (fifths)||118||Synth Drum|
|23||Tango Accordion||55||Orchestra Hit||87||Lead 8 (bass+lead)||119||Reverse Cymbal|
|24||Acoustic Guitar(nylon)||56||Trumpet||88||Pad 1 (new age)||120||Guitar Fret Noise|
|25||Acoustic Guitar(steel)||57||Trombone||89||Pad 2 (warm)||121||Breath Noise|
|26||Electric Guitar(jazz)||58||Tuba||90||Pad 3 (polysynth)||122||Seashore|
|27||Electric Guitar(clean)||59||Muted Trumpet||91||Pad 4 (choir)||123||Bird Tweet|
|28||Electric Guitar(muted)||60||French Horn||92||Pad 5 (bowed)||124||Telephone Ring|
|29||Overdriven Guitar||61||Brass Section||93||Pad 6 (metallic)||125||Helicopter|
|30||Distortion Guitar||62||SynthBrass 1||94||Pad 7 (halo)||126||Applause|
|31||Guitar Harmonics||63||SynthBrass 2||95||Pad 8 (sweep)||127||Gunshot|
General MIDI (GM)
Standard MIDI Files “SMF” or *.mid files are a popular source of music for the musicians performing live who need a little extra accompaniment. The files contain all the MIDI instructions for notes, volumes and sounds etc. The files are loaded into music keyboard and the final sound is then produced by amplifier that is connected with the keyboard. One reason for the popularity of MIDI files is that, unlike digital audio files (.wav, mp3 etc.) a MIDI file does not store actual sounds. Instead, the MIDI file is just a list of events which describe the specific steps that a soundcard or music keyboard must take to generate certain sounds. MIDI files are very much smaller than digital audio files, and the events are also editable, allowing the music to be rearranged, edited and composed interactively, if desired. A specific MIDI file can depend on how well it was created, and how accurately your keyboard synthesizer plays the file. Sometimes different synthesizers produce different voice.
A standard was set for 128 patches or sounds which must appear in a specific order, and this standard is called General MIDI (GM). In General MIDI, program sound 1 gives you an “Acoustic Grand Piano” sound on any General MIDI synthesizer. In the same way in General MIDI, program sound 127 gives you a “Gunshot” sound.
In the beginning, there were not very many tones on a keyboard; you might be lucky to buy a keyboard with 5 – 20 tones. GM (general midi) keyboards came first. In a GM midi 128 melodic tones and a single drum kit were not enough to contain all the different instrument sounds and types of drum sounds in a music keyboard synthesizer. So the manufacturers began looking into ways to extend the GM standard. In particular, Yamaha created an extension of GM that they called XG, and Roland created an extension of their own that they called GS. Obviously, for the compatibility, it is best to have a keyboard that can reliably play back all GM, XG and GS standards midi files.
Standard MIDI Files (SMF)
Standard MIDI Files allow musicians with completely different types of computers or sequencers to exchange MIDI sequences. There are two types of standard midi file formats:
Midi format 0 and Midi format 1
On a midi format 0 all MIDI channels are combined into one track and in midi format 1 each track is kept separate.