The Official MIDI Specifications

General MIDI Lite

The General MIDI Lite specification was developed to meet a particular market requirement. The specification defines three things:

  • A set of features for fixed-polyphony GM Lite devices
  • Authoring guidelines for music data in SMF (Standard MIDI File) format that is intended for playback on GM Lite devices
  • Implementation guidelines for GM Lite file players 

Note: There is also a Scalable Polyphony MIDI (SP-MIDI) Specification which compliments GML by defining features and authoring guidelines for flexible-polyphony MIDI devices and content.

GM Lite vs. GM 1

The General MIDI Lite device specification is intended for equipment that does not have the capability to support the full feature set defined in General MIDI 1.0, on the assumption that the reduced performance may be acceptable (and even required) in some mobile applications.

GM Lite Features (Required)

Number of Notes: 16 simultaneous notes
MIDI Channels: 16
- Simultaneous Melodic Instruments = up to 15
- Simultaneous Percussion Kits = 1 (Channel 10)
Control Change Messages
- Modulation Depth (cc#1)
- Channel Volume (cc#7)
- Pan (cc#10)
- Expression (cc#11)
- Data Entry (cc#6/38)
- Hold1 (Damper) (cc#64)
- RPN LSB/MSB (cc#100/101)
- Pitch Bend
- All Sound Off, All Notes Off, Reset All Controllers
Registered Parameter Numbers
- Pitch Bend Sensitivity
Universal System Exclusive Messages
- GM1 System On
GM Lite Instrument Sound Set
GM Lite Percussion Sound Set

For complete details on GML features and MIDI message syntax, please consult the General MIDI Lite Specification itself.

GM Lite Developer Information

Recommended guidelines for Using GM Lite in Mobile Applications are included in the GM Lite Specification document. Developers are also urged to consult the GM 1 Developer Guidelines.

Developers of GM Lite players are strongly advised to keep as much flexibility as possible in how their players handle channel priorities, drum channels and other System messages. This will make it far easier for their products to be compatible with song data authored for the Scalable Polyphony MIDI specification.


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