In the Classroom | Teaching Techniques | Applications | MIDI Studio Setup

NoteWorthy Composer in the Classroom - MIDI Studio Setup

What is MIDI? MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. It can be used to refer to the protocol, the interface and the file format. It was developed as a standard so musical instruments could talk to each other and so musical instruments could talk to computers. The protocol sends messages such as note on and note off. Because it is a list of instructions on how to generate sounds, a MIDI file is different from an audio file that actually includes the sounds. Thus, a MIDI file is much smaller than an audio file. A MIDI file is not based on visual notation, but on commands to turn notes on and off. General MIDI (GM) is a standard list of 128 instruments so files will play back as the composer intended. For more general information on MIDI, see the MIDI Explanations section on the Music Links page.

The following is a basic overview of what you will need for setting up a MIDI studio in your classroom.

Computer with a Sound Card - See that the sound card supports 16 MIDI channels, has a MIDI/Joystick Port (for optional MIDI keyboard input), 128 GM instruments, wave table synthesis.

Notation Software -  Notation software, such as NoteWorthy Composer, is to music what a word processor is to words. Notation software focuses on showing the notation and editing the notation. NoteWorthy Composer allows you to enter notes from the computer keyboard, play back songs, print songs and work with MIDI files (*.mid). A MIDI keyboard is not required to use notation software.

MIDI Keyboard (optional) - If the notation software supports entry from a MIDI keyboard, you may want to consider purchasing one. The main thing to make sure of is that the keyboard is MIDI compatible. You can get a MIDI keyboard starting at US $90. NoteWorthy Composer supports step entry (enter note pitches as you press keys without duration) and live recording (record what you are playing with duration).

MIDI Adapter Cable (needed for MIDI keyboard) - The MIDI cable needed to connect to your computer will have 2 5-Pin DIN connectors on one end (for connecting to the MIDI keyboard) and a DB15 Male and Female connector on the other end (to connect to your joystick/MIDI port and have access available to game port). The average cost of this cable is US $15-30.

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