Programming sound

Søren Hauberg soren at
Mon Sep 5 18:11:45 UTC 2005

Lee Braiden wrote:
> MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface.  It's basically a 
> standardised programming language, which musical instruments like 
> synthesisers understand.  For example, you can connect your electronic 
> keyboard to a computer via a midi interface, then send it MIDI commands to 
> play note X using instrument Y, volume Z, reverb A, etc.  If your sound 
> card's driver supports MIDI synthesising, or you set up a software 
> synthesiser, you can also send MIDI commands to /dev/sequencer (I think 
> that's the right one), and get a similar result.
> The MIDI file formats came about, I guess, because electronic keyboards have 
> disk drives, and allow saving compositions.  So... yes, it's all related, 
> just a bit bigger than you realised :)
> p.s.: there are libraries which will play midi files directly for you, if you 
> compose them earlier in MIDI sequencing software.  Or, you might want to look 
> into "tracker" software, which is similar to a MIDI sequencer in purpose, but 
> more computer-oriented, and game-oriented.  I know that they DO usually 
> support things like simple sine waves.  Again, you can save tracker 
> compositions to files, and just play them using libraries like mikmod from 
> within your software.
Wow, thanks for explaining. This is the great thing about asking 
questions - sometimes you get answers :-)


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