Technology will be praised in a yearlong celebration

MIDI celebrates 30th birthday at CES 2013

Three decades ago, two competing synthesiser manufacturers joined forces to create MIDI. This year, the revolutionary technology will be praised in a yearlong ‘MIDI Makes Music’ celebration.

Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) enables people to use electronic musical instruments along with computers and mobile devices to compose, record, notate, arrange, perform and learn about music.

The ‘MIDI Makes Music’ campaign previews the past, present and future of the technology at CES 2013 this week, and is designed to educate consumers about the benefits of MIDI technology. The tribute continues later this month at the NAMM show 2013, which is where the technology was first demonstrated in 1983.

"The story of MIDI technology is very important to tell because it’s not just a proven technology, but one that has widespread support in the international consumer electronics industry and will remain a valuable technology for CE products into the future," said Tom White, president, MIDI Manufacturers Association.

The introduction of MIDI coincided with a boom in computer games. As the computer industry was exploding and early PC games were distributed on floppy disks, MIDI was ideal for composing computer game music because of its small file size.

MIDI has come a long way from the days of floppy disks and 8-bit audio. Nowadays composers can create music with astonishingly realistic instruments and use their iOS device as a fully functioning MIDI control surface. Although there are some who are keeping the retro MIDI sounds alive with the Chiptunes music genre.

Personally, my favourite collection of MIDI tunes come from SEGA’s 1992 Mega Drive/Genesis game Sonic The Hedgehog 2. Its iconic soundtrack was composed by Masato Nakamura who created the soundtrack on an Atari computer.

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