MIDI – the Musical Instrument Digital Interface – is a protocol specifying how electronic musical instruments may be controlled remotely. The protocol, which specifies both a hardware interface and a language for passing musically meaningful messages, was developed in the early 1980s in response to the increasing sophistication, and corresponding complexity, of commercial electronic instruments, especially synthesizers.
The work began with three engineers from Sequential Circuits, Roland Corporation, and Oberheim Electronics. Work centered on the development of a standard that would allow integration of instruments from any manufacturer. By August 1983 when the MIDI 1.0 Standard was formally published, two industry organizations: the MIDI Manufacturer’s Association (MMA), and the Japan MIDI Standards Committee were now governing the development of MIDI. The original MIDI 1.0 standard remains unchanged. However, shortly after the 1.0 standard was published, an additional document was published to solidify some vague areas like specifying which instruments should be on a given channel.