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Page added in June, 1997 [Page: First 2 3 4]

About The Author

Dan McAvinchey is a composer/guitarist living in Raleigh, NC.

He believes every musician or composer has the power to release their own record.


His CD release on Guitar Nine was entitled "Guitar Haus".

Please direct all comments and suggestions for future columns to Dan McAvinchey.

© Dan McAvinchey

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Understanding and Applying the MIDI Interface

MIDI, the Musical Instrument Digital Interface, can give the home or project studio owner the ability to be more creative, permits computer control over tape decks, sound modules, and drum machines, and allows composers to write music that no human could ever perform. Not bad for a communications protocol originally invented to allow one synthesizer to control another!

If you didn't grow up following the MIDI revolution, you may be confused about how to best learn about what MIDI can do for you. Following are reviews of several excellent books concentrating on the MIDI interface, and how to best exploit the advantages of MIDI. Good luck!

Note: All books reviewed may be purchased through our association with Amazon.com Books -- simply click on the book cover to order.


Practical MIDI Handbook

By: R. A. Penfold

This third edition of the very successful Practical MIDI Handbook has been completely revised and updated with new developments in MIDI. There's a new chapter on General MIDI and the book has been produced in a larger format to allow more extensive use of charts and photographs. If you want a basic down to earth introduction to MIDI and its capabilities, this is the book for you. It explains the basics of MIDI and what it can do for you, shows how computers can be used in a MIDI set-up and describes the use of sequencers in music making. There's a section on MIDI instruments - keyboards, drum machines, guitars, wind instruments etc. - and MIDI devices like mergers, pedals, effects units, switches and sync units. There's some practical advice on connecting up a MIDI system, and the book is nicely rounded off with a glossary of terms. For a readable introduction to MIDI, look no further. PC Publications, ©1995 160 pp.


Music Technology Reference Book

By: Peter Buick & Vic Lennard

Don't waste your time searching for information - with the Music Technology Reference Book you'll have it at your fingertips. It's an indispensable reference source for the musician or sound professional working in the recording, broadcast, live, video, computer, multimedia, post production and theater industries. It's organized into convenient sections - MIDI, synthesis, sampling and tapeless recording, music, recording and production, audio and sound, electronics, computers and multimedia, and a list of industry contacts. Clearly laid out and packed full of information. Cimino Publishing Group, ©1995 160 pp.

Books also worth checking out:

  • MIDI For The Professional - Paul Lehrman & Tim Tully
    • The second edition of this excellent guide to MIDI for the serious MIDI user details virtually every category of MIDI device and software, as well as providing creative advice and reams of in-depth technical information. Lehrman and Tully give tips on the best ways to use your gear as well as suggestions for expanding your MIDI system. Contains chapters on MIDI programming, MIDI limitations, music education applications, sound editing, techniques for sequencing, synchronization, multimedia, post-production and more.
  • The Musician's Guide to MIDI - Christian Braut
    • Since its appearance in 1983, MIDI has become the universal communications standard for musical information. However, the MIDI language isn't easy to master. This book's comprehensive tutorial approach removes the mystery with an in-depth examination that takes the user from basic concepts to sophisticated techniques. Covers every major feature of the MIDI standard and targets the most likely users of MIDI products--instrumentalists who create music electronically. Includes products overviews.
  • The MIDI Manual - David Miles Huber
    • Puts MIDI to work for any beginning- and intermediate-level user. A comprehensive guide to Musical Instrument Digital Interfacing, with strategies for using MIDI in your own compositions. Provides introductory coverage of electronic music technology. Studies the multiple uses of MIDI. Includes a reference and equipment guide with advice on which system to purchase. Written for music students, professional musicians, and audio engineers.

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