fbpx

MIDI 2.0 & MPE

The world of music production is quickly evolving – and it’s recently experienced two game-changing introductions: MIDI 2.0 & MIDI Polyphonic Expression (MPE). This article covers what these changes imply, an overview of the technicalities involved, and how they will change the face of music forever.

What Is MIDI?

MIDI (or Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a communication protocol that was created in the early ‘80s that enables digital music equipment to communicate with one another. Its invention allowed a MIDI instrument to generate a digital MIDI message that could then trigger a note on another instrument (such as a synthesizer).

Dave Smith (the founder of Sequential) & Ikutaro Kakehashi (the founder of Roland) are attributed as the founders of MIDI. Hear Smith tell the tale of how MIDI was born in this 6-minute clip below.

 

 

Fast forward to today – and MIDI is at the forefront of music production. The most common use you’ll find today is a MIDI controller such as a keyboard, connected to a DAW such as Ableton. The keyboard allows producers to intuitively input chords, melodies, and even drums into their DAW. Check out our roundup of the best MIDI keyboards of 2021 here.


What’s New In MIDI 2.0?

(Source: MIDI.org, 2019)

Since its creation in the 80’s – the MIDI protocol has remained unchanged, despite exponential technological advancements in other fields – especially software. This is a testament to the simplicity & effectiveness of Smith & Kakehashi’s creation.

However, MIDI 1.0 faced a few challenges, that the creators of MIDI 2.0 set out to overcome. Here are the three biggest highlights of this new technology below: 


 

 

1. MIDI 2.0 Is Bidirectional


With MIDI 1.0, messages only went in one direction – from a transmitter to a receiver. With the advent of MIDI 2.0, the conversation changes from a monologue to a dialogue. This helps devices auto-configure themselves to work together. Also using the new MIDI-CI (Capability Inquiry), MIDI 2.0 gear can detect if a device is not MIDI 2.0 compatible – and downgrade to using MIDI 1.0 (backwards compatibility)

 

2. Higher Resolution & Better Controllers


One of the limitations of MIDI 1.0 was its 7-bit low resolution. This left the range of parameters such as velocity and automation controls to be limited between the numbers of 0 and 127. Due to this limitation, MIDI controllers have also had lower resolution mappings to match. However, MIDI 2.0 introduces an enhanced, 32-bit resolution, meaning vastly more resolution – giving a smooth, continuous, “analog” feel. This in turn encourages controller manufacturers to create new tools to match this leapfrog advancement. 

 

3. Profile Configuration


With MIDI 2.0, MIDI gear can now have different profiles, so its configuration can be altered depending on the use case. For example, if a control surface queries a device with a “mixer” profile – the controls will map to faders, panpots, and other mixer parameters. However, if the same control surface is set to a “drawbar organ” profile, the same device will be mapped with virtual drawbars and other keyboard parameters. This will also allow non-standard devices such as MIDI guitars to integrate with setups much more easily.


While MIDI 2.0 has been announced, the integration and flow-through effects into everyday software & hardware will take some time. Currently, Roland’s A-88 MKII is the only MIDI 2.0 compatible controller in the market. As drum machine legend Roger Linn put it “The vast majority of what people really want to do has already been made possible by MIDI 1.0. This industry moves very slowly, and we have a lot of small developers who don’t have the resources to support every standard, so MIDI 2.0 might take a long time before it is widely in use.”

What Is MPE?

 

(Source: Sweetwater, 2018)

 

MPE is another gamechanger in the electronic music world that will allow for new and interesting changes in controllers & synth design immediately. 

MPE stands for MIDI Polyphonic Expression, and it’s a method of using MIDI to allow multidimensional controllers (MDCs) to control multiple parameters (such as pitch bend, vibrato, timbre, volume) of every single note separately. Currently, MIDI notes that are played at once (such as a chord), travel through the same MIDI channel. Therefore, when channel-wide messages such as pitch bend are applied, it bends the pitch of every note being played. MPE assigns a MIDI channel for each note so that those parameters can operate independently per note.


Watch MPE in action

 

The best way to understand this is to watch it in action. Currently, there are two companies spearheading the MPE Movement – ROLI and previously quoted Roger Linn. ROLI is best known for their innovative keyboard – the futuristic-looking Seaboard (pictured above). However, their new LUMI Keys, launched at the end of 2020, looks deceptively similar to a simple MIDI keyboard until you look closer. Notice how the user is able to hold a note and then apply vibrato to only that note, for example, in the video below.

 

 

MPE requires MPE-compatible software to work. The good news for Ableton Live users is that Live 11 was released with full MPE compatibility. Watch MPE being used in Ableton Live 11 to recreate the iconic THX sound in the video below.

 

 

What Does This Mean For Electronic Music Creation?

The bottom line for the producers of today is that these new technologies are going to help electronic musicians express themselves more easily. MIDI 2.0 is going to be a new platform for manufacturers to build upon, and MPE will allow for intuitive gestures to alter a sound rather than tedious programming. At Beat Lab Academy, we are excited that these changes are going to help support more musicians to proudly refer to their laptops as their instrument – and thereby create sounds that have never been heard before. 

If you’d like to learn more about music production with Ableton Live with access to online live study groups, find out which of our programs is right for you.


0 responses on "MIDI 2.0 & MPE - A Gamechanger For Electronic Music"

    Leave a Message

    © 2021 Beat Lab Academy

    X
    About The Lab
    PGlmcmFtZSB3aWR0aD0iMTAwJSIgaGVpZ2h0PSIxMDAlIiBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LnlvdXR1YmUuY29tL2VtYmVkL1g5UXZtUG5TOHEwP3JlbD0wJmNvbnRyb2xzPTAmc2hvd2luZm89MCIgZnJhbWVib3JkZXI9IjAiIGFsbG93ZnVsbHNjcmVlbj48L2lmcmFtZT4=
    Signup for Free Workshops and Ableton Goodies
    Enter name and email below and we'll get you lit
    Foundation of Music Theory
    • Rhythm Theory
    • Using Semitones and Intervals
    • Diatonic composition
    • Harmonizing and building chords
    • Styling
    Learn the language of music to help you make the music you want to make, To communicate with other musicians and reveal the magic behind your favorie songs.
    ----------------------
    Progremming Beats
    • How Drum Racks work
    • Choosing the right samples
    • How to use Syncopation
    • Layering Techniques
    • Drum Processing methods
    Sequence drums in any style using Ableton Live's Drum Racks. Learn tricks and techniques to take your beats to the next level.
    ----------------------
    Ableton Live 101
    • Why Ableton Live?
    • Session vs. Arrangement
    • Recording & Editing Audio
    • Live's Warp Engine
    • Using & customizing MIDI controllers
    Experience the leading software today for modern music production.
    Demystify the world of Ableton Live to make any style of music.
    ----------------------
    Thank you! We'll contact you shortly with more info and discounts.
    Sampling
    • History of Sampling
    • Hardware Samplers
    • Simpler vs. Sampler
    • Sampling your own instruments
    • Slicing Samples
    Explore the endless world of sampling.
    Add organic texture or make it into an instrument
    Everything is possible with sampling
    ----------------------
    Using MIDI Controllers
    • Which Controller Should I Get?
    • Setting Up
    • Expression Controls
    • Advance MIDI Utilities
    • Playing Live Beats
    Choose the right MIDI controller for your production/live needs.
    Use MIDI remote scritps to enahce your workflow
    Learn tricks and tips to customize your controller
    ----------------------
    Recording & Warping
    • Choosing the right mic
    • Setting up recording session
    • Working with other musicians
    • Time Stretching
    • Live's editing tools
    Learn how to setup and record mics and instruments in Ableton Live.
    Master the warp engine for syncronizing audio and sound design
    ----------------------
    Class Jams
    • Play in a band with your computer
    • Try out different instruments and MIDI controllers
    • Improvise on any given scale
    • Develop your ear for melodies, harmonies & Basslines
    Play live with your classmates in the first modern ClassJam environment.
    Develop collaboration skills, performance focus and improvisation techniques.
    ----------------------
    Structure & Styling
    • Active Listening
    • Pre-Determined Arrangement Techniques
    • BPM Ranges
    • Song Segments and how to use them
    • Finishing a full song
    Get your own sound from analyzing and deconstrucing modern song structures.
    Learn different musical genres to help you achive your own unique sound.
    ----------------------
    YOUR FREE DOWNLOAD
    Please provide your name and email
      We hate spam as much as you. You will only get valuble content delievered.
    Get Notified About Future Events
    Music Theory 202
    • Parallel Harmony
    • Relative Scales
    • Pentatonic & Blues Scales
    • Jazz in Modern Music
    • Voicing Techniques
    • Borrowed Chords
    Progress your composition skills by learning advanced music theory methods.
    You will get a deeper understanding of how to produce strong harmonies, melodies and arrangements.
    ----------------------
    Ableton Live 202
    • The Launchbox
    • Modulation Vs. Automation
    • Session View Production Techniques
    • Advance Audio & MIDI Editing
    • Clip Envelopes
    Learn advance Ableton techniques to take your production to the next level.
    Everything is possible with Ableton Live let your imagination be your guide.
    ----------------------
    Styling
    • Analyzing Electronic vs. Acoustic music
    • Odd Time Signatures
    • Arrangment Styling
    • Sound Selection
    • Deconstructing Methods.
    Learn the key characteristic of all popular music styles.
    You have a specific style in mind you want to produce? We'll show you all the secrets.
    ----------------------
    Synthesis
    • Analog vs. Digital
    • Synth Signal Path
    • Oscillators, Filters, Envelopes and LFOs
    • Advance Modulators
    • Reverse Engineering
    Take the sounds in your head and create them in the computer using synthesizers.
    Demystify the vast world of virtual synths.
    ----------------------
    Sound Design
    • Advanced Time Stretching
    • Psychoacoustics
    • Fractal Soundscapes
    • Experiments in Sound
    • Field Recordings
    • The Art of Layering
    Develop creative thinking by using multiple techniques to create unique and complex sounds.
    Become a sonic master.
    ----------------------
    Collaboration
    • Ableton Link
    • Class Production Sessions
    • Project Managment
    • Real vs. Virtual instruments
    • Live Performance Routines
    • Rewiring
    Collaborate with class mates with in-class synchronization.
    Develope the skills needed to productevlly work with other musicians.
    ----------------------
    Remixing
    • Choosing The Right Song to Remix
    • Flipping a Sample
    • Remixer Tools
    • Stems and Multi-Tracks
    • Preparing your Original Production for Remixing
    Learn the art of remixing from top remixers in the industry.
    Take your favorite songs and filp them with your own style.
    ----------------------
    Live Performance
    • DJing in Ableton Live
    • Preparing your Songs for Live Performance
    • Playing with a Band
    • Live Looping
    • DIY Controllers
    Use the computer as a live musical performance tool.
    DJ or play your own orgianls in any way you can imagine.
    ----------------------
    Max for Live
    • Max for Live Essentials
    • Modifying Exciting Devices
    • Creating your own Devices
    • Ableton as a Modular Environment
    • Live's API
    • VJing using Jitter
    Explore the infinite potenital of Cycling 74's and Ableton's Max for Live.
    Control Live in ways that weren't possible before.
    Anything is possible with Max for Live
    ----------------------
    Mastering
    • Win the Loudness Wars
    • Mastering Song vs. Album
    • Prepering Your Music for Distribution
    • Understanding the importance of Dynamic Range
    Master your songs to sound as good as possible on as many playback systems as possible.
    Learn the secrets on how to make your songs loud and punchy.
    ----------------------
    Finger Drumming
    • Choosing the Right Controller
    • Sound Design for Live Performance
    • Building Custom Racks
    • Using DIY Controllers
    • Planning your Controller's Configuration
    Humanize your production or impress your audience on stage.
    Build your own sound packs and develope your live performace skill with finger drumming.
    ----------------------
    Live Looping
    • Hardware Looping
    • Using Live's Looper
    • Live Looping in the Session View
    • Automatic Loop Recording using MIDI Scripts
    • Setup and Routing
    Master the art of live looping with virtual instruments, conventional instruments and mics.
    Come up with quick musical ideas, build your songs live on stage.
    ----------------------
    Online Presence
    • Social Media
    • How to Reach Out to Labels
    • Booking Shows
    • Getting Signed
    • Getting more Followers
    • Making a Music Video
    Develop your artist brand and get your music heard by the right people.
    Book shows, tours and festivals.
    Find the right label and make music your career.
    ----------------------
    Entertainment Law
    • Clearing Samples
    • Commercial vs. Indie Distribution
    • Getting your music on TV and Film
    • Working with a Manager
    • Copyright your Music
    • Performance Rights
    Understand the legallty behind the music industry.
    Get the most out of your shows and releases. Maximize income streams.
    Distribute your music the right way.
    ----------------------
    Production Sessions
    • Class Jams
    • Live Routines Assignments
    • Additive Composition
    • Produce other Classmates
    • Online Collaboration Methods
    • Musical Chairs
    Collaborate in class.
    Get private mentorship sessions from Beat Lab's instructors
    Learn how to add part of yourself creatively to an exciting song.
    ----------------------
    Mixing
    • Understanding How Sound Work
    • Gain Staging
    • Controlling the Stereo Field
    • Using Compressor & EQs
    • Using Time Based Effects
    • Bussing and Pre-Mastering
    Master the art of sound mixing.
    Make your music sound more clear, punchy and loud.
    Learn the techniques and tools to help you take your music to the next level.
    ----------------------
    NEW CLASSES START NEXT WEEK!
    Mondays-Wednesdays: 4/25/16
    Tuesdays-Thursdays: 4/26/16
    Now Offering Day Classes
    Our certification program is now available during the day. 6 months of intensive, comprehensive music production classes. Fill your email below and we'll send you ALL the details. Dates, scheduling, pricing & payment plans available.
    We would never spam or give your email to anyone
    Free Class Visits Available
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam
    GET FREE CHEAT SHEETS, TUTORIALS AND MUSIC TECH NEWS!
    We got the exclusives
    We would never spam or give your email to anyone
    Free Class Visits Available
    THANK YOU!
    WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NOW?
    Free Class Visits Available
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam
    FREE SERUM SOUND DESIGN COURSE WITH CERTIFICATION PROGRAM
    Sing up for the 6 months certification program and get Serum - Wavetable Synthesis class for free.
    We would never spam or give your email to anyone
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam
    CONTEST - Accusonus x Beat Lab Giveaway
    Win Free Plugins!
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam
    *optional
    Interested in a free class? Enter your number below to join
    Application for 2020 Winter Semester are now open.
    Fill Your Email Below or more details
    We would never spam or give your email to anyone
    Free Class Visits Available
    THANK YOU!
    WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NOW?
    Free Class Visits Available
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam
    To book a FREE class visit to any of our other courses please click the image below.
    This promotion has ended. Visit the Modules page to purchase access to our Masterclasses.
    Your Free Download
    we hate spam