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Creation Date: 2004-03-08
Greetings. I guess it's just another day. I spent a bunch of the day working on midi. Yes, midi. Many people may ask: "Why does a person want midi when there's mp3 and even ogg?" Back in the day I totally fell in love with midi. Midi was my mp3 back in the day. I had reaper.mid (given to me by a friend over IRC if you can imagine) and brikwall.mid. A whole list of midis in fact. I still have them (2 MB) right there next to my 6 GB ogg/mp3 collection (all legal if you are wondering). The thing about midi today is not the same as mp3 today. Mp3/Ogg today is about getting some music or distributing your music.

Midi is cool because of what wonderful things you can do with it. First of all, much of the stuff that I can do now I could have done back in middle school on the Pentium-100. There was a program I still have that still runs which is a sequencer. Really, it's more like a canvas upon which a skilled or more likely unskilled musician can throw notes upon using up to 16 different instruments. So it happens like gangbusters.

Music just happens when tools like this are available. Give a kid a keyboard and you're likely to hear "America the Beautiful" or an ugly blast of guitars, but a sequencer can really make stuff happen. I have worked with Csound which is interesting, but lacks structure. I have worked with SoundTracker which has structure and is interesting but is nothing without samples. The obvious solution is midi which is interesting, has many perfect samples, and has structure.

That doesn't say that CSound and SoundTracker don't have a massive niche of their own which surpasses midi by a long shot. My plan is to get a midi keyboard and have some fun making some simple songs. Then I want to generate the sounds in Csound for a richer homemade sound. Then put them into SoundTracker to create a rhythm/melody. Then I will export that to a Csound which I will render in high quality and encode into Ogg. Is that not a system? It's kinda interesting for me.

There are many ways to create a song. It was not many years before I was born when there was no way to create a song with a computer. Kraftwerk created some of the most wonderful songs back in mid and early 1970s. Look at their discography for a look at some of the coolest stuff in the world (Autobahn 1974, Radio-activity 1975, Trans-Europe Express 1977, The Robots 1978, Pocket Calculator 1981 (my birth year), Computer Love 1981 (my absolute favorite)). But it was not practical for many musicians to create electronica until reasonably priced FM synths came onto the market in 1980.

The Commodore 64 had an amazing sound chip so that for the first time music could be created with personal computers. Amazing stuff came from the C=64. Tracking and the Scene came from C=64 and Atari. As I said earlier, I was creating lame stuff with a Pentium 100 back in middle school which would have made me 13 which would be 1994. Now a decade later, here I am attempting to get midi to work. I have a tracker, a 64 voice midi with 8 MB available for dynamic sound fonts, and Csound. These three things are so old that it is rediculous. Csound was first written in 1985, but was based on Music 360 from 1968. SoundTracker is based on FreeTracker 2 which was based on Soundtracker for C=64 in 1985. Midi I said was working well in 1995 was created in 1983. Which means that my current musical setup could have been duplicated if I was born in 1971 or even 1961.

It is not cutting edge, yet it is still original and new. Whereas my graphics could not possibly be recreated in real time even 3 years ago, my music is quite simple. Really, it's about data rate. People can only hear 2N kHz which means that 44 kHz is plenty for high quality audio. Computers can run at GHz these days and MHz even in the 1980s. The 68k microprocessor from the mid 80s could run at several MHz allowing several channels of computer-generated music to be mixed. They certainly could not store 5 minutes of high quality music, but they could generate it from mixing samples played by a sequencer.

Musical inspiration is a strange thing.


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