MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) is a concept that can be confusing at first, but essentially MIDI is a digital language that allows different pieces of gear to communicate with computers. The information within a basic MIDI track may contain things like -what notes are played, -what instrument will play those notes, and -what is the relationship between those notes in time, pitch, volume, and velocity.
You can also use MIDI to control effects and automation. MIDI information can be drawn in, or recorded in real time using a MIDI controller or keyboard. In class we will learn to program and edit various instruments including drums, bass, and keys -as well as how to automate effects. As you gain a deeper understanding you will be able to program using more variables.
MIDI will be covered extensively in class as it is a very important and versatile tool in music creating. Learn where to focus your efforts for your recording needs, and never be afraid to explore.
This video is up here until I find a shorter or better one on MIDI.
*There are a lot of great companies making software instruments that bring their own individual flavor, work-flow, samples, effects, etc into the mix. Software instruments take advantage of MIDI.
Most DAWs will accept them, but be sure to check for compatibility with your DAW before purchasing. Examples of software instruments include Komplete by Native Instruments, Trigger by Steven Slate, Sample Tank by IK Multimedia, Reason by Propellerhead, and Maschine by Native Instuments (which has it’s own MIDI controller). Ableton, an extremely versatile DAW, both accepts software instruments and can be used as a software instrument in Rewire (master or slave mode). It also has its own specialized MIDI controller called The Ableton Push.
Software Instruments, along with plugins (which we will learn about in mixing) are the means by which we build up are arsenal of tools that we use for creating and manipulating music. It can be easy to overdo it buying these. Research and test products out (when you can) before you decide to buy them, and buy only the ones that best suit your needs. Even with 1,000 plugins at your disposal, you’ll find yourself going back to the same ones over and over.