What is MIDI?


Quick Answer

MIDI refers to a set of instructions that tells an electronic device, such as a musical instrument, a computer sound card or a cell phone, how to generate a particular sound. The acronym MIDI stands for "Musical Instrument Digital Interface."

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Full Answer

When using MIDI to record music, the instructions are saved as a .MID file. When a file is played back on a device, it follows the programmed instructions. Codes are embedded in recording MIDI. For example, Note on, Note off and Pitch Wheel Change specify what key is played, how high, fast, loud or long it is played and when it is stopped. While MIDI files can be played in many devices, including Karaoke machines, the sound will be a bit different because of varying audio sources.

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