[vcf-midatlantic] passing of MIDI developer
hjohnson at retrotechnology.info
Fri Jun 10 03:47:06 UTC 2022
Tonight I had a taste for some MIDI music. In searching the Web for it,
I came across this obituary of Dave Smith, who passed a week ago. Known
as a synthesizer designer of the late 70's, turns out he collaborated
with Roland to create the MIDI specification.
This is a little out of my interests; but MIDI is really familiar to
anyone who did personal computing and digital audio instruments in the
80's. Maybe arcade games too, that's how they sounded.
MIDI is both a simple cabling and serial interface to connect digital
audio instruments to a computer; and a specification for codes to
represent instruments, tones and duration. Something between sheet music
and a piano roll. The instrument renditions are pretty simple: square
and triangular waveforms with envelopes. Not a hard program to write in
8-bit assembler, a simple D/A, even a 1-bit R/C network.
It's incredibly data-compact to represent a song by notes and
instruments. That mattered with 70's and 80's computers and later with
consumer electronic piano keyboards, drumsets, etc. But to this day, a
Web browser and most audio playback programs can play a MIDI file.
So I thought I'd give a shout-out as I'm listening to a MIDI theme from
Duke Nukem. MIDI piano works pretty well too, there's lots of piano-roll
to MIDI out there. So a Scott Joplin tune from 1902, realized in MIDI,
sounds alright. Or Gershwin! 89K bytes:
Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey in the USA
http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net
preserve, recover, restore 1970's computing
email: hjohnson AT retrotechnology DOT com
or try later herbjohnson AT comcast DOT net
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