四虎影院

Accessibility statement

MIDI: Programming & Performance - MUS00168H

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  • Department: Music
  • Module co-ordinator: Mr. Jethro Bagust
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24
    • See module specification for other years: 2022-23

Module summary

MIDI is something we use constantly. Sibelius, Logic, Reaper, iOS, TimeCode; all of these use MIDI. But in recent years software companies have been hiding more and more of MIDI's capabilities from us, restricting our access to one of the most powerful tools in modern music-making. It might be nearly 40 years old, but it's still fit for purpose. In this module, students will dive deep into MIDI, learn the fundamentals of the language, be able to read it like any other standard musical language, and learn to sequence and programme MIDI to achieve nuanced, humanistic, and complex outcomes that can improve their productions, compositions and overall musical activity.

Looking at MIDI in both production and live environments, the module will bring in some elements of Open Sound Code (OSC) and control surfaces as ways to leverage MIDI to produce professional material showcasing higher levels of interaction, control and expression that could not be achieved without the use of such technology

Related modules

An understanding of DAWs/sequencing and basic music theory is necessary for students taking the module as an option.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2023-24

Module aims

  • To introduce and explore the technical underpinnings of sequencing processes, with a particular emphasis on interpretation of MIDI signals

  • To illustrate contemporary and experimental uses of MIDI and its associated technologies in popular and western art music.

  • To explain the historical social and technological context in which MIDI and its associated technologies were developed and their impact on music making and society.

  • To perform transformation and augmentation to MIDI in both recorded and live data streams

  • To utilise MIDI in the creation of a sonic artefact.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the taught part of the project all students should be able to:

  • Understand and explain the technical processes by which sequencing processes occur, with a particular emphasis on interpretation of MIDI signals

  • Identify and review contemporary uses of MIDI and its associated technologies in popular and western art music.

  • Understand the historical social and technological context in which MIDI and its associated technologies were developed and their impact on music making and society.

  • Demonstrate the use of MIDI as part of a recording or sonic artefact.

On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes C1–6 and 8, 9, 10 and/or 11 (as appropriate).

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark Group
Essay/coursework
Essay
N/A 100 Default
Essay/coursework
Recording
N/A 90 B
Essay/coursework
Recording commentary
N/A 10 B
Essay/coursework
Performance presentation
N/A 30 C
Practical
Performance recital
N/A 70 C

Special assessment rules

None

Additional assessment information

Option 1: You will prepare a short essay (4000 words) presenting a historical review of one of the key technologies explored within this module and possible implications for society and music making. E.g. You may wish to compare MIDI with OSC or CV systems, or specifically explore the development and implementation of the original MIDI specification. Alternatively, you may wish to explore the affordances included in the new 2.0 specification. You should discuss your essay topic with your module tutor.

Option 2: You will prepare a 3-5 minute recording (with accompanying files) (90%) that demonstrates MIDI sequencing in action. The piece can be original or already extant, but must be generated primarily using sequencing techniques. ‘Live’ audio elements can be included but will not be assessed. You should include a 750-1000 word commentary (10%) on your work.

Option 3: You will prepare a short 3-8 minute performance recital (70%) that includes the use of MIDI as a core element of the performance. The piece can be original or already extant, but must utilise MIDI within the performance i.e. through the use of control systems, live sequencing etc. ‘Live’ audio elements or acoustic performance elements can be included but will not be assessed. You should include a 5-10 minute presentation (30%) on your work, MIDI set up, signal flow etc. This presentation may be written and dictated, but may also be a standard slide presentation or otherwise. You will be given a 60 minute slot in which to rig your set up, perform your piece, give your presentation, and de-rig.

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark Group
Essay/coursework
Essay
N/A 100 Default
Essay/coursework
Recording
N/A 90 B
Essay/coursework
Recording commentary
N/A 10 B
Essay/coursework
Performance presentation
N/A 30 C
Practical
Performance recital
N/A 70 C

Module feedback

Mark and report within University designated turnaround time.

Indicative reading

Armitage, Joanne, and Helen Thornham. ‘Don’t Touch My MIDI Cables: Gender, Technology and Sound in Live Coding’. Feminist Review 127, no. 1 (2021): 90–106. Accessed doi:10.1177/0141778920973221

Fraietta, A. ‘Open Sound Control: Constraints and Limitations’. In International Conference on New Musical Interfaces for Music Expression (NIME-2008), 2008.

Huber, David Miles. The MIDI Manual: a Practical Guide to MIDI in the Project Studio. 2nd ed. Boston: Focal Press, 1999

Rothstein, Joseph. MIDI : a Comprehensive Introduction. 2nd ed. Madison, Wisconsin: A-R Editions, 1995.

Rumsey, Francis. Desktop Audio Technology: Digital Audio and MIDI Principles. Boston and London: Focal Press, 2004.

Rumsey, Francis. MIDI Systems and Control. 2nd ed. Oxford ; Boston: Focal Press, 1994.

Rumsey, Francis, and Tim McCormick. Sound and Recording. Oxford: Taylor & Francis, 2014.

Russ, Martin. ‘Controllers’. In Sound Synthesis and Sampling, 497–530. Routledge, 2008. Accessed doi:10.4324/9780080926957-19.



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of 四虎影院.