Adieu, MIDI Files of Mine

No More CMM MIDI FilesBased on the nearly-everywhere availability of high-speed Internet with its ability to deliver high-quality MP3 recordings and because of the ability of almost everyone’s computer to easily playback those recordings, I have decided to no longer provide links to MIDI files previously hosted on Creative Minds Music. I have now completed audio recordings of all of the music on the Creative Minds’ Music site and no longer link to any MIDI files there.

In the early days of the Internet (1986, onward) I conceived of Creative Minds’ Music and began to host the music that I created, online. At that time, Internet bandwidth and a host of no-longer-relevant factors made it virtually necessary for me to only host online MIDI files and not audio recordings as representation of my work. Unfortunately, most then-available browser-based MIDI-players sounded awful — and, many still do. Better MIDI players, QuickTime and Yamaha’s MIDPlug (no longer available for Mac?) became available. Overall, the audio quality of browser-based MIDI players still pales in comparison to recordings of sounds built into hardware-based musical instruments.

The three (3) recordings (below) intend to demonstrate the relatively-poor sound of an Internet-browser playing a MIDI file, compared to modern hardware and software instruments. All three (3) recordings (below) use the same MIDI file/sequence (musical notes, timing, and expression) – but, employ different “instruments” to play back the sounds. The song is one that I composed in March, 1998. For a while, I used this song as the theme-music for Creative Minds’ Music.

The composition’s MIDI file has six (6) tracks: Acoustic Piano, Strings, Celesta, Electric Piano, Nylon-String Guitar, and Electric Bass. To (hopefully) assist your listening comparison, I suggest that you alternately play/listen to a small amount of each recording, pause, and then listen to the same section of the piece played by each other instrument.

The first recording was made by recording the output of Apple QuickTime playing a MIDI file. As poor as the sound-quality is, there were (and still are) worse MIDI players than QuickTime.

The second recording was made using the General-MIDI (GM) sound-set built into my Kurzweil PC3K8.

The third recording was made using the best instrumental sounds in my current collection: Synthogy Ivory for piano, Garritan Personal Orchestra for strings, MrRay73 Electric Piano, and with Celeste, Guitar, and Bass parts provided by my Kurzweil PC3K8.

About MIDI

First published in 1983, the Musical Instrument Digital Interface Standard (MIDI, henceforth) describes a standard by which musical instruments and other machines can send messages to each other. Another standard, the General MIDI standard (GM, henceforth) codified a set of sounds and “program numbers” by which standardized sounds could be summoned from instruments that implemented the GM standard. This “standard” sound-set was an attempt to ensure that MIDI files played by different GM instruments would sound more-or-less the same (w.r.t. general timbre and balance). Early (1991) hardware-based GM instruments, like the Roland Sound Canvas set a standard for GM instruments later made by other major musical instrument manufacturers: Roland, Korg, Yamaha, and others.

About MIDI and Me

In 1983, as I was transitioning from serious-musician to serious-software-engineer, my first self-directed, computer-programming effort used my Commodore-64 and attached Passport MIDI interface to write software to implement interrupt-driven buffering of MIDI input into my Commodore-64.

MIDI and my primary MIDI/audio application (Performer, then — Digital Performer, now) have provided me with the ability to perform, record, and then sculpt/edit my musical performances and compositions. Years before the advent of MIDI — I dreamed that the day would eventually come when I could additionally refine previously rendered performances. Once, during my adolescence, when my Mother remarked that someone had played “perfectly,” I replied: “There is no such thing as a perfect performance.”

I still believe that is true…

1 comment to Adieu, MIDI Files of Mine

  • Ken Vines

    As always, very interesting stuff!
    First there was “Goodbye, Mr. Chips”…….then there was “Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road” and, finally, there is Goodbye, CMM MIDI Files!
    Let me take this time here to wish Mr. Stanley Morris Owen, Jr. a BoonDay of the Most Happiest Variety! Have a Gooden!

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