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MIDIs of long songs

Posted by atari2600land, 12 August 2018 · 140 views

Okay, so MIDIs are a way obsolete file type, but I have a collection of them on the internet. Long time readers of this blog know my fascination with long songs. So this collection has a bunch of long songs in MIDI form. You name a long song, it's probably here. If not, then get to work and I'll add it. Pink Floyd, Rush, ELP, and Dream Theater are just a few of the prog bands I have long MIDIs of. Of course, I had to make a few Dream Theater ones (I did NOT make the Octavarium one, though. It is impressive and way beyond my capability.)
Right now I am working on my interpretation of the Sonic Youth song "The Diamond Sea" off their oddly-titled album "Washing Machine." I just started on it, and it's 3 minutes long so far. If you just happen to be a Sonic Youth fan and are curious, I have what I have up so far here. I am the same guy who made all the Nine Inch Nails Ghosts MIDIs, and I would like Mr. Reznor to get busy making a sequel to that album, but he probably will never do that.
Beside me is my portable keyboard, a fifty-million year-old Yamaha Voice Bank PSS-270 I had since I was a kid. It has an A key broke off, from when I was angry that I couldn't play a song right. I use it to find the notes from the song. It takes a whole bunch of listens to get it close to what I want. I put it on my lap and rock out trying to find the right notes.
I found a bug in my Game Boy game, and am trying to get rid of it, although numerous unsuccessful attempts have left me quite frustrated.

Huh? I had no idea that MIDI was obsoleted. How is music data transferred to synthesizers nowadays? I'll agree that as a system independent format for transferring sheet music, it is terrible and has been replaced with things like MusicXML for software that supports it.

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It's what I read somewhere. I guess it's untrue.

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I suppose it depends whom you ask. I found discussions dating as far back as 2005 regarding MIDI was obsolete, so perhaps it has been out of style for more than a decade. On the other hand e.g. Microsoft published (republished?) articles on how to generate MIDI files as late as May 2018.


Probably one needs to separate the data transfer protocol from device to device (usually through MIDI cables) from the file format of recording events to be played back, that the transfer protocol might still be updated but that the events are generated on the fly based on some other music container format that has more information.


The MIDI Manufacturers Association (conveniently abbreviated MMA) lists specifications for Standard MIDI (SMF), General MIDI (GM) and Extensible Music Format (XMF). Possibly it is the good old GM format that is being phased out for newer formats that hold more information.

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I guess MIDI as a format for sharing music is obsolete.  Back in the earlier days of the World Wide Web, when it was all pastures around here and dinosaurs roam the network, it was customary to download your music in MIDI format to play on your SoundBlaster card (or Yamaha, if you had the bucks).


The alternative as WAV files, but those were too big, so it was mostly used for short samples from movies and TV shows (like memes are done in pictures today).


Eventually, MODs, WAVs, and MIDIs were replaced by MP3s, and the rest is history.


However, as a device interchange format, MIDI is still popular with modern synths and software.



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