Instructional MIDI Programming Series

As I turn another page in the chapter of my latest release—EP—two new projects are brewing. You can read about them at the Current Projects page here. While both new projects involve some Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) programming, Simulacrum has me back in the role of the detailed MIDI programmer, programming down to note-by-note dynamics, or “volume” (called note ‘velocity’ in technical language), and with what rightly can be said to be an obsessive attention to the rhythmic variety of the drum programming, i.e. fills, syncopations, polyrhythms and displaced beats.

This project may take a little less than two months depending on my availability. However, I will continue to listen to the audio and to make adjustments to its programming—the drums in particular—and also to the mix throughout the summer, if not longer. This sustained effort has proven to be not just overly redundant, but to yield a true professional result, with organic and human-sounding programming despite being limited to a one-man team with 100% in-house production. Yep. You heard me right. Except for the lead singer I am going it alone on this EP.

It seems like such a wonderful opportunity to share my knowledge about MIDI programming; specifically, how to arrive at human-sounding programmed music without evoking the impression of electronic music—i.e. electronica, electro pop, techno, etc.—and its baggage. I just can’t pass up the opportunity.

I plan to organize the tutorials into three separate posts:

  1. Basic programming
  2. Volume variation (Dynamics)
  3. Variation of the content with an emphasis on rhythm

There is also room to blog about engineering and mixing, although I am not sure I want to get into that.

The ideas you can expect to glean from these tutorials are concrete. However, the specific application of the concepts will differ from programmer to programmer and project to project. You will have to adapt my concepts to your specific case. I can say bluntly that I have perfected the MIDI programming process to my desired end with rigorous and intensive productions over the last three years, and my first experience with MIDI dating back to 2002.

Some basic technical knowledge about MIDI will be necessary to understand this series. Although understanding MIDI programming and speaking about it with a professional lexicon is a desirable skill, I will try to keep the language in the vernacular when jargon is not essential to understand what the exact aspect of MIDI programming that I am addressing does.

I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge with you. Hope you can learn something from me. ~ AD

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