The Development of the MIDI Communications Protocol

Peter Manning

in Electronic and Computer Music

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780195144840
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849802 | DOI:
The Development of the MIDI Communications Protocol

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The development of MIDI as an industry standard communications protocol for the control of synthesizers fundamentally changed the working environment for the commercial sector. MIDI is a serial communications protocol, whereby all information is channeled into a single stream of bits, transmitted between devices via a single data cable. There are some important electrical differences between a MIDI system and the more traditional serial communications systems used extensively by the computing industry from the earliest days. Essentially, the former senses interruptions in current flow, whereas the latter usually detects voltage pulses. Conversion from one mode of operation to the other fortunately requires little more than a simple electronic circuit, and it thus has proved relatively straightforward to design basic MIDI interfaces that will work directly with computers.

Keywords: MIDI; serial communications protocol; current flow; voltage pulses; synthesizers

Chapter.  7975 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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