Does the future of Music lie with the Midi Interface?


New member
My first experiences with writing electronic music were actually in the form of MIDI--specifically, with Cakewalk. I didn't have the money to buy a keyboard or even a module, but I could download Cakewalk and make stuff that way. It was fun, but as my freshman year roommate put it, it tended to sound a bit too much like "video game music." The quality and range really opened up when I started using FruityLoops.

On the other hand, I don't compose string quartets anymore, more's the pity.

I used trackers for a while, but although they were fun to do live stuff with (a lot easier to drop things in and out of the mix and fuck stuff around than other stuff that was extant at the time, at least for me), they were pretty limiting in terms of what they could do with samples. I mean, it was kind of badass to be composing in DOS, but still.

On the other hand, I thought FruityLoops was kind of limiting too until Tom Ellard said he did all his work in it--and gave some pointers on how to really fuck around with the thing. You can find them in the research section on Sevcom.

On another angle, there's a long history of music technologists trying to create formats that allow music to be released as an interactive medium. When quadrophonic and then multichannel audio formats were developed there was talk of releasing albums in multitrack format to allow users to do their own mix. Same with multimedia -- one of my CEOs used to go on about multimedia meaning listeners could "conduct" classical music.

This failed for two reasons. One was copyright problems. The other was that a lot of the value of music is in the mix and the mastering -- basically, most people can't be bothered to do it, they like having the finished article. The AIFF-quality files required would probably be a bit big for 512K broadband.

This is too bad, as I've been interested in seeing stuff like this for a long time. But I think it's a lot more possible now, if the interest was there. You could stream the tracks into a Flash app that had a virtual mixer to go around the copyright issues, and you could have some sections pre-mixed so you weren't getting all the channels (the drums would all be together, the backing vocals, the guitars, etc.). You wouldn't have total freedom, but you would be able to change it a lot in terms of EQ and things like that. I'd love to see it. Plus, with the new era of creative commons copyrights and open source, I think musicians would be interested in doing a more transparent version of this as well, at least to the degree that they're unencumbered by labels. I wouldn't want unmixed files to be the ONLY delivery option, but to have it there as a possibiltiy would be nice.