December 2, 2012

30 Years Of The MIDI Standard

Once a year, gear manufacturers, vendors, and talented artists lie in wait for the next NAMM show.  The NAMM show is a highly publicized trade show that occurs in closed door conditions.  Ironically, it’s the general public who isn’t allowed to be inside at all.  Geardo’s and musicians sit at their desktop computers at home – waiting for videos the latest and greatest to be posted online.

While NAMM 2013 will probably give way to a host of new technological advancements in touch screen technology and products with hardware/software integration, it’s easy to look at the trade show without thinking about its humble beginnings.  The first NAMM in 1983 shared the same theme as it does every year, except back then the origins of MIDI control were just being tapped into.

When synthesizers were beginning to be mass produced, they were costly and could not perform more than one function at the same time.  It was common to see keyboardists with their left hand on one keyboard and their right hand on another, since the machines weren’t capable of playing two instruments in one.  But when MIDI was discovered and implemented, it meant that computers could now control these instruments instead of the hardware.  It was a giant leap for mankind.