Tutorials / 6 June 2018

What Is MIDI? A simple and practical guide

“To me, it’s always a joy to create music no matter what it takes to actually get there.” Skrillex

In the following article, we’re going to give you a whistle stop tour of MIDI to show you how you can get great results without having extensive instrument playing experience.

MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. It’s essentially a way for hardware and software to communicate with one another. It has become an incredibly useful tool for music producers to utilise in their creative process.

When recording instruments, we can choose to record in the “live” audio through a mic, or directly onto your mobile with a Link Analog, but with MIDI instruments, rather than recording the sound of your instruments, your instrument is used to trigger software sounds.

Here’s what it looks like when you record in audio…

Here’s what it looks like when you record in MIDI…

While some artists and producers prefer recording in instruments, there is a huge benefit to recording in MIDI parts. You have control over every single note that you have played after recording it in, so should you make any mistakes, or should you want to add in extra notes, you can do very easily with just a few clicks.

This can be great for producers who aren’t as technically proficient when it comes to playing an instrument and need to tweak some notes around after…

Don’t have an instrument? On BandLab you can select add track, select BandLab Instruments, choose your instrument, then hit record. Your laptop keyboard is now your MIDI keyboard!

Hit a wrong note when playing in chords? Just select the MIDI note and move it to where you want it to be!

Played a note to long, or not long enough? Hover over the end of the note the click and hold and adjust it to the correct length…

Gone out of time? Right click and quantize to the note position you need (most often /16)

Played in a note too loud or too soft? Select the note and alter the velocity…

Try highlighting all of your notes when you are happy with how they are arranged and right-clicking. You’ll notice here that you can duplicate notes to New Track which is super useful if you are looking to create layers with different instruments.

MIDI opens up a world of possibilities for people who like to loop music too and build on their ideas as they go. Try setting a 4 bar loop and building on your track each time it comes around by drawing in notes. Just select the pencil and draw away…

Get creating!

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