[vcf-midatlantic] passing of MIDI developer

Douglas Crawford touchetek at gmail.com
Thu Jun 16 23:37:59 UTC 2022


Thanks for posting, Herb.

On 6/9/2022 11:47 PM, Herb Johnson via vcf-midatlantic wrote:
> https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/08/arts/music/dave-smith-dead.html
> 
> 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:
> 
> https://www.midis101.com/free_midi/68230/Gershwin__Medley_From_An_American_In_Paris 
> 
> 
> regards, Herb
> 


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