[fruityloops] Re: What are MIDI files for?...

  • From: Andrew Ebling <andyebling@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: fruityloops@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: 25 Jul 2002 14:51:15 +0100

On Thu, 2002-07-25 at 03:15, P. Diddy Records wrote:
> 
> They exist in the millions, practically any song or
> artist you can think of is available to download off
> the net in this format... No, I'm not talking about
> MP3's, I'm talking about MIDI files!
> 
> Call me stupid, but what are all these MIDI tracks
> for? I can't imagine some dude sits in his bedroom
> with a bunch of sheet music from the top 100,
> replicating each and every entire track for the
> pleasure of others... So what ARE these MIDI files and
> what are they used for? :)

It all goes back to the days of FM chips (like the yamaha OPL-3) when
computers were not powerful enough for full blown synthesised audio and
could just about handle accurate MIDI timing.  At the time, FM synthesis
was "the bees knees"; people would set about making the best possible
rendition of their favourite chart song or TV theme tune by creating a
MIDI file playing it back using the FM chip on their sound card.

Many people continue use old technology well past its "sell by date",
squeezing out every last little bit of functionality, for reasons of
nostalgia, because of a large time investment made in the past or just
for fun.  People continue to use sample based trackers to this day for
similar reasons. 

So what is a MIDI file?  Well it is a standard file format that contains
note data (pitch,velocity & length etc), channel data (volume, pan etc),
song data (tempo) and occasionally System Exclusive data (which
describes the setup of a particular synth or MIDI device).  Just as the
MIDI cable was designed as a standard protocol to connect any device
together (regardless of manufacturer), so the MIDI file was designed as
a method of exchanging song data between any sequencer, whether hardware
or software.

So what use are MIDI files to fruityloops users?  Well supposing you
have a MIDI file of a track that you would like to remix... you could
import it into fruityloops and use it as a starting point, to save you
having to figure out all the melodies, harmonies, bass lines and
rhythms.  (Although in practice you would probably need to use a more
featured MIDI sequencer to split the MIDI file up into its constituent
parts and save each as a separate MIDI file for importing into the piano
roll.

Alternatively, you might be working the other way round; you have put
together a great song in fruityloops, using fruity as a scratchpad for
ideas... but now you want to put it into a sequencer like Logic for
final production.  You can export each of your parts as a MIDI file and
import them into the other sequencer.  (Although with fruity becoming so
fully featured now, this is quickly becoming a pointless exercise!)

Hope that answers your question!

Andy


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