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Happy 30th Birthday MIDI - How MIDI Changed The World Of Music

Posted on 2012-11-28 in Audio Chat20 Comments43543 Views
Happy 30th Birthday MIDI - How MIDI changed the world of music

Did you know that it was 30 years ago that MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) was born.

You could say one of the first types of open source applications that revolutionised how music was made and paved the way to modern music production, sampling and the whole dance music scene.

The idea behind midi and the reason for its success was that it would be a universal standard and allow any device to speak to another thus allowing keyboards and modules form companies who would otherwise be in direct competition to each other.

No longer did everything have to played live but could instead be sequenced and played back. Early home computers such as Atari and Commodore supported MIDI and very soon were not only used in huge recording studios but also gave rise to the now common home studio setup.

There is a good article here on the BBC that explains a bit more and talks to Alex Paterson who used MIDI to record The Orb's - Little Fluffy Clouds

Any old excuse to play Little Fluffy Clouds ....

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Comments 1 - 20 of 20
    SALFORDxSOLDIER on Sun 11th May 2014 - 7 years ago

    M.I.D.I. should be spelt..E.P.I.C.!

  2. Golly
    Golly on Thu 1st May 2014 - 7 years ago

    Atari STe 1040, KCS Omega, monthly copies of ST Format/Review, multiple sound modules.

    God bless the 5-pin DIN. :-)

  3. lo_opmix
    lo_opmix on Wed 25th Dec 2013 - 7 years ago

    Yes, I remember purchasing Memorymoog in 1980, and a few months later, memorymoog with midi input-output came out.
    Was shocked by a sudden change.

  4. JeffBock
    JeffBock on Mon 26th Aug 2013 - 7 years ago

    I used cubase 2.0 on atari 520 and 1040 with diferent synths, drum machines and samplers during 3/4 years.
    You know how many bugs i had with? Zero! Impossible with actual pc's.

  5. DOSputin
    DOSputin on Sun 4th Aug 2013 - 7 years ago

    NOTATOR LE, on ATARI 1040 STe! 1985!! Still rockin' this setup, the most solid MIDI timing, hands down, ever.. it will always be the center of my midi production!

  6. Borgluz
    Borgluz on Thu 6th Jun 2013 - 7 years ago

    MIDI is simply great. And it is still evolving with keeping compatibility. Just look here to see what they do now

    I just can't wait for the next step, called internally HD. I have seen their presentation in NAMM this year : very promising.

  7. tjmusic
    tjmusic on Fri 31st May 2013 - 7 years ago

    I started making music in 1980 and when midi came along it was like something awesome! It also had a randomness of sorts to it because sometimes all kinds of machines would be triggered or wouldn;t quite work the way one intended them to and happy accidents of sound happened all the time. So amazing

  8. DJCinema
    DJCinema on Sat 25th May 2013 - 7 years ago

    And RogueAI is of course correct about CVGate.

    But the arrival of MIDI was like a sea change. All of us who were there remember it the way Boomers remember the beginning of color television. You know where you were and what you were wearing the first session you saw it in action.

    And your life was changed FOREVER.

    Happy Birthday, MIDI. Thank you. And as a musician: thank God for you. You really did set some of us free to simply create. No more bowing and curtsying, no more buttkissing, no more Beta Wolf posturing, no more sucking it up --

    THE END.

    Happy Birthday MIDI!

  9. DJCinema
    DJCinema on Sat 25th May 2013 - 7 years ago

    P.S.: Somebody please hurry up and invent MIDI for the motion picture industry. With sequenced actors and crew you can pick out of folders out of a box of software. NOW please.


  10. DJCinema
    DJCinema on Sat 25th May 2013 - 7 years ago

    30 years? Jesus... suddenly, I'm old.

    I remember CLEARLY when fellow musicians in Atlanta were just beginning to talk about this mystical, magical electronic Jedi trick that could do everything, anything. As a keyboardist I fell right in step and have never looked back. MIDI liberated us musicians and programmers from the office politics, drama and stupidity of directly associating with actual, human musicians in order to create stuff. That freedom has come with its drawbacks of course... but I love my machines :)

    Switch em on, program em, tell em what to do, they comply until stopped or shut off, and

    No more jealous drummer girlfriends
    No more evil drummers' wives
    No more late bass players
    No more egotistical lead guitarists
    No drummer drought ever, ever again


    I feel everybody who might think the above is a bad thing, but as an attractive (or so they say) female musician, I've had more than my fill of jealous musician gfs and wives, and MIDI was the beginning of The Official End of That Bulls--t, Forever.

    The main drummer I'm the angriest at about that -- almost 20 years later, that's how bad it was -- PS, he and evil fat jealous harpy wife divorced. He's single now and I would never.

    And I have my sequencers :)

    Great tribute to the Electronic Emancipation Proclamation of Music, by the way. Thanks. Perfect photo to sum MIDI up. Nice - says it all :)

  11. mrmenime
    mrmenime on Tue 19th Mar 2013 - 8 years ago

    como baixar?

  12. bossdeezy
    bossdeezy on Sun 13th Jan 2013 - 8 years ago


  13. RogueAi
    RogueAi on Sun 23rd Dec 2012 - 8 years ago

    The inventors of MIDI to receive a technical Grammy.

  14. samcs
    samcs on Thu 13th Dec 2012 - 8 years ago

    happy birthday

  15. ramraider2k6
    ramraider2k6 on Sat 8th Dec 2012 - 8 years ago

    I remember upgrading from an AWE 32 to XG SW60 Midi card. It was incredible. XG midi was where it was at. Probably still is in some circles.

  16. mrchewson
    mrchewson on Wed 5th Dec 2012 - 8 years ago

    LOL @ free Radical! I remember the days using felt like Witchcraft at the time!

  17. HoodTroniX
    HoodTroniX on Mon 3rd Dec 2012 - 8 years ago

    happy birthday midi !!!, i started with midi drum mashines in the 80s, mostly all the tr series 626, 727,ect. used some atari ste, stf, with a midi/sampler type interface called replay 16, i miss my old simple beats of the 80s.
    ps.. alot of top chart eletro/trance producers still use atari ste/stf, they say they like the timing of the seq.

  18. FreeRadical
    FreeRadical on Fri 30th Nov 2012 - 8 years ago

    Ah i remember my first introduction to midi. It was cubase on the Atari ST accompanied by various modules each the size of a VHS video recorder (one of the old ones)
    The old five pin din plugs. They seemed so advanced at the time. Not like this usb plug in and play malarkey. We actually used to have to set things up with wires and plugs you know?
    A friend of mine was actually electrocuted because he hadn't earthed his guitar before plugging it into the top of the range akai sampler which held a massive 2kb of storage.
    Kids these days don't know how easy they've got it......."Dad, i'm bored with x-box kinnect"
    "Shut your pie hole son, we only had sega mega drive and squidgy black to smoke. None of this stupidly named high grade skunk nonsense."

  19. Looperman
    Looperman on Wed 28th Nov 2012 - 8 years ago

    Good call -

  20. RogueAi
    RogueAi on Wed 28th Nov 2012 - 8 years ago

    "No longer did everything have to played live but could instead be sequenced and played back."

    This was possible before midi. It was called CV/gate. MIDI just expanded on it (digitally) and made polyphonic sequencing easier.

Comments 1 - 20 of 20

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