Index last updated 1/7/2002
CAREFUL! THERE'S A "DOUBLECLICK" COOKIE ON THIS PAGE!
WHAT THIS SITE IS:
A place to find original MIDI files, links to other sites with MIDI files, software, and information for people who want to enjoy the works of others, create works of their own, or both!
The era of Napster and Gnutella hasn't got me down. MIDIs still download in about 1/1000th of the time of an mp3 of similar length. Plus, I can make music by clicking, dragging, and typing on the computer keyboard. I don't even need the "ebonies and ivories" (or 10 fingers, for that matter).
WHAT'S A MIDI?
MIDI, according to Random House Webster's College Dictionary, is an abbreviation for Musical Instrument Digital Interface which is "a standard means of sending digitally encoded information about music between electronic devices, as between synthesizers and computers" Sounds pretty simple to me, but if you're unfamiliar with MIDI, that might sound like gibberish to you.
Basically, a MIDI instrument can record a performance and play it back exactly by recording parameters such as pitch, velocity, duration, and pitch bend. As MIDI sounds are digitally created, playback is precisely the same as the original performance.
THE ANSWERS TO SOME OF THE OTHER "W" QUESTIONS:
I make music on my computer (formerly an Apple Performa 6400 PowerPC, and as of November 2002, a secondhand Mac G3) using a MIDI sequencer called MIDIGraphy. MIDI allows me to do things which are humanly impossible and allows me great creativity and flexibility. The first MIDI I did with MIDIGraphy was Postdiluvian Prelude. Originally, I wrote it as an instrumental for a typical rock ensemble, but MIDIGraphy gave me the opportunity to hear it played by an orchestra almost immediately! I was hooked! My first experiments were similar: I transcribed works I had written long ago (The Pyramids of Mars, Antediluvian Postlude, etc.) and updated them with new ideas. Soon I was creating entirely new music such as Broken Glass, Intelligent Artifice, and A Big Mess of Timelessness.
I can't say that learning MIDIGraphy from scratch was an easy task. I hope to soon add to this website a tutorial for getting started with MIDIGraphy. It's what I've used to create all the original MIDIs you will find on this site. I've been using it for over two and a half years, and I've forgotten a lot of the questions I had in the beginning, so any questions from newbies would be very useful towards the goal of designing this tutorial. If YOU have any questions about using MIDIGraphy, write to me (change "(at)" to "@"), and I'll be glad to help!
And now, for your enjoyment, MONDO MIDI !
NOW PLAYING: Peaches and Cream. A tune about the little things in life that can make you really happy -- even if they're imaginary!
The above MIDI file is best experienced with the Yamaha MIDPlug. If you don't see a little player above that says "Yamaha MIDPlug for XG," you can get it at:
This plug-in, available for both Netscape and Internet Explorer contains a "SoftSynth" which expires 90 days after installation. However, it's pretty cheap if you like it enough to shell out the bucks (or Yen). If you can't afford it, be sure to save the installer file. Since it's a fairly large download, this'll save you the time and cost of downloading it once again. (...especially if you have a Mac -- I know how to work around the expiration!)
Another decent (and FREE) MIDI player from Thomas Dolby (?!) that works as a plug-in in Netscape (Mac and PC) and Explorer (PC only) is Beatnik. It's available at:
System requirements: Mac (OS 8.6 - 9.1) and PC (Win95/98/NT/ME/2000), Netscape (4.5+) and Explorer (5.0+). if you need the earlier Mac version, you can download it by clicking here.
Caveat emptor! I say you can't hear the bass and tympanies so well in Beatnik. However, the King Crimson MIDIs on the Elephant Talk link (below) sound very different and actually quite good using the Beatnik player.
To be honest, a lot of the MIDI players I've heard on PCs suck (unless you've got an expensive soundcard). There are alternatives. The next best thing to the Yamaha plug-in above that I've heard is Apple's QuickTime, available for both Macs and PCs at:
QuickTime 6 is out, but you need a really new computer and system to use it!
If you're running at 200 MHz or less and aren't using OS 8.6 or higher,
stick with QT 4.1.2 for now!
To hear some of my other original MIDI files, click on the links below.
Intelligent Artifice - If Genuine Stupidity is in such abundance, what is the difficulty with Artificial Intelligence? This music was inspired by a banging piece of metal I heard as I was bicycling home from work one afternoon. Originally titled "What If?" because I wondered as I listened to this piece: What if Danny Elfman conspired with Jean-Michel Jarre to mix Friday the 13th with the X-Files and Inna-Gadda-da-Vida? What if Miles came back and took some XTC while listening? What if a little kid with a keyboard were allowed to fill in the gaps? What if?!
A Big Mess of Timelessness - A plethora of percussive instruments played by the 'puter in a pulse of polyrhythmic patterns as per my precise placement of preferred parameters.
The Shock! - At 1:47 AM on 9/21/99, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 hit Taiwan. I was there, and I survived, but over 2,300 others didn't. Several weeks later, we were still experiencing aftershocks of up to 6.9. It made quite a mark on me. Composing this saxophone quartet was my post-trauma therapy.
Punk Without A Cause - Originally written with the lyrics: "I love the smell of chemicals, in concentrated form, My brain is dead, my eyes are red, hey isn't that the norm?" Hahaha! MIDI has again expanded my ability to create. Not just punk, it contains a little bit of ska, a dash of fusion, and various influences from other realms. You can also obtain a Zen-like state by clicking the button near the top of the page -- really!
Light Blue Dream - Mystical Asian minimalism -- the "sequel" to the piece below. MIDI file added 7/7/99. Equally good with MIDPlug or QuickTime. Not nearly as good in Beatnik! (greatly reduced stereo, chintzy koto, harmonica-like cello...)
Piano Concerto 1999 - a ten and a half-minute musical 'chiaroscuro' inspired by a true tale of forbidden love that eventually had a happy ending -- she left me, and I found someone much better for me. The "prequel" to the piece above.
Antediluvian Postlude - electric jazz/blues -- the
"prequel" to the piece below. Graphics updated 6/23/99
Postdiluvian Prelude - short symphonic angst. Tympanies inaudible in Beatnik!
Somebody Kill that MOFO! - At first, this was a stereo experiment with drums, gunshots, and a ringing telephone, but it went a little out of control. This was the result. Classical-punk? MIDI file revised 6/28/99; page graphics revised 6/16/99. Warning: Gunshots barely-to-completely inaudible in Beatnik!
Broken Glass - Glass-ian freneticism. Board race music for classroom situations. I liked the music Philip Glass wrote for Koyaanisqatsi, but the tempo was too irregular for the purpose I had in mind, so I wrote this. MIDI file revised 7/29/99 -- new drums! Revised once more 8/21/99 -- reduced number of "pitch bend" events which caused some MIDI players to "get stuck"
The Pyramids of Mars - Imagine a stoned Beethoven hunched over a Casio toy keyboard (well, a very expensive one! This was actually composed on a Casio SK-1!) pondering the images that have been beamed back from space in this century. Don't know what happened to the "portamento" effect. Can you hear it in MIDPlug? Can anybody tell me why I can't hear it or how to fix this problem?
Buddha Is My Bruddah - a student of mine once wrote that she liked "Buddhist and pop music." I had a revelation: "Buddhist-Pop music!" I took the well-known "Ah mi tuo fo" Buddhist chant and mixed in the melody of Taiwan pop star Chang Hui-Mei(A-Mei)'s "Sister" ("Jie3 mei4" to you readers of Pinyin). Voilà -- Buddhist Pop!
My Categorized Collections of
MIDI-Related Links are now here!
Follow the links below to see
the rest of the stuff that used to be on this page.
(change "(at)" to "@" before mailing)