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Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Portable Keyboards

3. MIDI Explained

Musical Instrument
DigitalAll digital equipment, formats and systems represent audio in numerical code or form. Digital information is a precise way of expressing any of information that can be quantified in some way.
Digital
InterfaceA device enabling the connection of two or more devices, or types of devices. Examples include MIDI interfaces, for connecting MIDI equipment to a computer, and audio interfaces.
Interface
(MIDI) is a method of communication between electronic instruments that adhere to the standard, and also with computers via a
MIDIMIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a control language that enables electronic instruments to communicate with each other. In days gone by, if you wanted to play a sound from a given synthesiser, you had to physically play that specific synth’s keyboard - this resulted in performers being surrounded by huge arrays of keyboards.
MIDI
InterfaceA device enabling the connection of two or more devices, or types of devices. Examples include MIDI interfaces, for connecting MIDI equipment to a computer, and audio interfaces.
interface
.
MIDIMIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a control language that enables electronic instruments to communicate with each other. In days gone by, if you wanted to play a sound from a given synthesiser, you had to physically play that specific synth’s keyboard - this resulted in performers being surrounded by huge arrays of keyboards.
MIDI
messages contain information about such things as which notes are to be sounded, when, how loudly and for how long, as well as the type of sound that is to be produced, and general control and timing information. To pass these messages between
MIDIMIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a control language that enables electronic instruments to communicate with each other. In days gone by, if you wanted to play a sound from a given synthesiser, you had to physically play that specific synth’s keyboard - this resulted in performers being surrounded by huge arrays of keyboards.
MIDI
devices, specially wired
MIDIMIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a control language that enables electronic instruments to communicate with each other. In days gone by, if you wanted to play a sound from a given synthesiser, you had to physically play that specific synth’s keyboard - this resulted in performers being surrounded by huge arrays of keyboards.
MIDI
leads are used to connect together each instrument or computer’s
MIDIMIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a control language that enables electronic instruments to communicate with each other. In days gone by, if you wanted to play a sound from a given synthesiser, you had to physically play that specific synth’s keyboard - this resulted in performers being surrounded by huge arrays of keyboards.
MIDI
InterfaceA device enabling the connection of two or more devices, or types of devices. Examples include MIDI interfaces, for connecting MIDI equipment to a computer, and audio interfaces.
interface
. There are generally three connectors – In, Out and
ThruAn output connection (audio, MIDI or other signal) which echoes the signal present at a corresponding input, allowing several devices to be chained together (MIDI) or allowing affected or unaffected audio signal to be treated separately.
Thru
- and all use a 5-pin
DINA long established organisation that sets technical standards in Germany for electronic and industrial products (the Deutsche Institut für Normung). DIN standards have become accepted worldwide, the 5-pin DIN connector being adopted for MIDI, Sync and audio I/O.
DIN
socket.

MIDI Connections
  • MIDIMIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a control language that enables electronic instruments to communicate with each other. In days gone by, if you wanted to play a sound from a given synthesiser, you had to physically play that specific synth’s keyboard - this resulted in performers being surrounded by huge arrays of keyboards.
    MIDI
    In
    – this connector receives
    MIDIMIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a control language that enables electronic instruments to communicate with each other. In days gone by, if you wanted to play a sound from a given synthesiser, you had to physically play that specific synth’s keyboard - this resulted in performers being surrounded by huge arrays of keyboards.
    MIDI
    signals from other devices.

     

  • MIDIMIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a control language that enables electronic instruments to communicate with each other. In days gone by, if you wanted to play a sound from a given synthesiser, you had to physically play that specific synth’s keyboard - this resulted in performers being surrounded by huge arrays of keyboards.
    MIDI
    Out
    – this connector sends
    MIDIMIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a control language that enables electronic instruments to communicate with each other. In days gone by, if you wanted to play a sound from a given synthesiser, you had to physically play that specific synth’s keyboard - this resulted in performers being surrounded by huge arrays of keyboards.
    MIDI
    signals to other devices.

     

  • MIDIMIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a control language that enables electronic instruments to communicate with each other. In days gone by, if you wanted to play a sound from a given synthesiser, you had to physically play that specific synth’s keyboard - this resulted in performers being surrounded by huge arrays of keyboards.
    MIDI
    Thru
    - this connector provides a relay of the
    MIDIMIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a control language that enables electronic instruments to communicate with each other. In days gone by, if you wanted to play a sound from a given synthesiser, you had to physically play that specific synth’s keyboard - this resulted in performers being surrounded by huge arrays of keyboards.
    MIDI
    signals received at the
    MIDIMIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a control language that enables electronic instruments to communicate with each other. In days gone by, if you wanted to play a sound from a given synthesiser, you had to physically play that specific synth’s keyboard - this resulted in performers being surrounded by huge arrays of keyboards.
    MIDI
    In port so that a number of
    MIDIMIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a control language that enables electronic instruments to communicate with each other. In days gone by, if you wanted to play a sound from a given synthesiser, you had to physically play that specific synth’s keyboard - this resulted in performers being surrounded by huge arrays of keyboards.
    MIDI
    devices can be chained together.

Unlike an
AudioGenerally used to mean "sound"; technically it describes periodic fluctuations of air pressure or electrical energy at frequencies and amplitudes within the human range of hearing; sound, or electrical energy that represents sound; acoustic, mechanical, or electrical frequencies corresponding to normally audible sound waves.
audio
lead that passes sound from an instrument to a
ConsoleA device through which audio signals are routed for mixing, monitoring, processing and re-routed for either recording, amplification or both. A console contains a number of channel strips and a selection of auxiliary, monitoring and main outputs.
mixer
or speaker,
MIDIMIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a control language that enables electronic instruments to communicate with each other. In days gone by, if you wanted to play a sound from a given synthesiser, you had to physically play that specific synth’s keyboard - this resulted in performers being surrounded by huge arrays of keyboards.
MIDI
leads pass
MIDIMIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a control language that enables electronic instruments to communicate with each other. In days gone by, if you wanted to play a sound from a given synthesiser, you had to physically play that specific synth’s keyboard - this resulted in performers being surrounded by huge arrays of keyboards.
MIDI
messages used to represent music. Try thinking of
MIDIMIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a control language that enables electronic instruments to communicate with each other. In days gone by, if you wanted to play a sound from a given synthesiser, you had to physically play that specific synth’s keyboard - this resulted in performers being surrounded by huge arrays of keyboards.
MIDI
messages as instructions such as ‘start playing middle C’, ‘stop playing A3’, or ‘select your piano sound’. Each of these instructions can be sent via up to 16 independent
MIDIMIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a control language that enables electronic instruments to communicate with each other. In days gone by, if you wanted to play a sound from a given synthesiser, you had to physically play that specific synth’s keyboard - this resulted in performers being surrounded by huge arrays of keyboards.
MIDI
channels down a single
MIDIMIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a control language that enables electronic instruments to communicate with each other. In days gone by, if you wanted to play a sound from a given synthesiser, you had to physically play that specific synth’s keyboard - this resulted in performers being surrounded by huge arrays of keyboards.
MIDI
cable, allowing sets of instruments (e.g. drums,
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
, piano etc) to be played simultaneously.
MIDIMIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a control language that enables electronic instruments to communicate with each other. In days gone by, if you wanted to play a sound from a given synthesiser, you had to physically play that specific synth’s keyboard - this resulted in performers being surrounded by huge arrays of keyboards.
MIDI
can also carry other ‘metadata’ such as the instrument names for each channel, the
KeyAn additional input on a dynamics processor such as a compressor or noise gate, enabling the dynamics of one signal to control the level of another. This can be used for many functions, including ducking (compressing a music signal when a DJ or announcer speaks), synchronised gating, and (in conjunction with an equaliser) de-essing.
key
signature, lyrics and copyright information.

The upshot of all this is that by representing music as
MIDIMIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a control language that enables electronic instruments to communicate with each other. In days gone by, if you wanted to play a sound from a given synthesiser, you had to physically play that specific synth’s keyboard - this resulted in performers being surrounded by huge arrays of keyboards.
MIDI
information, it can be easily edited, adjusted, and played back on different sounds, or even on entirely different instruments, all of which will come into its own once we start to discuss the auto-accompaniment and song writing facilities of portable keyboards.

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