Kat Chow, with NPR's Code Switch, put together a short piece on the history and the prevalence of the well-known nine note "stereotypical Asian theme." As described in a 2005 Straight Dope forum question: You know, the one that goes dee dee dee dee duh duh dee dee duh. Featured heavily in braindead Hollywood flicks made by clueless directors who want to give a scene an "oriental" feel. Also a variation of it can be heard in David Bowie's "China Girl." [more inside]
Me The Machine, from Imogen Heap's forthcoming album Sparks, is the first song written for and performed with the Mi.Mu musical gloves, designed by Heap and a team of programmers, engineers, designers and musicians over the last four years with the aim of making creating and performing digital music "more like the experiences we have with traditional instruments: using the dexterity and mobility of the human body". [more inside]
Dream Battle note count: 272789. What Does the Fox Say? note count 1.1 million. Bad Apple note count: 4.6 million. "Fujiwara no Mokou's theme" note count: 21100000+. It's The Impossible Music of Black MIDI where there is no such thing as Too Many Notes.
Welcome to Midi Mondays, a weekly installation where the hottest MiDi traxx — replete with lyrics — are posted each and e’ery Monday (requires browser/player that supports MIDI files). [more inside]
Rhythm King - "Don had been hired by the Hammond organ company to demo its products on the show floor. He was using an Ace Tone rhythm box (which was distributed by Hammond at the time) as his percussion section. "I had modified my Ace Tone to death, changed all the rhythms because none of them fit my style of playing. I also wired it through the expression pedal of the Hammond, so I could get [percussion] accents, which no one was doing then. After the show this man from Japan came up and the first thing out of his mouth was ‘that looks like my rhythm unit but it doesn’t sound like my rhythm unit! How did you do that?’" It was Ikutaro Takehashi, the president of Ace."
A harpsichord automaton. Malcolm Messiter: "After hours of struggling with a soldering iron, suddenly it all became worth it when the system just worked flawlessly. The sheer joy and satisfaction of seeing and hearing it work for the first time was extraordinary. It played Soler’s Fandango, Brandenburg 5, the Goldberg Variations, and even the Flight of the Bumble Bee, late into that first night!" [Project direct link (PDF, from p.27)].
Necromantic frogs twitch to the beat (from Create Digital Motion), the artist Lu Yang has wired up discarded dissected frogs to MIDI and made then "dance" to the beat of a drum machine.
Marc-André Hamelin composed Circus Galop for the player piano. Performing it is impossible for a mere pair of human hands, but two people have tried to fake it until they make it. Another has transcribed it (or half of it, perhaps) for one player. Often, people will run it through a MIDI sequencer of their choice, to make a lively animation. Some have built Arduino robots that perform it. But, in the end, the best medium for a work this insane is the humble, yet manic player piano (less manic, but clearer-sounding performance here). Hamelin himself has run his composition through one, managing to get his television host to start dancing as the closing credits fade out...
[1999Filter] • MIDI Led Zeppelin • MIDI Rush • MID9 Beatles • MIDI Yes • MIDI Iron Maiden • [previously]
Arduino plus programming plus children's electronic toy equals adorable Enigma machine! You can even make your own Enigma machine in an electronic toy body. Bonus Arduino Enigma fun: midi "enigma" machine hack, but no instructions. [more inside]
Getting your music out of an Ipad. A fairly thorough overview of connecting an Ipad to external gear, covering input and output, as well as midi and audio.
Kasio Kristmas (2 3 4 5) Traditional Christmas Songs played on a casio keyboard by a man in a conehead mask.
Corey Arcangel is perhaps the internet's most infamous hack, masher-upper, digi/net artist. His work stands for a growing culture of artists who run wildly through animated GIF landscapes populated with corrupted data-compressed bunny rabbits and tinny, MIDI renditions of Savage Garden ballads. As the Lisson Gallery, London, opens its archives to Arcangel's curatorial eye, could digi/net art be set to infect the real, fleshy world, like a rampant Conficker Worm? Has YouTube become the truest reflection of our anthropological selves? Are we destined to roam the int3erw£bs like the mythic beasts of yore, hoping, in time, that digi art can free us from the confines of this fleshy void? [...previously]
The Speaking Piano, and Transforming Audio to MIDI - Austrian Composer Peter Ablinger has transformed a child speaking so that it can be played as MIDI events on a mechanically-controlled piano, making the piano a kind of speech speaker.
The Snyderphonics Manta. With a few exceptions like the rare Buchla Thunder and the ZenDrum, computer musicians were stuck with controllers disguised as traditional instruments, rolling their own, or using grids of generic rubber pads. The Manta, in the spirit of the Serge TKB's capacitance touchplate construction, attempts to do something new, and people are already doing interesting things with it. Videos: polyphonic keys, sequencer, technique, and lots more
Have you ever wondered what the national anthem of Bolivia, Nepal or The Republic of Seychelles sounded like? Well wonder no more because NationalAnthems.info has got you covered! It claims to have the national anthem for every country in the world in MIDI format, along with downloadable lyrics and sheet music so you can sing and play along. But if the MIDI format isn't doing it for you, there's also other sites that you can visit that have downloadable MP3s of pretty much every national anthem this planet and its inhabitants have to offer, such as this one or this one, which is notable in that the anthems featured there were performed by the US Navy Band. And finally, for your further reading and listening pleasure, check out this forum which contains background information on and even more links to downloadable national anthems.
Rainbow Divider warning: sound; animated gifs; awesomeness
Midi plus Art plus Cleverness with video game nostalgia then put up on Youtube -- What does that equal? Beats me, but it sure looks and sounds cool. [more inside]
What is the monome? A sequencer? A trigger? A sampler? A trippy rave machine? A general-purpose turing device? Just a toy or the open-source future of digital music? [more inside]
Zenph Studios has developed a process (using high-resolution MIDI) which "re-performed" Glenn Gould's famous 1955 piano recordings of Bach's Goldberg Variations in hybrid multichannel SA-CD format.
Gene2Music: "We assigned a chord to each amino acid," said Rie Takahashi, a UCLA research assistant and an award-winning, classically trained piano player. "We want to see if we can hear patterns within the music, as opposed to looking at the letters of an amino acid or protein sequence. We can listen to a protein, as opposed to just looking at it."
Engadget points out Sven König's Scrambled Hackz, an Ableton Live-like app that takes in sound samples, analyzes their spectrum, and builds a triggerable, interactive beatbox set upon which hilarious and remarkable performances can be built. A GPLed package will be released soon.
The Unheard Beethoven - This website endeavors to make all of Beethoven's unrecorded music readily accessible to the public. These never-before-heard works are now available to anyone with a computer, a modem and a soundcard, in the form of MIDI files. At present, over twelve hours of Beethoven's music is available on this website and in no other listenable format.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you for your musical enjoyment: Intelligent MIDI Sequencing with Hamster Control
John Nozum's Sleep Apnea page isn't particularly interesting unless you suffer from the condition. He spends a great deal of time discussing his treatment which included a Tracheostomy. Some of it's not pleasant to look at but then you stumble onto this page and things... well... what can I say? I just hope to God this guy never gets a colostomy bag. A few warnings: Although not particularly gory or gross, many of these pictures are unpleasant in one way or another. Also, there's an embedded midi file on every page. BEWARE (it's located at the bottom of the page).
"The Samchillian Tip Tip Tip Cheeepeeeee is a [computer] keyboard MIDI controller of my own invention based on changes of pitch, rather than fixed pitches. This scheme gives the performer the ability to perform extremely quick, rhapsodical lines." Perfect for the music nerd on your Christmas list. Complete with "instructional" video (53MB .mov) and mp3s. I'm on a Mac so I can't try out the freeware version.
The Sound of Mathematics Mathematical functions whose output have been jammed into MIDI files. The results are disturbingly musical.
PC Audio 'toy' now an inexpensive MIDI controller, thanks to this program. The Mixman DM2 is still a toy, but DM2 to MIDI opens up a world of soft/hardware options for this cheap device. I've tried it with NI's Traktor and Ableton Live, and it works very nicely.
The Chicken Dance inspires lunacy like no other piece of music. I found myself in a giggling fit over the silliness of the pictures on this page. Beware-it has the obligatory embedded MIDI file.
Inspector Clouseau as Greek Police role-model? Wait for the midi file to load... At first I thought the site was hacked but, no, I checked, it's the real "Hellenic police informatics dept" web-site. I'm not sure whether it's self-sarcasm or cluelessness. And I wont even start about the site's imaginative design...
Did you ever play console games for hours on end? I bet you can recall the annoying MIDI music that went with them. Relive the good old days at the Video Game Music Archive.