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Designing Web Audio & CD-ROM by Dylan Thede, Josh Beggs

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Beatnik authoring system

The Beatnik authoring system includes three elements: the Beatnik Player, the Beatnik Audio Engine, and the Beatnik Editor. All three work in conjunction to mix and play back music and sound effects that are composed of a hybrid of MIDI-based instrument sounds and web-optimized digitized audio samples.

MIDI forms the core of the Beatnik System. Beatnik uses MIDI-like messages to control the Beatnik playback sound engine. Other authoring systems such as Flash must compile and upload MP3-compressed sound files for playback in a browser. In addition to compressed MP3 audio files, Beatnik compiles and uploads text-based MIDI instructions that trigger the pre-loaded bank of Beatnik MIDI instrument sounds to play back your musical score or composition. Once these standard instruments are downloaded with the Beatnik Player and housed on a user’s hard drive, little data needs to be sent over the Internet—just tiny instructions (compressed MIDI files) that instruct the Beaknik Player’s tone generator/sequencer to play music. Later in this chapter, we will discuss the Beatnik Player’s components in more detail.

Even though it relies on MIDI, the Beatnik System should not be confused with basic MIDI music on the Web. When a MIDI file is downloaded, it plays back using the General MIDI instrument bank pre-installed on most browsers and computer systems. General MIDI is a standard established by music equipment manufacturers that specifies that a given instrument bank ...

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