MIDI is an acronym for Musical Instrument Digital Interface and it has been the language that controls digital instruments and how they connect to your PC since the early 1980’s. In fact MIDI has been the one constant in the ever changing landscape of digital music and has hardly changed since 1983. When ever a keyboard is attached to a PC, MIDI is involved.
MIDI is NOT audio. It is a digital language that is written as you perform that interprets your performance and then plays it back with any type of sampled sound.
How does MIDI help me save money?
If you have an Apple computer purchased within the past 5-6 years, you have something called Garage Band installed on it. With Garage Band you can create MIDI tracks. These are tracks of information (not actual audio) that can be sent to a studio to be added to your song session. So instead of sitting in the studio laying down these types of simple tracks while the clock ticks, you can do it in the comfort of your own home. Where the clock ain’t ticking!
Here’s what you could possibly add at home to save studio time and money:
- hand percussion sounds
- simple keyboard parts
- synth pads
- odd or sampled sounds
- bring in specific loops you have discovered
Sounds great! What do I have to do?
Have your engineer give you a reference mix of your song that you can sync to. Import it into Garage Band or something similar. Create the MIDI tracks and start adding your sounds. When you’re done, export the entire MIDI track so that it matches the length of the audio track the engineer gave you (this way it’ll sync up) and bring it to the studio on a small drive or CD.
What other software can I use for this?
There is a ton of software that does exactly what I just described, but if you don’t want to spend a lot of money and get into learning something you really don’t want to have to learn, then Garage Band is the best and it comes FREE on every Apple computer. Here are a few other names though:
- Garage band
- Ableton Live
- FL Studio
- Digital Performer
To find out more about these specific applications, I recommend Googling the names and doing your own research. It’s the BEST way to learn.
Here’s a review site if you’re lazy: http://midi-software-review.toptenreviews.com/