By The MIDI Association on Monday, 29 January 2018
Category: MIDI News

MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA) Adopts MIDI Capability Inquiry (MIDI-CI) Specification.

MIDI-CI specification available for download

The MIDI-CI specification is now available for download by MIDI Association members. . 

MIDI-CI press release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA) Adopts MIDI Capability Inquiry (MIDI-CI) Specification.

New Feature of MIDI Technology Paves the Way for Significant Future Expansion

Los Angeles, CA, January 28, 2018 - Today marks the MIDI Manufacturers Association's (MMA) ratification of an important new extension to MIDI, the MIDI Capability Inquiry (MIDI-CI) Specification. MIDI Capability Inquiry messages enable devices to automatically inquire and set features that improve compatibility and simplify configuration. The messages also enable future enhancements such as negotiating to use a next generation protocol, and provide a "fall back" mechanism, so if a device does not support a new feature it continues to work as defined by MIDI 1.0.

MIDI-CI enables 3 main areas of new functionality: Profile Configuration, Property Exchange, and Protocol Negotiation. Documents defining specific profiles, specific properties and values, and the new protocol are expected from MMA during 2018.

About Profile Configuration

Profiles are defined sets of rules for how a MIDI device sends or responds to specific MIDI messages to achieve a specific purpose or suit a specific application. Profiles make products easier to configure and provide better interoperability. "Profile auto configuration of complex controller mappings is like MIDI Learn on steroids," said Mike Kent of MK2 Image and the Chair of the MMA's MIDI-CI working group.

At the MMA's Annual Meeting during the 2018 Winter NAMM Show, Korg, Roland and Yamaha demonstrated products interoperating using a draft Drawbar Organ Profile and a draft Analog Synth Profile. They also produced a movie showing a Drone Profile, which used MIDI messages sent to a Digital Proportional Controller to control the movements of a Drone in sync with music.

About Property Exchange

Property Exchange (PE) messages can get and set device properties including but not limited to product name, configuration settings, controller names, controller values, patch names and other meta data, etc. "Property Exchange total recall enables storing of multi device setups from a variety of manufacturers into a DAW project file, and allows seamlessly combining hardware and software synthesizers, providing users with the best of both worlds" stated Koichi Mizumoto of Roland Japan, and head of the AMEI MIDI-CI working group in Japan.

The demonstration at the MMA Annual Meeting included "total recall" of Yamaha, Roland, and Korg hardware instrument settings using draft PE messages and Steinberg Cubase software.

About Protocol Negotiation

MIDI-CI defines a method for two devices to negotiate to use a future industry standard "Next Generation" MMA/AMEI protocol that is now being developed, or a manufacturer- specific protocol. Devices that do not support any new protocol will continue to use MIDI 1.0 protocol.

The MIDI-CI Specification was developed by MMA with the Association of Musical Electronics Industries (AMEI), the body that maintains the MIDI Specification for Japan. AMEI adopted the CI Specification in November 2017. Having the Specification adopted by both bodies is necessary for it to be considered part of the official MIDI 1.0 Specification, which is a world-wide voluntary industry standard. MIDI-CI is just one of several initiatives that the MMA and AMEI are working on together to enhance MIDI technology.

"The really exciting part of MIDI-CI is that Protocol Negotiation paves the way for a new industry standard MIDI protocol that could enable new features like higher resolution, more channels and improved performance and expressiveness (while still maintaining backwards compatibility with current MIDI 1.0 devices)," said Yutaka Hasegawa, chairman of AMEI. "A new MIDI protocol would offer a bridge between music technology and new emerging technologies in other industries and allow creators, performers, and consumers to enjoy new and exciting musical experiences in the future."

MMA President Tom White added: "MIDI-CI is a very important first step towards next generation MIDI products with added capability and creates the possibility to expand MIDI into new markets in the future. The MMA and AMEI will continue to develop additional specifications that build on MIDI-CI's framework to expand the capabilities of MIDI while enhancing ease of use."

The MIDI-CI specification will be available for download in a few weeks. To obtain a free copy, join the MIDI Association, the global community of people who work, play and create with MIDI at www.MIDI.org. 

Official Press Release Downloadable PDF

What to expect and when to expect it

MIDI-CI has been passed by the MMA and AMEI ( the Japanese MIDI organization), but MIDI-CI is simply a mechanism to enable a new Protocol, Profiles, and Property Exchange.  All of those items need to be defined and described in separate documents.   Because MIDI-CI has passed we can now talk publicly about the MIDI-CI specification and what it can do. We plan to open sections of the forum here on MIDI.org devoted to each of the different parts of MIDI-CI to solicit your feedback.

Regarding Protocol, in 2017 the MMA made great progress on a specification for a Next Generation Protocol that stays close to MIDI 1.0 to make backwards translation as easy as possible. Because of MIDI-CI protocol negotiation, both AMEI and the MMA now agree that a new protocol should be adopted to expand MIDI capability.  So we are closer than we ever have been before, but we still need to finalize some details of the next generation MIDI protocol and then start to prototype and test implementations.  We will also eventually need new class compliant MIDI drivers for this new protocol.  

For Profiles,  we have some draft Profiles and some guideline documents to help people create Profiles and now the work will start to determine what Profiles will be useful and which Profiles we should focus on.  

Property Exchange is another area which has huge potential.  The NAMM demos showed Property Exchange doing Total Recall to a DAW, but there are many, many possibilities for using Property Exchange to get, set and recall MIDI Properties. 

So in reality with the adoption of MIDI-CI, our work didn't finish, it really just started and we expect that in the coming months and years, there will be more and more progress as companies start thinking about how to implement MIDI-CI to enhance their products and make them easier to use and more expressive to play. 

The Three 'B's of MIDI-CI

 


MIDI-CI assumes bidirectional communication so MIDI changes from a monologue to a dialogue

MIDI-CI creates a way to separate old devices and new devices and always allows fallback to MIDI 1.0 maintaining compatibility

Since MIDI-CI is based on MIDI 1.0 SysEx, Profiles Configuration and Property Exchange will work with (upgraded) MIDI 1.0 devices so both MIDI 1.0 devices and next generation protocol devices benefit from MIDI-CI

The Three 'P's of MIDI-CI

Enumeration of supported protocols

Negotiation to a new protocol

The following list has been agreed upon as the core specifications for the new protocol.  Of course specifications are always subject to change before final adoption. 

The really exciting part of MIDI-CI is that Protocol Negotiation paves the way for a new industry standard MIDI protocol which could enable new features like higher resolution, more channels and improved performance and expressiveness (while still maintaining backwards compatibility with current MIDI 1.0 devices). A new MIDI protocol would offer a bridge between music technology and new emerging technologies in other industries and allow creators, performers, and consumers to enjoy new and exciting musical experiences in the future.

by Yutaka Hasegawa, chairman of AMEI

Enumeration of supported Profiles

Configuring what profiles are active

Request Properties

Get, Set and Recall Properties

The Three 'E's of MIDI-CI

  • Expressiveness

Higher resolution messages, 3-D controllers and articulation messages will increase the expressiveness available to creators 

  • Ease of Use

Atomic messages, Profiles, and Property Exchange will make MIDI easier to use

  • Expansion

MIDI-CI will allow MIDI to expand into new areas and new industries. 

The MIDI-CI specification is now available for download by MIDI Association members. It is on the MIDI 1.0 specification page at the bottom of the list of MIDI 1.0 Specification Addenda after 1996.

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