The MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA) has released the MIDI Polyphonic Expression (MPE) specification that was adopted by the organization at the 2018 Winter NAMM show. It is available for download at www.midi.org.
MPE allows electronic instruments such as synthesizers to attain a level of expressiveness typically possible only with acoustic instruments. In MPE, each note is assigned its own MIDI Channel so that Channel-wide messages (such as Pitch Bend, filter cutoff and other control changes) can be applied to each note individually.
Prior to MPE, expressive gestures—such as adding vibrato—often affected all notes being played. With MPE, every note a musician plays can be articulated individually for much greater expressiveness. New instruments take advantage of MPE so that musicians can send multiple dimensions of finger movement control - not only from left or right, but also up, down, pressure, and beyond.
"The adoption of MPE as a new MIDI standard will durably impact musicians' workflow, " said Jean-Baptiste Thiebaut of ROLI. "2018 is going to be an exciting year for MIDI".
Tom White, President of the MMA added "MPE is an important step forward in increased MIDI expressiveness. We expect that in the near future, we also will be releasing the MIDI Capability Inquiry specification that was adopted at Winter NAMM. The MMA and its Japanese counter part, the Association of Musical Electronics Industry (AMEI) are working closely on a number of major MIDI initiatives in 2018."