Electronic Musical Instruments Pre-MIDI
In the beginning, every single electronic musical instrument and device had its own individual method of being controlled.
Easy to use
With MIDI, all sorts of musical instruments could be connected directly to a personal computer for the first time. Among its list of possibilities, MIDI can be used to sequence, sample and compose. You could play notes on a keyboard, and via MIDI your computer could transcribe those notes into sheet music.
The Power of the '80s!
Robert Moog, the inventor of the Moog synthesizer (think Herbie Hancock), announced publicly in Keyboard magazine that Dave Smith and Chet Wood were developing an amazing innovation: MIDI, an acronym for Musical Instrument Digital Interface.
MIDI is Born
The MIDI debuts at the National Association of Musical Merchants show.
Initial Hiccups With MIDI
The initial MIDI had some technical problems, one being sound conversion, "often a piano sound on one manufacturers device might be a trombone on others.”
The release of the General MIDI 2 (GM2) increased the number of sounds and the amount of control over editing and musical performance. GM2 is also the basis for mobile applications that use MIDI.
Music Controls Light
Among its many uses, MIDI’s notes-to-lights ability basically makes lighting into an audio effect. Have you ever been to a concert, and wondered how they get the lights to flash or rotate in time with the music? That’s most likely thanks to MIDI.
MIDI users have created myriad unique ways to use the protocol. Some have used everything from pennies, laser beams, robotic arms, pants and even a heartbeat to control sound.
Not only has the creation of MIDI changed the course of musical history, its very first version has persisted for three decades -- something unheard of when it comes to the speed of technological change. Thirty years after its invention, the “father of MIDI,” Dave Smith receives the Technical Grammy Award at the 55th Annual Grammy Award Ceremony, in Los Angeles. Roland founder and engineer Ikutaro Kakehashi, is also awarded the Technical Grammy for his role in the development of the MIDI.