Re: Computer languages, and inner and outer worlds

From: Eirikur Hallgrimsson (
Date: Wed May 02 2001 - 18:35:22 PDT

> Before there was midi there was chaos. After midi came genral midi which
> went even further in making every midi able device be able to use

No, no, no! Do not give me an excuse to talk about MIDI. The music world is
STILL, 18 years later, mostly broken as concerns networking instruments.

MIDI is too dumb to die anytime soon, sad to say. It's sort of like ASCII;
works great for telegrams, but basically not the medium you want for sending
engraved invitations. It really wouldn't be much better if the manufacturers
implemented and tested it correctly, which they largely don't.

My studio has 22 subnetworks to get around the throughput and addressing
restrictions of MIDI. And I don't use it. It's just sitting there becoming
more obsolete. Now that there is cheap digital multrack recording, having a
gazillion tone-generator modules hooked-up via MIDI is sort of a demented
conceptual-art thing. You do sort of get better score-editing by working in
MIDI, but the hassle is huge compared to just doing multitrack audio.

When I was working with the Team-Metlay band, we finally decided to outlaw
MIDI at recording sessions. "You gets three wires. One is the reference
beat-clock sent to you. Two are your audio signal to the mix." This is
because we spent a week solid with three computer networking pros, trying to
get our MIDI network to work for an album project.

What MIDI isn't is a metafile format for music. What it is is a
wire-protocol for keystrokes. It's fine for switchs, but not very good at
knobs (7 bit resolution). Pitchbend is a hack with double-resolution.

I would really like to see a metafile for music. There is a fair amount of
current work in the area. I'd like to be able to edit something
human-readable and then render to audio, probably with stylesheets and the
whole nine yards.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sun May 06 2001 - 08:04:37 PDT