What does MIDI stand for? 

  • Musical Instrument Digital Interface

What is MIDI?

  • A system that allows electronic instruments and computers to send instructions to each other
  • (0’s and 1’s) represent voltages

When was MIDI standardized?

  • August 1983

What is a MIDI controller? 

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  1. Sends input signals from the controller to the computer 
  2. Akai pad controller, Roland foot controller, Oxygen 61 keyboard 

What are the 3 MIDI ports?

  1. In – incoming data
  2. Thru – duplicate data
  3. Out – outgoing data 

What is daisy chaining? 

  • Attaching multiple MIDI controllers to one computer using the Thru port 
  • Will have master controller and a slave 

What’s the difference between serial and parallel protocols?;

Name an extra-musical example…

  • Serial: MIDI data is sent down the cable one bit at a time as a stream of info;
  • Parallel: allows the information to be sent down seperate wires so the message reaches the device at the same time – faster than serial interface
  • Example: Computer chips use parallel interface

What are some benefits of using MIDI? (only need 2);

  1. Once MIDI device can control another
  2. Create rich musical textures by layering sounds from multiple MIDI defices;
  3. Allows you to fix mistakes, change not pitches, fix timing, etc.;
  4. Instant playback of prerecorded music;

How many channels can a MIDI controller communicate with?;

  • 16 channels;

How do you send a “note on” command?

How do you send a “note off” command?;

  1. When you press a key, the “note on” message goes to the module
  2. When you let go of a key, the “note off” message is sent to the module and it stops playing the note;

What is piano roll notation?;

  • A view where the keys of the piano are shown on screen and every note played is displayed for the time it is pressed;

What are some elements of a sound that can be affected by MIDI?


  • Pitch
  • Volume
  • Velocity
  • Timbre
  • Vibrato;

What’s the difference between a note’s volume and it’s velocity

  • Velocity = associated with the initial strike of the key (fast=loud, slow=soft) 
  • Volume – can be added at any point

What is the name of the relationship between the device that generates the commands and the device(s) that recieves the commands?

  • Master – sends commands 
  • Slave – recieves commands