MIDI Association Makes MIDI 1.0 Specifications Available As Free Downloads

midi-associationThe MIDI Association, a free global community for MIDI users, has announced that it has made the MIDI 1.0 specifications available as free downloads.

The MIDI 1.0 Detailed Specification is an important resource for developers and anyone else that needs to know the technical details of MIDI.

The document includes sections on:

  • MIDI 1.0 (Electrical Specification and Protocol)
  • General MIDI 1 (including GM Developer Guidelines)
  • Standard MIDI Files
  • MIDI Show Control
  • MIDI Machine Control
  • MIDI Time Code

A membership at the site is required to access the downloads, but you can sign up free of charge. The 300+ page document was previously only available for $60 as a printed document.

Also available on the website are all the additions to the MIDI Specification developed since the document’s completion in 1996, including the recently-added specification for transmission of MIDI data over Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).

The site also offers reference tables for researching a particular MIDI message number, locate a Manufacturer ID number, find international standards that incorporate MIDI and more.

19 thoughts on “MIDI Association Makes MIDI 1.0 Specifications Available As Free Downloads

  1. I’m not sure if I’d ever need to get into that level of details, but it is tempting to have on hand as a resource.

  2. I’m afraid I can’t get excited about this. MIDI was created as a standard for interoperability over 35 years ago, & the v1.0 specification leaves a great deal to be desired, not least its speed, given the serial nature of its operation. what possible use is this in 2016 except to prolong the agony of waiting for MIDI’s replacement?

    1. Maybe excitement isn’t the go-to response. It may ore may not be useful depending on what kinds of projects you make. Perhaps we can be excited that more folks having access to this spec will allow some new kinds of software or DIY plans to appear.

      Despite its being long-in-the-tooth, MIDI is the nerve-center of my studio– especially in the creative process. Though other processes are essential as well, MIDI unlocks so much more. The fact that this system has this kind of staying power is impressive.

      The fact that it is serial in nature isn’t an issue if the data rate is high enough. USB MIDI is for all intents and purposes MIDI’s replacement. But yes, the spec does need to include some new features.

    1. by the ways, when i buy gear, i like to know if manual is available as a pdf otherwise i might not get, like MOTU
      i mean come on, i have an 8 year old printer than can scan and automatically makes a pdf on my desktop

        1. i was making a comparison
          on how we have all this great easy to use technology
          YET
          PDF of whatever
          demo videos or sounds
          the specs we really need

          AND
          webpages that dont crash my computer
          hint hint

  3. The site doesn’t work at the moment, but I was thinking, is there a remote possibility to manipulate the PPQN pulses of the MIDI clock (with some mods or programming?)

  4. Its about time… When i bought the print copy a few years ago, I was absolutely amazed that a digital communications protocol couldn’t be downloaded… And at the time, you had to mail them (yes, physical mail) a check. You couldn’t even order it online…

  5. It’s a nice gesture, but a lot of the contents of the standards document was already available on the website for free.

  6. Jeez, it’s about time! I was developing my own midi/sysex controller and luckily someone had posted an unofficial midi specification, because you actually had to purchase the official MIDI specification–kind of annoying! They did have a lot of information regarding the standard on their website, but it wasn’t complete.

  7. I for one am happy MIDI continues to exist, and I hope it never goes away. It’s not perfect and it requires lots of cables, but it does what it needs to. I own a lot of synths, and I am sometimes amazed that I can control all of them, from my 1982 Jupiter-6, to old Ensoniqs and Sequentials, to DX instruments, samplers, ROMplers, an MS-20 Kit, as well as lots of old drum machines, rack synths and effects that can all still exist in my studio alongside new stuff like my OB-6 and JX-03, all controlled from one computer. Oh and also my desktop Mackie Controls.

    MIDI saved the electronic instrument industry by appearing right around the time proprietary digital interfaces were starting to appear on Rolands, Oberheims and the EDP Wasp. If it didn’t happen, we would have a lot of great instruments that could not be sequenced/remote controlled nearly as easily as they are today.

    Thanks to MIDI we have lots of great music that could never have existed otherwise. I wonder how many of the moaners who have posted so far have ever actually come up against a limitation of MIDI.

    This spec will definitely come in handy as I have often looked for, but been unable to find stuff about Machine Control and Show control. Thank you MMA, this is long overdue.

  8. I’ve seen a few apps in the iOS App Store that charge a few $$ fir the MIDI use.
    Does this free specification now mean that the app developers cannot charge extra to use ut ?

  9. Any now my dear manufacturers. Please abandon your proprietary patch and bank formats, Yes, also you Nord (NL4, A1) , Moog (Voy / Sub37), Roland (Boutique) and please follow MIDI standards for the instruments (read tools) we buy from you.

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