10.2 MIDI VERSUS DIGITAL AUDIO

The musical instrument digital interface (MIDI) encoding is an efficient way of extracting and representing semantic features from audio signals [Lehr93] [Penn95] [Hube98] [Whit00]. MIDI synthesizers, originally established in 1983, are widely used for musical transcriptions. Currently, the MIDI standards are governed by the MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA) in collaboration with the Japanese Association of Musical Electronics Industry (AMEI).

The digital audio representation contains the actual sampled audio data, while a MIDI synthesizer represents only the instructions that are required to play the sounds. Therefore, the MIDI data files are extremely small when compared to the digital audio data files. Despite being able to represent high-quality stereo data at 10–30 kb/s, there are certain limitations with MIDI formats. In particular, the MIDI protocol uses a slow serial interface for data streaming at 31.25 kb/s [Foss95]. Moreover, MIDI is hardware dependent. Despite such limitations, musicians prefer the MIDI standard because of its simplicity and high-quality sound synthesis capability.

10.2.1 MIDI Synthesizer

A simple MIDI system (Figure 10.2) consists of a MIDI controller, a sequencer, and a MIDI sound module. The keyboard is an example of a MIDI controller that translates the music notes into a real-time MIDI data stream. The MIDI data stream includes a start bit, 8 data bits, and one stop bit. A MIDI sequencer captures the MIDI data ...

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