MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a protocol developed in the 1980s that allows electronic musical instruments and other digital music tools to communicate with each other. MIDI itself does not emit sound, it is just a series of messages, such as "note on", "note off", "note / pitch" and so on.
MIDI instruments interpret these messages to produce sounds. A MIDI instrument can be a piece of hardware (electronic keyboard, synthesizer) or part of a software environment (ableton, digital player, logic...).
The advantages of MIDI include:
- Compact-the entire song can be stored in hundreds of MIDI messages (by comparison, audio data is sampled thousands of times per second)
- Easily modify/manipulate notes-change pitch, duration and other parameters without re-recording
- Changing the instrument-Remember, MIDI only describes the notes to be played, and you can send these notes to any instrument to change the overall music.
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For further info about MIDI, we recommend this article