MIDI, or Musical Instrument Digital Interface, is a standard protocol for the interchange of musical information between musical instruments, synthesizers, keyboard controllers, sound cards, computers and all other electronic instruments from all manufacturers. In other words, a MIDI file (with file extension ‘.mid’ or ‘.midi’) translates music – like what notes are to be played, when they are to be played, how long each note is to be held, with what loudness, pitch and so on – and then reproduces it on another instrument, much like a human reading a music sheet.
A MIDI file is very small, often as small as 10 KB for a 1-minute playback (a .wav file of the same duration requires 5 to 10 MB of disk space). This is because it doesn’t contain audio waves like audio file formats do, but instructions on how to recreate the music. Another advantage of the file containing instructions is that it is quite easy to change the performance by changing, adding or removing one or more of the instructions – like note, pitch, tempo, and so on – thus creating a completely new performance. This is the main reason for the file to be extremely popular in creating, learning, and playing music.
MIDI actually consists of three distinctly different parts – the physical connector, the message format, and the storage format. The physical connector connects and transports data between devices; the message format (considered to be the most important part of MIDI) controls the stored data and the connected devices; and the storage format stores all the data and information.
Today, MIDI is seen more of a way to accomplish music, rather than a format or a protocol. This is why phrases like “composing in MIDI” and “creating MIDI” are quite common musicians.
MIDI files may be converted to MP3, WAV, WMA, FLAC, OGG, AAC, MPC on any Windows platform using Total Audio Converter.
- MIDI to AAC, WMA, WAV, APE
- MIDI to iPod, iPhone, iPad
- MIDI to any cell phone