Official MIDI Specifications


The MIDI Association (TMA) produces the technical Specifications that make MIDI products work together.
The Specifications define new MIDI Messages and new recommended practices for using MIDI Technology.

Join the MIDI Association and use the links below to find and download all of the available MIDI Specifications and Recommended Practices.
Note: For people who want to learn about MIDI technology without reading the technical specifications, we have Tutorials hereand a Video Curriculum here.

To check out our Reference Tables, please go here. 

All MIDI Specifications are available for download by members of the MIDI Association.
Please register to download... it's free!

MIDI 2.0 is an extension of MIDI 1.0. It does not replace MIDI 1.0 but builds on the core principles, architecture, and semantics of MIDI 1.0.

A foundational architecture for MIDI 2.0 expansion is defined by the MIDI Capability Inquiry (MIDI-CI) specification. MIDI-CI allows Devices with bidirectional communication to agree to use extended MIDI capabilities beyond those already defined in MIDI 1.0, while carefully protecting backward compatibility.

MIDI 2.0 is not a stand-alone specification. Manufacturers and developers must have a thorough understanding of MIDI 1.0 in order to implement MIDI 2.0. 

The MIDI 1.0 Detailed Specification captured the state of MIDI as of 1996 and is for developers, hobbyists, technicians, and others who want to know about the inner workings of MIDI.
It included sections on the following extensions to MIDI which have been separated for individual download.
  • General MIDI
  • Standard MIDI Files
  • MIDI Show Control
  • MIDI Machine Control
  • MIDI Time Code
The original MIDI 1.0 Specification called for using a 5-Pin DIN cable to connect MIDI compatible devices, but today there are many different "transports" capable of carrying MIDI data, and the specification for 5-Pin DIN has been updated.

Some of the transport specifications for MIDI were developed in conjunction with other organizations (typically those who control the specification for that particular transport). Below are descriptions of all MMA-approved alternate transport specifications and where to get the document.
Official MIDI file format specifications.
  • Standard MIDI Files
  • DLS: Downloadable Sounds
  • XMF: eXtensible Music Format
  • Mobile MIDI formats
These developer white papers  are documents created by the MMA that are not MIDI specifications, but documents to help developers and content creators take advantage of MIDI to provide increased interoperability.