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MIDI is a sequence programming protocol commonly used for composing music for computers and electronic musical instruments. Used as the technical standard use across multiple programs and appliances, the format allows electronic musical instruments, computers and other devices to interact with each other using a tonal notation.[1]


In June, 1981 Roland founder Ikutaro Kakehashi proposed an idea of a standard format in synthesized music to Tom Oberheim and Dave Smith, both of whom also owned synthesizer compnaies. After two years of collaborations the project was completed and announced to the public in Keyboard magazine as the MIDI.

Originally only used by those interested in electronic instruments, MIDI software, when developed for personal computers, helped to revolutionize the accessibility of music-making. Many who before would have to save up to afford an expensive synthesizer could develop their own electronic instruments on their personal computers using the software. The format also revolutionized music production in the 1980s, allowing musicians to create prototypes of songs in the format before recording. Throughout the development of computing, the MIDI format has found countless applications, from program sequencing to video game music.[4]

Various applications of the MIDI format, from apps to music remixes.

Online Presence

The MIDI format is maintained by a trade organization called the MIDI Association,[2] with the mission "to nurture an inclusive global community of people who create music and art with MIDI." Their web site, midi.org, has a widely-used forum for aficionados of the format.[3] In addition, MIDI is discussed widely in a variety of other forums, including the music production subreddit /r/wearethemusicmakers,[5] and the Impossible Music Wikia.[6] There is also a subreddit devoted to MIDI, /r/midi,[9] but it is relatively unused.

Many producers of MIDI music have made the music available for public download, including many MIDI reinterpretations of popular songs. Large libraries of such music, like FreeMIDIs.com, catalogue the songs for users.[7] On June 20th, 2015, a reddit user called midi_man released a file he called "the largest MIDI collection on the Internet" for users to download. The file had over 130,000 compositions and was compiled using a web crawler that found large libraries and assembled them together.[8]

MIDI Animations

MIDI Animations are user-created videos that illustrate MIDI compositions visually through a careful arrangement of color-coded musical blocks. Using a MIDI software called the Music Animation Machine MIDI Player, or simply MAM, each artist can create his/her own “visual representation” of any MIDI file, with each colored block corresponding to every musical note registered in the song. MIDI animations first became popular in October 2007 on the Japanese video-sharing website Nico Nico Douga.

Black MIDI

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.”

MP3 to MIDI Remixes

MP3 to MIDI Remixes are MP3 audio files that have been converted into MIDI format, which typically results in a poorly-remixed version of the song wherein all instrumental and vocal tracks are replaced with oversimplified synth notes.

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