Also, with more memory, there are simply many more possible features that MIDI 2.0 can try to emulate. More memory should also reduce the chance of the timing between playing a MIDI instrument and digital recording to be slightly off. This should mean music played on MIDI 2.0 instruments will feel more analog, and make it possible for non-keyboard instruments to work better with MIDI. Historically, guitar, violin, and trumpet players have had to learn play keys in order to better translate their work through MIDI. Now, hopefully, they will be able to play their instrument of choice as an input into MIDI-compatible recording software.

“Digital instruments have changed the way we make music and have made completely new music forms, which I love. I am a synthesizer geek,” said Mike Kent. He continued:

“But acoustic instruments—which have been around for hundreds of years—have a different type of expression and sometimes digital instruments have not been able to deliver the same expression that analog instruments have been able to deliver. I play synthesizer and I play the trumpet and the trumpet really feels to me like the a part of my body. I think music and it comes out [of my trumpet]. But I believe because of MIDI 2.0 synthesizers and other electronic instruments will become more expressive. We will have more individual control over each note.”

Another major advancement is that MIDI 2.0 is that it allows for bi-directional communication between devices. In the original MIDI, one device could send information to another, but that device could not communicate back. The fact that MIDI 2.0 is bidirectional has two major effects. First, it means that it is backwards compatible, and won’t make the billions of MIDI 1.0 devices already out in the world obsolete. Second, MIDI 2.0 devices will be able to communicate with each other about how features should be digitized, making life a lot easier on music makers, because they don’t have to address this later on.

Angelo Duncan, a musician and electronic music production teacher at San Francisco’s Women’s Audio Mission, is excited about the changes. Duncan’s primary issues with MIDI have been latency (the fact that MIDI doesn’t perfectly capture the timing of how the music was played) and that MIDI guitars typically don’t typically work as well as keyboards. The first problem is likely to be solved by MIDI 2.0, and Duncan is optimistic it might help with the second.

“I’ve always been interested in guitar MIDI controllers. I do play keys, but I am a much more proficient guitarist,” said Duncan, adding:

“I think using a MIDI guitar would change the way I make music. The way our brain orients to making music on a guitar is just different to a keyboard layout. I used to have a MIDI guitar instrument, but I don’t have it anymore because I felt like there was a lot of latency and I didn’t really like the results I got. I am hoping [MIDI 2.0] will solve some of the issues I had before.”

In terms of the overall effect of MIDI 2.0, Duncan believes it will simplify the workflow of a lot of producers, since it is supposed to communicate better with software like Ableton. Duncan also thinks it will have a big impact on the composition of musical scores for movies and television, which are almost always written in MIDI (like the Game of Thrones theme song). Scores often use strings and brass instrumentation, and MIDI 2.0’s higher resolution should better capture the textures, tonality, and range of those instruments, according to Duncan.

Among the producers Quartz spoke with, there were very few concerns about the updated protocol. Of course, with any new technology there will be hiccups, but since MIDI 2.0 doesn’t make MIDI 1.0 obsolete, there is more excitement about the possibilities than concern about drawbacks.

Adam Neely points out that most of the effects won’t be heard for years, or perhaps decades. The amount of choice MIDI 2.0 allows may now seem superfluous, but he thinks it’s hard to know what music will sound like 50 years from now. The recent MIDI update could allow people to build musical worlds we can’t yet imagine.

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