MIDI – another reason pop-culture musicians don’t deserve your love or money.

December 30, 2008

Digital media is re-introduced into the equation with the presence of MIDI files. Think of MIDI files as digital sheet music. When a musician plays any instrument or sings any song, they sing on a timeline. Each note they hit is placed at a particular point in time and with varying levels of volume. MIDI files memorize digital signatures of when and how loud notes were struck. In other words, if a pianist was playing a keyboard that was recording MIDI information, the computer would log exactly when a note was played, and exactly how hard the key was struck. Later, the musician can take this file and open the timeline. When he or she does this, a timeline will open with dots and lines indicating the keystrokes. The pianist can then click on the dots and lines and move them around, manipulating the performance. This means that if the pianist accidently hits a note a few seconds too soon, they can simply go into the MIDI file and move the note back into place. If the pianist decides he or she should have played that note an octave higher or a bit louder – no problem; then note can simply be edited. MIDI files allow even terrible musicians to record tracks in perfection.

and there you have it

and there you have it

Utilizing MIDI files, the artist can go far beyond just correcting performance mistakes. Notes can be completely added. Perhaps the pianist can’t play a blues riff. No problem – the musician can click in the MIDI timeline and indicate where a note would need to be, and how loud the computer should play it. Remember also that MIDI files are only recording when in time the note was struck, and how hard the note was struck – not the actual instrument that was used to strike these notes. In other words, a pianist can record a banjo solo on his or her keyboard, take it into the MIDI file, and simply apply a sampled banjo sound to the MIDI track. It is possible for a musician to record an entire album complete with everything from a full string section to a didgeridoo and not know how to play a single instrument.

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One Response to “MIDI – another reason pop-culture musicians don’t deserve your love or money.”

  1. […] Commercial songwriters today are broken into two teams of people. One team writes the lyrics and the other team writs the music. Most of them are probably incredibly creative and talented but too unattractive to become stars themselves. As a result, they’ve agreed to sell their souls for tons of money. They write songs and give them to artists (not just the American Idol winners, by the way). Unfortunately most of them operate as ghost writers (for even more money) so we may never know which Stars deserve it and which stars are money making manipulations. Digital media is re-introduced into the equation with the presence of MIDI files. […]

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