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MMD > Archives > July 2004 > 2004.07.13 > 10Prev  Next

Learning About MIDI
By Mickey Sadler

>> I read your letter this morning in today's MMD.  I am very much
>> interested in MIDI-fying an orchestrion I am building.  But jumping
>> into the middle of MIDI conversations without the background
>> information I am lacking confuses the issues.  Do you have any
>> suggestions or web sites, etc., that you may think would be helpful
>> to bring those of us with less experience up to speed.  I think that
>> is what is probably holding back most of us in this hobby.  Since the
>> majority of the hobby is over 50 and maybe 60, computer illiteracy
>> is abundant.  And most of us use it to just search the web or read our
>> mail.  Thank you in advance for any help or advice you may be able to
>> offer.  Howard Jensen

Hi Howard,  Well, I can commiserate with all those over 50 or 60 since
I am 66, but I have been working on computers since about 1963 or so.

One thing that I have found that confuses people is that MIDI is
actually a communications standard, similar to RS-232 serial port
standard or the parallel port standard on the computer.  It can be used
to control sound generating equipment, such as keyboards, synthesizers,
sound cards in computers, etc.  It can also be used to control many
other things.  The MIDI Show Control Standard is used to control
lights, fog machines, tape decks, etc.  MIDI can also be used to
control robots, or most anything else that uses on/off controls, etc.
It surprised me when I first found out it was not just used to "make

I do have some good web sites for you.  My favorite is  The MIDI Technical Fanatic's Brainwashing
Center (beware the humor on this page), and specifically  which has one of the
best explanations of MIDI on the WEB.

Also the MIDI FAQ page at  and the
Twin Cities MIDI Page at http://WWW.TCMIDI.COM/ .

Another great site is MIDIBoek at
Although it does not explain MIDI, it uses MIDI to create punched paper
book or paper roll masters that you can use to make books or rolls.
Also, it has been used to directly control the punch that makes the
rolls or books.

Quite a few of us on the DIY site at ,
particularly in the MIDIfication thread, are newcomers to MIDI.  Some
are musicians, some are programmers, and some are hardware types.
In other areas the people are more familiar with MIDI and sequencing,
but not that familiar with hardware and software.

You are welcome to join in and ask questions.  We are a pretty friendly
group and Thorsten Klose has done a great job designing and programming
the MIDIBox - all for free.

If you have any other questions I can answer, or just want to chat,
just let me know.

Mickey E. Sadler
Dublin, Ohio

(Message sent Tue 13 Jul 2004, 20:52:31 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  About, Learning, MIDI

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