First proposed to the Audio Engineering Society by Dave Smith in 1981, with the first specification produced in 1983. Pronounced middy, an acronym for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, a standard adopted by the electronic music industry for controlling devices, such as synthesizers and sound cards, that emit music. At minimum, a MIDI representation of a sound includes values for the note’s pitch, length, and volume. It can also include additional characteristics, such as attack and delay time.

The MIDI standard is supported by most synthesizers, so sounds created on one synthesizer can be played and manipulated on another synthesizer. Computers that have a MIDI interface can record sounds created by a synthesizer and then manipulate the data to produce new sounds. For example, you can change the key of a composition with a single keystroke.

A number of software programs are available for composing and editing music that conforms to the MIDI standard. They offer a variety of functions: for instance, when you play a tune on a keyboard connected to a computer, a music program can translate what you play into a written score.

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