by moodyharsh 2016-04-27

MIDI changed music.

Consider what a Classically trained Musician needs to do, to make his
music heard.

He needs to,

  1. Write it
  2. Get a bunch of musicians
  3. Practice
  4. Play
  5. goto 1
  6. Record the Final Cut in a Studio

With MIDI,

  1. Write it. Save it, with a Software
  2. Get the electronic instruments to play it for him
    Get a computer Software to play it for him
  3. Tweak
  4. Record the Final Cut in Software or a Studio

MIDI is – Musical Instrument Digital Interface.

It abstracts Music Notation into bytes.
Since its just bytes, you can replay it with Software.

MIDI made production,

  • Dirt Cheap
  • Made Producers more efficient

How about Audio Quality ?

  • A Classical Ensemble still has its place. Panning is very unique there.
  • But MIDI + Electronic Instrument increased the Range.
    It helped form whole new genres in Music like EDM, IDM, SynthPunk …

Limitations ?

  • MIDI is limited to 16 instruments.
  • Integers.
  • 16 is a big number.
  • OSC overcomes these.


To use MIDI you need two things,

  1. A Sequencer

    This generates MIDI messages like,

    Command param1 param2 param3
    Command param1 param2
    Command param1 param2 param3
    Command param1 param2

    Important messages are,

    1. Note On => Channel [1-16]**, Pitch[0-127], Volume[0-127]
    2. Note Off “
    3. Controller => No [0-127], Value[0-127]

    ** Channel 10 is reserved for Drums.

    Note On and Note Off are typically sent by keys, buttons.
    Controller Messages are typically sent by knobs and pedals.

  2. A Synthesizer

    This accepts MIDI data.
    It Maps channels to DSP.
    It Maps knobs** to effects like distortion and reverb.

    ** The positions of the knob are called patches.

  3. A Sampler.

    This accepts MIDI data.
    It Maps channels to sound recordings.
    It Maps knobs to effects like distortion and reverb.

If you buy Music Hardware you have both 1 and 2.

But usually the sequencing capabilities are limited in a synth.
So you can’t Edit MIDI data in the instrument.

Some notes,

  1. You can buy hardware and get a Synthesizer + a limited Sequencer.

  2. You can buy A Sequencer and use a Computer as a Synthesizer


  1. Use a Software Sequencer to Program your Synthesizer


  1. Forget Hardware and go complete nuts with Software

Recommended Software

FL Studio
Garage Band
Renoise – I have this, recommended for Demoscene lovers.

  • You can shop for VST, AU which are DSP made in software.

  • The above Softwares come with sane defaults and don’t require a Hardware Synth,
    to make sounds.

  • A popular sequencer notation developed by Softwares is called Piano Roll

  • FL Studio comes a Step Sequencer, which is very useful for beat making.

SooperLooper - A very unique software which can help you in loop driven music.

Recording Software

Audio Hi-Jack

Recommended Sequencers

Akai MPK49

Recommended Samplers

Akai MPC*
Korg Microsampler

Recommended Synths

Novation Mininova
Korg microKorg
Electribe – I have this.


Midi Pipe

The Legendary Moog sound,

Also, Robots love it.