MIDI, technology, and the future of music by John Knight

Ikutaro Kakehashi died this year. He is the founder of Roland and the innovator who gave us musical instrument digital interface (MIDI) in 1982. MIDI has become a ubiquitous feature in most music studios and is the language that powers modern music. Because of MIDI, music producers have entire orchestras right at their fingertips, a luxury that would have blown Beethoven's mind. 


Photo courtesy of roli.com

Photo courtesy of roli.com

Today's average indie musician regularly expresses contempt for modern technology. Citing mass communication as odious, analog puritans tout the moral superiority of tape machines and tube compression. Were these not brand new, if not futuristic, forms of mechanized musical aid 50 years ago? Had The Beatles not leveraged every ounce of technology at their disposal, would they have given us Revolver or Magical Mystery Tour?

Mr. Kakehashi created a language that enables humans to directly communicate musical ideas to computers. This has already born millions of new sounds, not to mention hip-hop and the Roland TR-808. New frontiers are being discovered with MPE, that break down the rigidity of western justly intimated music and open it to global cultural influence. Thank you Ikutaro Kakehashi for your contribution, and I hope we as musicians wield this tool for the good of future musicians  


The Adventures of Rocketman & Beano Premiers at Seattle Fringe Festival with music composed by John T. Knight by John Knight

Two superheroes fight fascism and evil. One of them is played by Christine Longé, who won the Seattle Fringe Festival's Audience Choice Award in 2014. She and Tom Spangenberg will entertain you with original music and clowning adventures that bring to mind "Batman and Robin meet Lucy and Desi." The Stranger, 2017