MIDI is 'Data format' (1)

About MIDI Message

The Music Telegraph | Text 2018/12/26 [17:13]

MIDI is 'Data format' (1)

About MIDI Message

The Music Telegraph| 입력 : 2018/12/26 [17:13]

▲ MIDI Data



MIDI Message



MIDI Bytes:

1. Status byte

2. Data byte



MIDI Interface:

1. Serial Interface 

▲ © The Music Telegraph


2. Parallel Interface

- Read data in bulk

- More expensive than serial interface



*MIDI messages are made up of groups of “8-bit words”(known as bytes), which are transmitted in a serial fashion to convey a series of performance and/or control instructions to one or all MIDI devices within a system. Only 2 types of bytes are defined by the MIDI specification:

- Status byte

- Data byte



i) Status byte

- Used as an identifier to tell the receiving device which particular MIDI function and channel are being addressed


ii) Data byte

- is used to encode the actual numeric values that accompany the status byte




Although a byte is made up of 8 bits, the Most Significant Bit (MSB, the leftest (left most) binary bit within a digital word) is used solely to identify the byte type. The MSB of a status byte is always “1”, while the MSB of a data byte is always “0”.



ex) A 3-byte MIDI note-on message (which is used to signal the beginning of a MIDI note) in binary form might read as shown in the following tables:

  Status Byte Data byte 1 Data byte 2

Status/Channel no.

Note on

Attack velocity

Binary Data

(1001 0100)

(0100 0000)

(0101 1001)

Numeric Value

Note on / Channel 5

(64) (89)

*(0000 = MIDI channel #1, 1111 = MIDI channel #16) 


*The Most Significant Bit (MSB) of a MIDI data byte is used to identify between a Status byte 1 and a Data byte 0


[MSB of a Status byte is always “1”] ==> (1sss ssss)

[MSB of a Data byte is always “0”] ==> (0DDD DDDD)


Thus, a 3-byte note-on message of (1001 0100) (0100 0000) (0101 1001) will transmit instructions that would be read as “transmitting a note-on message over MIDI Ch.5 using keynote 64 with an attack velocity of 89”







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