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What Is MIDI?

May is #MIDI month! The MIDI Association has dedicated May 2018 to getting the word out about MIDI. Are you familiar with MIDI? What does it have to do with scenes line the one pictured above or the concert hall? At Perennial, we are pleased to introduce MIDI to those of you who aren't quite sure.

First, please listen to the music in the video below. What do you hear? What instruments do you hear? What kind of expression? Does it feel like "real" music to you? What are your impressions?

Are you surprised to learn that the sounds you just listened to were all synthesized and created by created inside a computer? This is Hans Zimmer's demo that he created for the epic orchestral score for 2014's Interstellar. What secret technology did he use to create this moving piece soundscape? MIDI.

So, Let's Meet MIDI​...


MIDI is an acronym, standing for "Musical Instrument Digital Interface."​ It has been the standard of the music industry since its inception in 1983. It connects software, hardware, and digital musical instruments from various manufacturers and allows them to effectively "talk" to one another. It is used commercial music (i.e. EDM), art music (electro-acoustic), film and tv scoring, as well as live performances. MIDI is more than just for music and audio creation performance; it is also used to control lights and video in live performance that occurs in real-time, meaning live, right before your eyes.


The story of MIDI first began in the early 1980s. While some manufacturers had invented ways for their equipment to synchronize with others in the same brand, there was not yet a standard that enabled electronic music instruments of various brands and types (such as synthesizers, drum machines, samplers, turntables, etc.) to synchronize with one another. This proved a problem for both manufacturers and music creators as the new world of digital synthesizers made the idea of synchronization a reality.