(For the Elementary General Classroom)

MIDI Diagram
(Connecting your MIDI Equipment)
MIDI Basics
(Getting started with MIDI)
Compositions on the Web (How to publish MIDI files)
MIDI Links
(Helpful MIDI sites for an elementary music educator)
MIDI Resources 
(Useful resources for the music educator)


MIDI Basics

(Getting started with MIDI)

Once your equipment is set up properly (see MIDI diagram), there are certain configurations that need to be made in the software program:

Select the port that will be sending and receiving MIDI signals (select one).  Look for this in the MIDI set-up menu.  Either the printer or the modem port should work.  The software program must know from which port to expect the MIDI signals.

Choose the MIDI drivers (look in MIDI set-up).  This is special software needed to communicate between the interface and the software program.  Musictime and Master Tracks work well with the Passport drivers that are included in the programs.

Channels must be set in the software so the program knows the destination for the MIDI signals once they come through the port.

Next the software needs to know what device (keyboard or other hardware) will be sending the sounds.  In MIDI software, instrument sounds will be called "patch," "program," or "preset." The software will probably have commonly used instruments as choices to select.  In Master Tracks, this is selected in the track editor (click program name, then in the device dialogue, scroll down the listed devices to select). The following illustration shows the General MIDI menu in Master Tracks. Track 2 is playing chords using the acoustic nylon guitar #25.

If your keyboard is not listed in the device menu, you may be able to type in the settings under a generic device menu, or select General MIDI if your instrument is General MIDI.  Instrument sounds are called up with a numeric value that need to be specified in the program.  Somewhere in the device menu you will probably need to type the name of the sound and its program number.

The following illustrations shows the chords playing on track two, channel B2.  The bass line is on track 3, channel B3.  Nothing is recorded in track one, which could be the melody line.  (All three tracks are configured for B, which is the printer port because this song is recorded on a computer that has a built-in modem and only the printer port available).


Compositions on the Web

The compositions in this website were created in a sequencing program.

MIDI files
MIDI format files were saved as Standard MIDI files. Windows format will automatically add the extension ".mid" Macintosh format must have the extension added as ".mid".

In the sequencing program,
    1.From File choose Save as, then Standard MIDI file, name "My Song" as "My Song.mid" (use your own file name of course). Be sure to save the file in the same folder as the web page file.
    2.In Netscape Composer, create link to "My Song.mid"

Quicktime format

1.In the sequencing program, choose Save As, then Standard MIDI file, "My Song"
2.In Quicktime Movie Player, choose open "My Song"
3.Save As "My Song.mov".  Macintosh format must have the extension added as ".mov".  Be sure to save the file in the same folder as the web page file.
4.In Netscape Composer or other HTML editor, create a link to "My Song.mov".

Important: Browsers won't recognize the midi or movie files unless this extension is added.

(Standard MIDI files can also be inserted into Clarus or Microsoft Word as an object.  They will then be converted to Quicktime Movies in these two applications).

Once the composition is in the desired format and linked in the browser or other HTML editor, the files need to be uploaded to the web directory, using an FTP program (such as Macintosh Fetch, or Windows WS-FTP_95).  All files, images, or song files need to be in the same file folder on the server directory.

Extra Help:
Plug-Ins--How-to send Audio Playback on websites to your synthesizer or MIDI keyboard



MIDI Links

ATMI--Association for Technology in Music Instruction, Peter Webster, David Williams
MIDI channels, voices, timbres and Modes--comprehensive article by Phil Rees of UK.  Acknowledges that the use of modes is changed by more modern instruments, yet gives excellent visuals to help understand this confusing aspect of MIDI.
Midimusic at the Mining Company- much information to support use of MIDI, including all styles of MIDI files and the MIDI Composers' Exchange.
MMA MIDI Manufacturers Association
MMA General MIDI specifications
MMA  General MIDI Percussion Key map (what note plays which percussion sound)
Plug-Ins--How-to send Audio Playback on websites to your synthesizer or MIDI keyboard
whatis.com  Technical Definitions


MIDI Resources

Lehrman, Paul D. (1992).  Generating General MIDI. Electronic Musician, 8 (9), 54-60.
     Discusses some of the variations that can happen with General MIDI files on different  hardware devices.

Rudolph, Thomas E. (1996). Teaching Music with Technology.  Chicago: GIA Publications, Inc.
    Written by nationally recognized teacher, clinician, administrator in music technology.  Includes foreward by Don Muro, internationally known composer, performer and educator in electronic music.  Book covers good variety of topics.  Chapters on computer-assisted music instruction and electronic keyboard labs receive much coverage.  Instrumental instruction receives some coverage, not included in many other sources.  143 teaching strategies included. Introduction includes technology as referenced in 1983 A Nation at Risk, 1994 Goals 2000: Educate America Act ,  and the National Standards for Music  (pp 5-6).  Chapters list pertinent terms, review questions and references.  National Standards referenced throughout book.

Williams, Brian David and Peter Richard Webster (1996). Experiencing Music Technology. New York: Schirmer Books.
    Written by professors who are both musicians and music educators.  Designed as text for undergraduate and graduate music technology, gives historical perspectives, practical applications, hardware and software discussions within Macintosh and PC formats for the technology novice.  Every example of text or illustrations uses musical examples.  Multimedia receives four chapters and extensive example of creating a multimedia document for teaching a musical concept.   This is the one book found which brings music, technology and education together in a comprehensive but understandable manner.  A must have source!

Wilkinson, Scott (!997).  Square One: General MIDI. Electronic Musician, 13 (11), 120-124.
    Great definition and discussion of General MIDI.  Helpful information for compatability of sequences from one keyboard to another.

Wilkinson, Scott (1996).  Genesis of a Standard. Electronic Musician, 12 (6), 103-109.
    Helpful tips for creating standard MIDI files for sharing with others.


MIDI Diagram

 A serial cable connects the computer to the Interface.  This cable is connected to either the modem port or the printer port.  Music software then must be configured to understand which port is being used.  Look for this under MIDI settings. MIDI cables connect the interface to the keyboard: In goes to Out, Out goes to In.  Average lengths are 6-15 feet.  Any longer may cause problems in transmitting the MIDI signals. If the keyboard does not have its own speakers (the more expensive models will not), sound must be sent out from the keyboard to a source, such as amp & speakers, or a stereo system.  Headphones may be used instead, but this will be for individual use only.



last updated:  7/4/09