One of the biggest news this week has been the arrival of MIDI 2.0. This is big news for producers, composers, artists and anyone who uses a bit of technology in their music, because from Garageband to Ableton, MIDI is the reason we have digital electronic instruments.
MIDI, stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, which is the digital protocol used for recording and playing back digital music. It is basically 1’s and 0’s that make electronic drums, synthesizers, electronic piano and whatnot! The technology was originally released in 1983. The original design was for musical keyboards, and soon it was adopted into many media such as phone ringtones as well.
The MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA) and Association of Music Electronics Industry (AMEI – the Japanese MIDI association) broke the news last Friday, January 18 and already has the leading music technology companies such as Ableton, Native Instruments, Art+Logic, Bome Software, Google, imitone, Roland, ROLI, Steinberg, TouchKeys, and Yamaha on board. The companies have already started working together to develop prototypes based on this new protocol.
No need to worry, but it seems like all the MIDI 2.0 devices will also have MIDI 1.0 compatibility, which is one of the biggest issues when we have a new technology. Some of the new features in MIDI 2.0 will include auto-configuration, new DAW/web integrations, extended resolution and increased expressiveness (which should increase the quality of instruments even further and even closer to acoustic instruments).
A members-only plugfest to test compatibility between some early MIDI 2.0 prototypes is planned for Winter NAMM 2019, which starts tomorrow, January 24 in Los Angeles. It will be quite historic, as the original MIDI protocol was introduced at the 1983 NAMM event 35 years ago. The creation of MIDI was quite revolutionary, as the idea was to allow equipment from various manufacturers to work together. By creating a common protocol, a musical United Nations if you will, the data generated in computers were understood by all MIDI compatible computers and computer-based musical instruments.
It was one of the rare cases where we can come together for music, where we also lately experienced under the Music Modernization Act. It is a truly hopeful development that the organizations and people within the music industry can come together to modernize themselves in events like these. Certainly, the MIDI 2.0 protocol should only make our music quality sound better!
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Alper Tuzcu is a Berklee College of Music and Denison University alumni, and a Boston based guitarist, songwriter and producer. His new album ‘Aurora’ was released on October 19, 2018 and his debut eclectic album ‘Between 12 Waters’ featuring 8 different vocalists is available on Spotify. In addition to being a musician, he regularly teaches workshops and masterclasses internationally. You can follow him on Instagram or Twitter, and for more information you can visit his website www.alpertuzcu.com