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Fixed Instrument Assignments for a Musical Instrument Digital Interface Synthesizer

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000120136D
Original Publication Date: 1991-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-02
Document File: 3 page(s) / 89K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Lisle, RJ: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

This scheme assigns specific instrument sounds to specific Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) instrument numbers. Currently, MIDI instrument numbers have no fixed or default relationship to instrument sounds. This article is for a default set of MIDI instrument sounds to instrument numbers.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 45% of the total text.

Fixed Instrument Assignments for a Musical Instrument Digital Interface
Synthesizer

      This scheme assigns specific instrument sounds to
specific Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) instrument
numbers.  Currently, MIDI instrument numbers have no fixed or default
relationship to instrument sounds.  This article is for a default set
of MIDI instrument sounds to instrument numbers.

      MIDI sound generators (synthesizers) can be set up in various
combinations with different sounds (instruments) being associated
with various instrument numbers.  Thus, when a MIDI Program Change
command is encountered, it will cause notes on the associated MIDI
channel to sound with the specified instrument number.  There is no
fixed relationship between the instrument number and the actual sound
generated.  Instrument number 1 may be a horn on one synthesizer and
may be a drum on another synthesizer.  Thus, a MIDI song that sounds
as intended on one synthesizer setup may, and will very likely, sound
totally different on another synthesizer.  In many cases, the music
will be virtually unrecognizable when played on an alternate
synthesizer setup.  To accommodate this, it is necessary for the new
user to either modify the MIDI file to meet his synthesizer setup or
to modify the setup to match the MIDI file.  This proposal is to
define a standard list of instrument names (and, therefore, sounds)
to specified instrument numbers.  This would serve as a default for
synthesizer setup so that all MIDI files generated with these
standard instrument numbers would be correctly playable across a wide
variety of synthesizer setups.  This list could impact future
synthesizer hardware development, as well as software development.
It should be noted that this default set of assignments would not be
binding on any equipment, software or synthesizer setup.  It would
serve as an optional default for universal operation but could be
overridden whenever necessary (e.g., when instrument sounds not on
the list need to be accommodated).  There are 128 (0 to 127) possible
instrument numbers within the MIDI architecture.  The proposed
assignment values are as follows:
     INSTRUMENT   INSTRUMENT
      NUMBER        NAME
       000        Accordion
       001        Bagpipe
       002        Balalaika
       003        Banjo
       004        Bass
       005        Bass-Double
       006        Bass-Electric
       007        Bass-Slap
       008        Bassoon
       009        Bell
       010        Bongo
       011        Brass Section
       012        Bugle
       013        Calliope
       014        Cannon
       015        Castanets
       016        Celeste
       017        Cello
       018...