MIDI

Linux MIDI Command Line Cheatsheet

USB MIDI controllers and keyboards have come way down in price the last few years.  We really like the Akai MPK Mini mkII, and we’ve really enjoyed using the Numark Orbit because it has an accelerometer in it for sensing tilt and motion, and it is easy to send MIDI messages for changing its colors.

Use the command line to control the MIDI system


If you’re experimenting with a Raspberry Pi using USB MIDI input devices, you’ll probably get to the point where you are wondering if it is working correctly and if the MIDI information is getting into your Raspberry Pi.  This article lists some of the command line tools you can use to examine the information coming from these devices.
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Using rtpmidi from the Command Line

Did you know you can use rptmidi directly from the command line in a terminal?  When used this way, the GUI (graphical user interface) is not used, and Bonjour is skipped as well.  Instead, each invocation of the rtpmidi program creates a new Session that can be a Session Listener or Session Initiator.  Working at this level you can connect if you know the hostname or IP-Address of each computer, as well as the port the RTP-MIDI session is listening on.

Command line mode can also come in handy if you are developing a “headless” embedded computer application like the Zynthian Raspberry Pi Synthesizer.
Read on for detailed examples and explanations.
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Using Yoshimi Software Synthesizer on the Raspberry Pi 3B

The RaspberryPi 3B is an amazingly powerful computer for the price. It provides quad-core computing power for just $35. This makes it more than capable for music experimentation and learning, and experimenting with Software Synthesizers is a fun way to learn about sound.
 

Yoshimi Software Synthesizer running on the Raspberry Pi 3B


This article gives some hints for setting up a Software Synthesizer on your Raspberry Pi. We’ll talk about installing and configuring Yoshimi. Of course, this “software synth” works great with McLaren Labrtpmidi, so you can experiment with a network of Raspberry Pi synthesizers too.
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Korg Microkey Air 37 Bluetooth MIDI Keyboard with Raspberry Pi

Do you want to have even more fun with your musical Raspberry Pi? Use an external Bluetooth MIDI keyboard with it! For this project, you need to download and compile a new version of the Bluetooth drivers for Linux. If you don’t already have compilation tools installed, you’ll need those too.

We will tell you how to compile and install the necessary Bluetooth driver, and then describe how to pair a Bluetooth MIDI Keyboard.

Prerequisites

You should have a Raspberry Pi 3 with built-in Bluetooth adaptor and Raspbian Stretch OS.
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Yamaha MD-BT01 Bluetooth MIDI adapter to Raspberry Pi

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The Yamaha MD-BT01 is a nifty little MIDI 5-pin DIN to Bluetooth adapter.  It plugs into the MIDI In/Out ports of MIDI controllers to connect wirelessly to a computer with Bluetooth.  A typical use for this adapter is to connect legacy MIDI keyboards to a computer without using a 5-pin MIDI to USB adapter on the computer.  Since most computers have Bluetooth built in these days, this makes for a tidy work-area since it eliminates at least one of the cables in your MIDI studio.


The MD-BT01 has a very smart appearance – it consists of just two large plugs connected by a single wire.  It runs off of the current already provided by the 5-pin MIDI signal.  Just plug it in, and it advertises itself as a Bluetooth MIDI connection point.    Since it uses the Bluetooth MIDI standard, it can connect to many different devices.  We tested it with Raspberry Pi and it works fine with Raspbian Stretch.  If you have followed the steps in our previous article (https://mclarenlabs.com/blog/2019/01/15/korg-microkey-air-37-bluetooth-midi-keyboard-with-raspberry-pi/) then your Pi is ready to go.
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Network Musical Performance and Cloud MIDI-Bridge

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Remote musical MIDI collaboration has been an interesting academic research area for years, but has not been explored by many casual musicians. One reason is that the complexity of software that brings MIDI and Networking together makes it a little bit of a daunting endeavor. We think it’s time to open exploration to more people and make remote MIDI collaboration as easy as joining a Hangout.

What is Network MIDI?

Back in 2001, a group of researchers at Berkeley began to experiment with remote musical collaboration [1]. The idea was see if musicians separated by some distance could collaborate in real time over a high-speed network. Rather than sending real-time audio signals, MIDI events were transmitted between instruments at two different locations.

Read More »Network Musical Performance and Cloud MIDI-Bridge