MIDI 2.0

In 1983, the first MIDI specification was published. And now, in 2020, we finally have a specification for MIDI 2.0!

MIDI, or Musical Instrument Digital Interface, was introduced to allow the various electronic synthesizers of the time to talk to each other. This was a major advance, allowing musicians to control an orchestra of synths with a single keyboard. It allows the transfer of information about notes, velocities, effects, sounds, and a wide variety of other things.

But there were a few limitations, the main one being that the conversation was one-way. In order to get a two-way conversation, you needed to make 2 separate connections, and although the relatively recent advent of MIDI over USB did change that, the conversations in either direction were not really connected in any way.

So with the advances in synth electronics, and the way people use musical instruments, it was definitely time for some improvements. Enter MIDI 2.0, which provides two-way communication, automated setup, control data improvements, and lots of other useful stuff.

To obtain the complete set of five core MIDI 2.0 specifications, as ratified at the MMA (MIDI Manufacturers Association), all you need to do is sign up for a no-obligation, free membership at https://www.midi.org/midi-signup.

Companies that would like to become MMA members to access the MMA’s software and tools for MIDI 2.0 development can now apply online here.

Gene Joly, the MMA’s current President, states

“We are happy to provide access to the complete MIDI 2.0 specifications to everyone, and believe MIDI 2.0 will unleash a level of innovation in music and the arts we haven’t seen since MIDI 1.0 changed the world. All of us are excited about what MIDI 2.0 will bring to music and the arts.”