Free Beat Making Guide

Is MIDI Real Music?

producer talk

Throughout my time producing I've seen the argument come up a few times that MIDI isn't real music. The argument usually stems from someone with a more traditional music upbringing where electronic or "computer" music was less prevalent and playing or creating music usually involved learning to play an instrument.

Now I don't think this argument is inherently bad or malicious, I just think it might be a little misguided and as someone who has been classically trained in music theory, plays a few instruments and produces "computer" music now, I feel I might have a unique perspective to offer so let's dive in.

Ok, so the argument that keeps coming up over and over again is that MIDI isn't real music. Some people believe that placing MIDI notes in a digital music software isn't making real music and that real music consists of actually picking up an instrument and learning how to play.

Now there might be some merit to this but I think these are two separate arguments. As far as whether or not MIDI is real music you have to think about what MIDI is. MIDI is no more than just a placeholder that tells you what notes to play, when and for how long. MIDI then, is no different than notation on a musical staff, because much like MIDI, a musical staff only tells you what notes to play, when and for how long. When I was in the band in high school we used to get handed a sheet of music that had the piece we were playing that day but it wasn't until I picked up my trumpet and played the notes that we got any sound.


MIDI is exactly the same.


At first, all you have are notes on a screen but you don't get any sound any music until you assign a virtual instrument in a DAW to play the notes.

MIDI then is no more than just a different way to write and play music.

As far learning a real instrument or else you don't count, that's like saying you either paint on a real canvas instead of a tablet or you're not a real painter. At the end of the day, art is art and art comes in different mediums. The only thing I will say though, as someone with experience with instruments is that learning an instrument is, in fact, an absolute game-changer. I've mentioned this more than once on this channel but I'm a huge advocate of learning an instrument and I sincerely think it's the key to elevating your music career and making you a more valuable producer.

Now I can't make you start learning an instrument but if you do want to start learning some theory using MIDI then go ahead and download my free Production Tool Kit. Inside you'll find 5 original sample loops along with all of the Major and Minor scales in MIDI format along with their triad chords. You can set the MIDI scales in the background of your DAW and use them as ghost notes to not only learn these scales but also create original melodies, use the triad MIDI chords to understand how they are composed and create some progressions of your own or of course use them both alongside the samples to create a brand new beat of your own. All of that available for you to download for free by clicking here.

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