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MIDI Reference

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Table of Contents

First Song as Initializer
Use MIDI Data to Play Notes
A Tuning Song
Programmable Messages
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An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.

- Victor Hugo

First Song as Initializer

Since KeyMaster goes to the first patch of the first song whenever you open a document, you might want to fill that patch with commands that initialize your MIDI setup. For example, in the enter message of the first patch, you could:
  • Send tune requests to those instruments that need them,
  • Set the volumes of all instruments, and
  • Set other controllers like pitch bend and modulation to 0.

Use MIDI Data to Play Notes

You can use KeyMaster to play some notes for you. Use MIDI commands in a patch's enter message to play a note (note on, value, velocity) then use MIDI commands in the exit message to release the note.

A MIDI note on or off message consists of two parts, note number and velocity. Notes range from 0 to 127; middle C is note number 60 (hex 0x3C). Velocity range is 0 - 127, where 0 is the same as note off.

A note is not turned off until either a note off command is sent or (on most synths) an all-notes-off command is sent.

You can also enter note commands into a programmable MIDI message and send the message from a song or by hand.

See the MIDI reference for a fuller discussion of MIDI messages.

A Tuning Song

You might want to set up a song that helps you tune your instruments by sending the proper program changes and entering note on and note off commands that play the tuning note on different synths. (Yes, you actually had to tune most older synths.) For example,

Patch One

Enter message: program changes and note-ons for reference synth A and another synth (B).

Exit message: note-off for synth B.

Patch Two

Enter message: program change and note-on for synth C.

Exit message: note-off for synth C.

Patch Three

Enter message: program change and note-on for synth D.

Exit message: note-offs for synth D and reference synth A.

Programmable Messages

Programmable MIDI messages can be used for a number of things. For example, you can have one message for each of the "start" (250, hex 0xFA), "continue" (251, hex 0xFB), and "stop" (252, hex 0xFC) MIDI commands to control your sequencer or drum machine. This turns your computer keyboard into a MIDI control panel.

You might want to have a message that resets all of your synths to full volume.

See your MIDI devices' manuals for the specific MIDI commands to which each responds.

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Contents © 1995 - 2000 by Jim Menard; All Rights Reserved.