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MAY-Is-MIDI-Month-2.010
May 19-Programming Synths for MIDI Guitar
Craig Anderton
Byte Sized Tips and Tricks
Part of making MIDI guitar feel "right" when triggering synths has nothing to do with the guitar and its tracking, but with editing the synth presets so that they're guitar-friendly instead of being optimized with keyboards in mind. Separate channels. The guitar will most likely send data from each string over a different channel. So, use synths in...
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May 18-Processing Audio with MIDI Control
Craig Anderton
MIDI Month Tip of the Day
Some MIDI instruments, particularly those from Arturia, include an external input for processing audio signals through the synthesizer's filter, VCA, and effects modules. That's cool enough, but of course, what's even cooler is that is that you can then use MIDI to trigger filter and VCA envelopes, turn filter resonance up high and use a keyboard t...
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May 17 Non-Rigid Quantization
Craig Anderton
Byte Sized Tips and Tricks
One of the complaints about "MIDI music" is that quantizing everything to the beat sucks the life out of a song by eliminating the kind of timing variations humans make. But that's not the fault of MIDI— the problem is the person doing the quantization. So, here are three ways to make quantization more human-sounding. Quantization strength. Instead...
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May 16-The Advantages of Starting Songs with MIDI
Craig Anderton
MIDI Month Tip of the Day
When you're songwriting, you want nothing to get in the way of your creativity, and you want as fast a workflow as humanly possible—so for those reasons, you're better off starting the songwriting process with MIDI rather than recording audio (if not you're not a keyboard player, even a simple MIDI guitar controller like the Jamstik+ or You Rock gu...
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May 15-Arpeggiation Meets Percussion
Craig Anderton
MIDI Month Tip of the Day
Most people of think of arpeggiation solely in melodic terms, but arpeggiation has additional uses. General MIDI instruments include drum kits where the top notes are percussion sounds, and many virtual instruments include percussion presets. Setting up an arpeggiator in a random mode to trigger various percussive sounds can create a really cool ef...
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May 14-Why MIDI Plug-Ins Are Cool
Craig Anderton
Byte Sized Tips and Tricks
When audio plug-ins entered the mainstream, MIDI plug-ins took somewhat of a backseat because they weren't the "shiny new toy" in town. However with MIDI's resurgence, companies are paying more attention to MIDI plug-ins. For example Cubase has always had a great roster of MIDI effects, Ableton Live almost gives parity with MIDI and audio plug-ins,...
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May 13-Why You Need a Controller with More Octaves
Craig Anderton
MIDI Month Tip of the Day
If you think of a keyboard as playing only notes, four or five octaves may be sufficient. However, many virtual instruments (e.g., FXpansion Geist, Native Instruments Kontakt, EastWest's Play engine, etc.) use MIDI keys not only to play specific notes but also to trigger articulations or variations on a basic sound. If your main USB MIDI controller...
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May 12-Get Your Groove On
Craig Anderton
MIDI Month Tip of the Day
Quantizing MIDI notes to precise rhythmic values on a grid can sound "mechanical." This isn't necessarily a bad thing, particularly with techno, electro, etc. But for musical genres that aren't quite as rigid in terms of tempo, overly tight quantization can sound stiff. Enter groove quantization: instead of quantizing to a grid, you can call up a p...
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May 11-The Keyboard MIDI Control Surface for Mixing
Craig Anderton
Byte Sized Tips and Tricks
When it comes to mixing, a lot of engineers will tell you there's nothing quite like a good piece of hardware with real faders. Some synthesizers nclude faders for real-time control over the sound you're playing, however you may be able to program these to control the faders in a recording program's mixer. Several keyboards, such as Nektar's Panora...
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May 10-Create Dramatic Pauses with Tempo Track Tweaks
Craig Anderton
Byte Sized Tips and Tricks
One of the main differences between music recorded in the past and today's recordings is the use of click tracks to maintain a constant tempo. We can debate whether this is a good idea or not, but here's an easy-to-do tempo track tweak that can add a lot of impact to a song. Short, subliminal pauses can create a fleeting sensation of tension and an...
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May 09-Get Imaginative with the Mod Wheel
Craig Anderton
Byte Sized Tips and Tricks
Despite rumors to the contrary, Congress did not pass a law saying that mod wheels could be used only to add vibrato. Granted, the periodic vibrato a mod wheel adds is something only a synth can do, but try adding vibrato with the pitch wheel instead—it will sound more human, and more like the vibrato guitarists use. Now that you've freed up your m...
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May 08 How to Use Jamstik+ as MIDI Guitar
Craig Anderton
Byte Sized Tips and Tricks
Jamstik+ from Zivix is an interesting solution for guitarists who want to play MIDI instruments. While it's not a guitar, it feels mostly like a guitar because it has real strings, a neck, and frets—but it doesn't make any sound. On the plus side, you don't have to change or tune the strings. Also, the basic version has only five notes, so it's mor...
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May 07 "Strum" Your MIDI Notes
Craig Anderton
Byte Sized Tips and Tricks
If you're a keyboard player using chords to define a chord progression, it's easy enough to have chords hit on, for example, the beginning of a measure. But "strumming" the chord can add interest and a more guitar-like quality (note that the intention here isn't to replicate a program that emulates strummed rhythm guitar parts, but to add interest ...
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May 06 Macros, Baby!
Craig Anderton
Byte Sized Tips and Tricks
A macro lets you string together multiple keyboard shortcuts into a single keyboard shortcut. For example, suppose you often quantize to 1/16th notes, with 50% strength, and like to add a swing factor of 52%. You can set up a macro so that after selecting your data, you do a single keyboard command and voilà—all three editing operations occur. Keyb...
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May 05 Let MIDI Save the Day When Doing a Commercial Video
Craig Anderton
Byte Sized Tips and Tricks
A company asked me to do a video for a reverb plug-in they were introducing, and I wanted to demo it with a variety of instruments. Drums? It's easy to find good acoustic drum loops. Guitar? I play guitar. Vocals? The company provided me with a vocal I could use. But I really wanted an acoustic piano piece, like something from Debussy, to demo the ...
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May 04 Create Realistic MIDI Bass Parts
Craig Anderton
Byte Sized Tips and Tricks
Don't Let Notes Overlap. Most bass lines are single notes, and because bassists lift fingers, mute strings, and pick, there's going to be a space between notes. Go through your MIDI sequence note by note, and make sure that no note extends over another note's attack. The orange notes have overhanging decays and attacks. The gray notes to the left a...
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May 03-How to Limit MIDI Velocity
Craig Anderton
Byte Sized Tips and Tricks
Audio compression can give more consistent levels, but it doesn't give a more consistent touch; that has to happen at the source, when the instrument plays. Some recording software programs have either MIDI FX or editing commands to compress data by raising low-level notes and/or or reducing high-level notes. But if your program doesn't have veloci...
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MIDI Association Partners at Super Booth 2018
The MIDI Association
MIDI News
Super Booth has been growing rapidly over the past few years, but this year there will be a record 227 companies exhibiting at the synth extravaganza held at the Fez in Berlin. May is MIDI Month Platinum sponsors Ableton, IK Multimedia, Moog, Roli and Yamaha will all be there. Here are their booth locations in the Fez ...
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May 02 How to Adapt DIN 5 Connectors to USB
Craig Anderton
Byte Sized Tips and Tricks
The original MIDI protocol specified a five-pin DIN connector (DIN stands for Deutsche Institut für Normung, a German standards organization), which is what you'll find on older legacy MIDI gear (anything made before 1999).  5-pin MIDI out and MIDI in jacks were the original MIDI connectors, and are still in use. However, today most MIDI gear ...
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Google Magenta-Making Music with MIDI and Machine Learning
The MIDI Association
MIDI News
In January 2018, we covered Intel's Keynote pre-show which prominently featured Artificial Intelligence and MIDI.   But one of the leaders in the AI and Machine Learning field is Google.  Their Magenta project has been doing a lot of research and experimentation in using machine learning for both art and music. The gre...
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Historical Early MIDI Documents Uncovered
The MIDI Association
MIDI History
MIDI 1.0 Specification From August, 1983 Uncovered at Yamaha US offices in April, 2018.    In November of 2018 we uncovered some unique historical MIDI documents.  These were discovered in a file cabinet at Yamaha Corporation of America's headquarters in Buena Park, California.  These documents pre-date ...
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Nektar-May is MIDI Month Platinum Sponsor
The MIDI Association
May Is MIDI Month Sponsors
Since Nektar Technology, Inc was founded in 2009, we have been passionate about our mission to bridge the gap between powerful music software and controller hardware. With software continuously evolving, a plethora of instruments and effects have become available. Able to run even on modest computers, music creation has become more accessible to th...
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Yamaha-May is MIDI Month Platinum Sponsor
The MIDI Association
May Is MIDI Month Sponsors
Yamaha has been intimately involved with the development of MIDI since the very beginning. We pioneered groundbreaking technology by making the first all digital FM synthesizer, the epoch making DX7. Yamaha synths like the Motif and the Montage have been the standard for touring and studio professionals for the past 2 decades.  ...
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Heavy Metal MIDI by Author and Punisher
The MIDI Association
MIDI Stories
Tristan Shone A.K.A. Author and Punisher is a musician and mechanical engineer who makes heavy metal MIDI controllers, really heavy metal ! He has created a range of unique MIDI controllers he calls "dub machines" using his electronic and mechanical engineering expertise.  Tristan studied for a Master of Fine ...