MIDI Tutorial

MIDI Explained®

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20 Videos | Length: 1hr 41min 21sec
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  • What is MIDI? 4:31

    What is MIDI?

    Learn what MIDi is and how it’s basic DNA works.

  • Status Bytes & Data Bytes 3:46

    Status Bytes & Data Bytes

    Learn about the different types of data contained within the two main types of MIDI messages, channel messages and system messages.

  • Note Messages 5:25

    Note Messages

    Discover how the most basic channel voice messages, note messages, behave and look within a modern digital audio workstation; see how the status and data bytes are displayed, and how note off messages are created when releasing one’s finger’s from a MIDI keyboard controller.

  • Understanding MIDI Note Numbers 3:38

    Understanding MIDI Note Numbers

    MIDI note messages contain note numbers as identifiers. Learn how these numbers correspond to the pitches on a piano keyboard, and how various octave numbering conventions correlate with MIDI note numbers.

  • Aftertouch Messages 5:46

    Aftertouch Messages

    Learn about the two different types of aftertouch messages, polyphonic aftertouch and channel aftertouch, and hear how they are used to modulate the filter cutoff, and the LFO rate on a synthesizer sound.

  • Pitch Bend Messages 5:26

    Pitch Bend Messages

    See how these unique fourteen bit MIDI messages generate up to 16,383 steps of resolution and are used to modulate pitch on the receiving device or instrument in either positive or negative ranges.

  • Program Change & Bank Select Messages 4:19

    Program Change & Bank Select Messages

    Discover how these two messages are used, either alone or together, to change the sound on a MIDI device.

  • MIDI CC Messages 6:37

    MIDI CC Messages

    Continuous controller messages, also called Control Change messages, transmit a range of values and are used to control various aspects of sound generation on a per MIDI channel basis. Learn about some the commonly assigned CC messages.

  • CC Messages in Action 7:13

    CC Messages in Action

    See and hear a few examples of how various continuous controller messages are used to alter sound parameters separately from note data.

  • Channel Mode Messages 4:28

    Channel Mode Messages

    Learn how poly, mono, and legato modes influence the number of MIDI voices that can be triggered simultaneously, and how portamento is used in conjunction with them.

  • Multitimbral Mode 4:56

    Multitimbral Mode

    Discover how multitimbral synths are used to either split or layer sounds across multiple MIDI channels assigned to unique “Parts”, and how Omni mode is used to allow incoming MIDI messages to be transmitted to Parts set to the corresponding MIDI channel.

  • System Common Messages 4:27

    System Common Messages

    Learn about this special category of non channel specific MIDI messages that pertain to the entire receiving device.

  • System Real Time Messages 3:10

    System Real Time Messages

    Learn about how these messages are used to synchronize clock based MIDI devices like sequencers and drum machines so that they playback in sync with each other.

  • MIDI Time Code 5:34

    MIDI Time Code

    Explore this alternate form of syncing MIDI clock based devices, and see how it can be used virtually to sync two DAWs together.

  • System Exclusive Messages 3:34

    System Exclusive Messages

    See how the freeware app SysEx Librarian is used to record and store the patch, setup, and device data from an external MIDI sound module.

  • General MIDI 3:23

    General MIDI

    Learn about the General MIDI instrument and drum mapping conventions that insure sequences played back on devices from different manufacturers trigger the correct sounds.

  • Standard MIDI Files 6:18

    Standard MIDI Files

    See how MIDI data can be exported and imported in this standard format from one proprietary platform to another.

  • MIDI Timing 7:36

    MIDI Timing

    Learn about absolute and relative timing. See how MIDI messages are recorded at specific locations relative to bars and beats based on the resolution of clock pulses or “ticks” in the sequencer. And discover how quantizing is used to move the location of note on messages so that they fall on the clock pulses, or ticks, that correspond with even musical subdivisions.

  • Routing to External MIDI Devices 6:01

    Routing to External MIDI Devices

    Learn how to set up MIDI interfaces and external MIDI devices in the OS X Audio MIDI Setup utility, and how to route MIDI signal externally from within Logic Pro X.

  • IAC Signal Flow 5:13

    IAC Signal Flow

    Discover how the OS X Audio MIDI Setup utility is used to route MIDI between different applications on the same computer.

Product Overview

Are you new to MIDI or have you been using it but don’t really understand what it is and how it works? Learn how MIDI works in this series of 20 tutorial videos that will give you an understanding of MIDI and what you need to know in order to connect, program and control all of your MIDI-capable software and hardware.

Beginning with a general overview of what MIDI is, Eli explores the different types of data contained within MIDI messages. That leads into Note Messages, perhaps the most important MIDI message, and a video on understanding MIDI Note Numbers.

Eli then covers the rest of the most common and important MIDI messages such as Aftertouch, Pitch Bend, Program Change, Bank Select, MIDI Continuous Controller, and Channel Mode messages.

Once you've learned about the MIDI messages, Eli dives deeper with Multitimbral Mode, explaining how to layer sound across MIDI channels and parts. After that, he covers some of the more esoteric MIDI features such as System Common and System Real Time messages, MIDI Time Code, and System Exclusive messages.

Finally, Eli explains the General MIDI convention and Standard MIDI Files, along with the difference between Absolute and Relative Midi Timing. If you have external MIDI devices, you'll learn how to route MIDI to them, and if you are an OS X user needing to do complex routings, Eli explores the OS X MIDI Setup Utility for even more control and customization.

If you're just getting into computer music and are confused by MIDI, or you're a longtime musician who really wants to understand it all, check out "MIDI Explained" today!

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