MIDI Software Foreword

midi software

MIDI Software is a piece of digital set of instructions  designed for the sole purpose of handing the Music Instrument Digital Interface on devices. These devices can be computers, instruments and controllers.

In most cases, MIDI software is just a piece of code or library which is included as a feature on larger software packages.  The term MIDI software is also referred as sequencing software.

Popular Applications of MIDI Software

  • Music notation software: Notation software is a tool designed to help music composers to create their music. They provide an user interface which allows writing music using score sheets. In this case MIDI is used to generate a real time playback of what we are writing. You can choose instruments, add tracks (up to 16 for some sound cards), add dynamics (piano,forte,mezzo piano etc),tempo changes and everything you need to create complex compositions. Some packages such as Sibelius provides extensions to VST instruments, which makes the playback sounds very realistic.
  • MP3 to MIDI converter and backwards: These kinds of programs are very popular because they are capable of performing a conversion between formats such as MP3 to MIDI or MIDI to MP3. For example, Timidity++ can perform a conversion from MIDI to WAV. Nowadays,most digital audio workstations have this functionality (MIDI to MP3) included in their basics functions.
  • MIDI recording software: This is ideal to record your musical ideas. The engine captures all data from the MIDI port (hardware) via MIDI keyboard or any other device, and passes it to the software for edition. Modern notation software and DAW packages include this functionality.
  • MIDI controller software: This software as it sounds, instead of using MIDI protocol features to generate music, they use it more like to control some features of any device or of the software package itself. For example, some console mixers use the MIDI protocol to control volume, pan and other features. MIDI Keyboards have this functionality on sustain pedals and pitch wheel. Some guitar effect workstations use them as switches to control and mix effects.
  • MIDI file editor: A simple file MIDI file editor.
  • MIDI sequencer software and playback devices: These act as playback programs for MIDI files. Most music reproduction programs can handle this task. For example, Windows Media Player, WinAMP and Timidity++. Sequencers have more tasks than simple reproduction. They can play a sequence of notes by step. Loop a track between patterns and more. Most digital audio workstations (DAW) have this feature.
  • MIDI software synthesizer:Synthesizers use MIDI data to perform their playbacks. They use this data as a MIDI render would. However, the synthesizer creates music using real time processing of wave forms and effects.

Choosing MIDI software to fit your needs

If you are a talented musical compositor you may need notation software. Alternatively, if you only want to perform a conversion from MP3 to MIDI you will need a MIDI render. Perhaps you need the whole software package. There are packages that include all listed above or at least the most necessary.

For example, Cakewalk sonar Producer edition has all those features except conversion from MP3 to MIDI. However, that can be implemented via plug-ins.

Here is a useful list of software packages:
Musecore (Notation Software) Freeware. Available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
Noteworthy Composer (Notation Software) Shareware. Windows Only
Sibelius (Notation Software) Propetary.
Finale (Notation Software) Propetary.
Propellerhead Reason (Synthetizer composer software) Propetary.
Cakewalk Sonar Producer (Digital Audio Workstation) Propetary.