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MIDI (short for Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is the way computers communicate with most sound cards, keyboards, and other electronic instruments. MIDI refers to both the type of cables and plugs used to connect the computers and instruments, and to the language those computers and instruments use to talk to each other. The MIDI standard is accepted and used worldwide. Almost any electronic instrument you buy today will have MIDI connectors and can be used with other MIDI instruments and with your computer’s MIDI interface. To record MIDI in SONAR, you have to have a MIDI cable connecting the MIDI OUT port on your MIDI instrument to a MIDI IN port on either your sound card or your MIDI interface. You must also make sure that you have installed the software MIDI driver that came with your sound card or MIDI interface.
The MIDI language conveys information and instructions, both from the computer to the instrument and from the instrument to the computer. For example, if your computer wants your keyboard to play a note, it sends a MIDI “Note On” message and tells the keyboard which note to play. When your computer wants the keyboard to stop playing that note, it sends another message that stops the note from playing.
The MIDI language has many other instructions, such as messages to change the sound that is used to play the notes (the bank and patch), messages that enable working with the sustain pedal and the pitch-bend wheel, and others. By sending the right messages at the right times, your computer can control your electronic instrument and make it play music.
MIDI files contain all the MIDI messages and timing information that are needed to play a song. MIDI files can be read and played by many different programs, including SONAR, and can even be played by programs on other types of computers. MIDI files have the extension .mid.
The primary disadvantage of MIDI is that the quality of the sound a listener hears will vary depending on the MIDI equipment the listener is using. For example, MIDI usually sounds much better on an expensive synthesizer than it does on an inexpensive sound card.

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