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Black MIDI is a type of music using the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) technical standard to create compositions with large numbers of notes. The name “black MIDI” refers to the solid black appearance of the music in standard notation and those who compose black MIDI tracks are referred to as “blackers.”
According to the Impossible Music Wiki, YouTuber kakakakaito1998 created the original compositions utilized by a group of blackers known as the Black MIDI Team. On February 6th, 2011, kakakakaito1998 uploaded a video featuring a MIDI track containing a high volume of notes (shown below). Within the first three years, the video gained over 100,000 views and 290 comments.
On October 3rd, 2011, YouTuber John L. Sinneslöschen uploaded a black MIDI for the song “Red Zone” from the Japanese music rhythm game Beatmania IIDC (shown below, left). On August 11th, 2012, YouTuber Ryan Moua published his black MIDI version of the song “Necrofantasia” from the video game Touhou Project (shown below, right).
On March 13th, 2013, YouTuber RetoUnivrsalHT uploaded another black MIDI version of “Necrofantasia” which contained 4.5 million notes (shown below, left). On August 17th, Youtuber Xinyu Qian uploaded a 21 million-note track version of Fujiwara no Mokou’s theme song from the Touhou Project (shown below, right).
On July 4th, YouTuber vloggercousins uploaded a “Necrofantasia” black MIDI consisting of 9.8 million notes (shown below, left). On the following day, the Impossible Music Wiki was launched, which features articles about black MIDI music. On September 22nd, 2013, YouTuber TheSuperMarioBros2 uploaded a black MIDI song titled “Bad apple 4.6 million” (shown below, right), which used a pop dance song titled “Bad Apple” from the Touhou Project.
On September 23rd, a blog post about black MIDI was published by the non-profit arts organization Rhizome, which described how the music is created using piano software like Synesthesia. That same day, the Rhizome article was posted by Redditor Noumenology to the /r/experimentalmusic subreddit. Also on September 23rd, Gawker published an article on black MIDI YouTube videos.