Tuesday, August 30, 2011

THE ART OF Electronic Music Production – MIDI- An Introduction

THE ART OF Electronic Music Production – MIDI- An Introduction

The new age man has developed his taste and ear for music in tune with the technological advancement and progression involved in music production. This stems from the fact that whenever he is stumbles on something new, he is always excited by the native reason that he has discovered something new, crediting his subtleties of the senses and his power of reasoning.

To start with, I honestly attempt to share a few things about a basic, major and an innovative aspect of Electronic Music Production known as MIDI. MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. This factor forms the basis on which Electronic Music Instruments such as Keyboards were devised or invented. Electricity has enlightened our lives by means of various inventions which has made life easier and comfortable. This Electronic revolution has created a profound impact on the Music and the Creative aspects of Music Production.

These Electronic instruments are capable of simulating sounds almost similar to that of acoustic real instruments. Though they cannot replace the exact timbre and resonance of an acoustic instrument , they extend support to Musicians to pre – Visualize or preview what they have composed. For example , A music composer has composed a sequence or a Background score for a particular requirement. Let us take for example a duet song. Using this concept of MIDI he can preview how his music will sound or be heard if played by acoustic real instruments. This allows him to experiment various types of orchestration for a particular song / musical work. The technological advancements substitute the hard work presence and functioning of a live orchestral setup. On the contrary to a popular scholar's statement : “The Scientific progress is nothing but a nuisance in exchange of another” the art of composing has been simplified using MIDI.

With the invention of Keyboards, men have been exposed to Electronic Music and increasinly made familiar in deciphering its intricacies.

The keyboard is made of two basic sections -:
1The Section with the keys – called the keyboard
2)The section with the tones known as the Tone generator or the tone module.

These two sections can exist together and when they exist separately one can have only keys (which can be used only for remote controlling) or only sounds which cannot be utilized without a controller. The remote control / controller is a device that allows a musician to control one or more other musical instruments when he plays a single instrument. This allows a musician to thicken or Layera musical part by including sounds of several instruments playing in perfect unison. This facilitates a composer who has only two hands to play 5 or more instruments at once.

MIDIis a digital language in a binary form which can be edited
recorded and manipulated through the use of CPU technology. This hardware and software allowed midi messages to be recorded, edited like one would edit text on a word processor, and played back at a later time.

Types of Channel Messages utilized in MIDI-:

Channel Voice Messages are directly connected with the music being recorded and played. Some of them are as follows -:

# Note on – When a musician presses and holds down a key on a Keyboard, it not only causes to sound the musical note but also generates a Note on Message

# Note off -: When a musician releases the key it not only stops the sounding of the musical note but also generates a Note off message.

Polyphonic after touch -: This message refers to the amount of pressure placed on the key at the bottom of its travel. It is used to create effects based on how much the player leans onto the key after pressing it.It is used to apply performance parameters such as 'Vibrato'.

There are many such messages which aid the process of simulating the sounds of acoustic real instruments (which would require lengthy explanations). Thus would like to proceed with the next important concept of MIDI which is that MIDI Note Numbers.

A MIDI controller (be it a piano like keyboard ,a MIDI Guitar, and a MIDI Drum kit) can have upto 128 distinctive pitches / notes. The MIDI devices assign a unique number to each key which is used for processing and manipulating the MIDI data. The numbers used are from 0 to 127.Therefore, theoretically, a MIDI Controller can have 128 Keys.

A hardware requirement for connecting a midi device to a computer is called as a MIDI interface. In other words, this is a device that acts as a translator between the MIDI device and the PC.

# GENERAL MIDI - is a defined set of Patches ( Instrument sounds) incorporated to make sound modules more compatible. This standard set was devised for 128 patches which must appear in a specific order predefined by GM. The patches are arranged into 16 families of Instruments with each family containing 8 instruments. For example, there is a reed family, and so on. The Saxophone, Oboe and clarinet are among the 8 instruments present.

----------------------------------- TO BE CONTINUED IN NEXT ARTICLE.


  1. Great Blog Brother!!! All the best Wishes!!!

    - Sarath Giri

  2. Great one sir! I loved reading it! Language is lucid and flowing!

    Best Wishes and Regards sir.