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Download the New MIDI 2.0 Specifications for Free

Geary Yelton

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MIDI 2.0 Specifications

MIDI 1.0 isn’t dead, but it’s been reincarnated. Long live MIDI 2.0!

Now available from The MIDI Association, the complete MIDI 2.0 Specifications are ready for you to download and read for free.

You do have to be a MIDI Association member, but membership is also free, and anyone who uses MIDI can join. All you have to do is sign up here and download the documents here. Documents include the MIDI Specification 2.0 Overview, MIDI-CI Specification, and three other files in PDF format.

Even if you’re not a member, you can read an informative description of the specifications here.

This Will Change How We Make Music in the Future

According to The MIDI Association, “MIDI 2.0 enhances virtually all aspects of the original MIDI 1.0 spec, which revolutionized the world of technology and the arts when it was introduced in 1983. Unlike the original spec, which consisted of a transmitter talking to a receiver, the new specification now enables two-way communication between MIDI devices. This allows for features like automatic setup, based on one device querying another, obtaining a response, and configuring itself. This also ensures backward compatibility. If a MIDI 2.0 device can’t carry on a two-way conversation, it recognizes that it’s talking to a MIDI 1.0 device, and adjusts its communications accordingly.

From the MIDI 2.0 Specifications

“Aside from improving ease of use and workflow, MIDI 2.0 delivers more nuanced expressiveness for electronic instruments. It’s now possible to convey the same kind of subtle expression normally associated with acoustic instruments. We owe this to higher-resolution dynamics and control data, vastly extended controller options (including per-note controllers for exceptional articulation), and simplified controller assignments.

“The complete set of five core MIDI 2.0 specifications, as ratified at the MMA (MIDI Manufacturers Association) meeting during the Winter NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) convention in Anaheim, California, is now available for download to developers and the general public.

“With over 23,000 members in 113 countries, TMA and its associated website have become the epicenter for everything relating to MIDI. That includes news, applications, articles and tutorials, downloads of the MIDI specification, discussion forums, and more. 

“Gene Joly, the MMA’s current President, states, ‘We are happy to provide access to the complete MIDI 2.0 specifications to everyone, and believe MIDI 2.0 will unleash a level of innovation in music and the arts we haven’t seen since MIDI 1.0 changed the world. All of us are excited about what MIDI 2.0 will bring to music and the arts.'”

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