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ShowMIDI: effortlessly visualize MIDI activity

ShowMIDI is a multi-platform GUI application to effortlessly visualize MIDI activity, filling a void in the available MIDI monitoring solutions.

Instead of wading through logs of MIDI messages to correlate relevant ones and identify what is happening, ShowMIDI visualizes the current activity and hides what you don’t care about anymore. It provides you with a real-time glanceable view of all MIDI activity on your computer.

When something happens that you need to analyze in detail, you can press the spacebar to pause the data and see a real-time static snapshot. Once you’re doing, press the spacebar again and ShowMIDI resumes with the latest activity.

This animation shows the difference between a traditional MIDI monitor on the left and ShowMIDI on the right: 

Open-source and multi-platform

ShowMIDI is written in C++ and JUCE for macOS, Windows and Linux, an iOS version is in the works. You can find the source code in the GitHub repository.

Alongside the standalone application, ShowMIDI is also available as VST2, VST3, AUv2, AUv3, CLAP and LV2 plugins for DAWs and hosts that support MIDI effect plugins. This makes it possible to visualize MIDI activity for individual channels and to save these with your session.

Introduction and overview

Below is an introduction video that shows how the standalone version of ShowMIDI works. You get a glimpse of what the impetus for creating this tool was and how you can use it with multiple MIDI devices. Seeing the comparison between traditional MIDI monitor logs (including my ReceiveMIDI tool) and ShowMIDI’s visualization, clearly illustrates how the information becomes much easier to understand and consume.

Smart and getting smarter

ShowMIDI also analyzes the MIDI data and displays compound information, like RPN and NRPN messages that are constituted out of multiple CC messages. RPN 6, which is the MPE configuration message, is also detected and adds MPE modes to the channels that are part of an MPE zone.

This is just the beginning, additional visualizations, smart analysis and interaction modes will continue to be added. As MIDI 2.0 becomes more widely available, ShowMIDI will be able to switch its display mode to take those messages into account too.