All Articles MIDI
Joe Albano on Sun, June 26th 7 comments
MIDI. There's a lot of musicians and producers who don't know how to use this protocol to improve their musical performances and add more expression to their instruments. Let's take a closer look.
Fig 1 The wonderful world of MIDI

Channel Voice Messages  

Note messages  

Fig 2 A MIDI Piano-Roll display (C); a MIDI Event Editor window (R)

Note Velocity 

Continuous (streaming) MIDI messages 

Fig 3 Strings of continuous (streaming) MIDI messages

Give Aftertouch some (after)thought 


Program Change 

Control Change (CC) messages

Fig 4 MIDI PitchBend & Modwheel (CC1), and damper pedal (CC64)


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Comments (7)

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  • MiekWave
    sysex? rpn / nrpn? PC bank vs patch? Pitchbend is not 128 values (0-127) ppitch bend is a 14-bit message with 16,384 values.
    • 4 years ago
    • By: MiekWave
  • Joe A
    Hi mt - Re Pitchbend.. True, PB messages have two data Bytes for 14-bit resolution. In the past, most DAWs displayed PB data as 7-bit, rather than as 14-bit, but it seems that nowadays they mostly show the full 14-bit range of values supported. However, this seems to be inconsistent -- i.e. Logic's MIDI Monitors show PB data as 7-bit 0-127/center=64, but the Piano Roll display shows it as 7-bit -64 to +63/center=0, and the Event List shows the full range of 14-bit data. Considering the short length of the article, I didn't feel I had the space to get into that level of detail, although, since many DAWs do display 14-bit PB data values, I might have tried to squeeze a mention in. Re: "sysex? rpn / npn? PC bank vs patch?".. Again, given the short article length, I focused on Channel Voice Messages and just the most common CCs. You knew it wasn't really going to be absolutely "Everything...About MIDI" in less than 2000 words, right..? ;-) Cheers, Joe
    • 4 years ago
    • By: Joe A
  • Rounik Admin
    Perhaps I was a bit over optimistic when choosing the headline/title for this article ;-) Alternatively, from mts' comments, it might be worth doing a more advanced part 2 on MIDI messages... :)
    • 4 years ago
    • By: Rounik Admin
  • charnjit
    Can I ask here about midi messege from DIY midi controller to FL studio?
    • 4 years ago
    • By: charnjit
  • EnguerrandL
    Hi Joe, Cool article to have an overview about MIDI language. There is one thing I don't undestand though : in the second paragraphe of note message you wrote this "Each of these (8-bit) Bytes can hold 7 bits of usable data, so the range of all MIDI message values can have 128 possible values (27), from 0–127". I don't understand your calculation here. Can you explain it please ?
    • 2 years ago
    • By: EnguerrandL
  • Joe A
    Hi EnguerrandL - Each bit in a Byte is made up of 1s and 0s, so that makes for 8 bits in each Byte, each with a 1 or a 0. With MIDi data the first bit in every Byte is reserved to identify the type of Byte—Status Byte or actual Data Byte—so that leaves 7 bits worth of 1s and 0s to describe the data itself. With 7 bits there are 128 possible combinations of 1s and 0s; where it says (27) in the article, it should read (2 to the 7th power), which equals 128—I guess the superscript formatting for the 7 got lost.. :-) Since the numbering starts with 0, that makes for a range of 128 possible data values, from 0-127, for each Byte. Cheers, Joe
    • 2 years ago
    • By: Joe A
  • EnguerrandL
    Ok it's clearer now, thanks a lot for answering Joe.
    • 2 years ago
    • By: EnguerrandL
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