If you think that MIDI files are an outdated technology, I would suggest you reconsider your opinion. MIDI files do not exactly sound great, unless you have relative expensive equipment. MP3 files, while larger, sound much better! Even so, MIDI files still have many uses if you are interested in music production.
If you stumbled upon this post, chances are that you are interesting in one of the following categories, where MIDI files are still very popular:
MIDI files are an incredible resource when it comes to creating music. They allow you to easily import and export notes across a variety of devices on different operating systems. It’s simple to jot down a few notes on your Android MIDI editor on the go. When you get home, you can import them on FL Studio or Ableton on your PC or Mac.
MIDI files are there to help you overcome your creative block. They are great even if you are simply searching for inspiration or trying to analyse how your favourite artist created his latest banger.
You can download MIDI files of popular songs or original melodies that you can remix in a few minutes at Carlo’s MIDI.
Learning to play the piano with MIDI files
Synthesia is a software that lets you practice playing the piano through a MIDI keyboard or with your own computer’s keyboard. After importing a MIDI sequence in the software, it shows you what notes to play. While this is not the standard way of learning an instrument, it is awesome if you are not comfortable reading music sheets.
Normal MIDI files do not work very well with Synthesia. Considering that most MIDI sequences are a close copy of the original song, it becomes apparent how trying to play them in Synthesia will get complicated quickly. Adapted MIDI files often come with a difficulty tag. Taking into consideration your skill level, they will let you proceed at higher difficulty levels at your own pace.
How MIDI files can help you study music theory
Have you ever wondered why a song chorus is so catchy, or how to reproduce a song you like? Regardless of whether you are a seasoned musician or a beginner, MIDI files allow you to break down the song into different instruments and parts. This lets you analyse chords and sequences with ease. It also lets you exercise your musician’s ear by isolating single tracks or removing some completely.
Software like MuseScore can help you turn a MIDI into actual sheet music, but be careful with that. The conversion from MIDI to sheet music still lacks a few important details that make sheet music readable or not. Thus, it can be a good idea to ask someone who actually knows how to read sheet music to help you. Something else you can do is to simply download a professionally made music sheet.
If you are a singer, MIDI files can be very helpful when practicing. When you need to rehearse a song on your own, a smartphone can easily play the MIDI file back to you.
While it is easier to download an MP3, a MIDI gives you control over each instrument in the track. For example, MIDI can help you hear better the voice notes by increasing the volume of the voice track. When you are confident you have practiced enough, you can lower the volume of the voice track or just mute it.
Equipment such as a sound module can render MIDI files and make them sound like a real orchestra or band. Connecting them to your audio system, they allow you to replace a sick member of your band, or letting you perform solo. Then again, MP3 files can sound good as well. However, having a well-made MIDI file, with exact velocity and notes can be even better.
While MIDI files have been around for decades, they still have many different uses. Whether you are still making your first steps in the journey that is learning to play or create music, or you have already several years of experience, they can be of great help in enhancing your production.