CurrentĀ Status: Working Draft (WD)
CanonicalĀ URI:
Abstract: Some user agents have connected music devices, such as synthesizers, keyboard and other controllers, and drum machines. The widely adopted Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) protocol enables electronic musical instruments, controllers and computers to communicate and synchronize with each other. MIDI does not transmit audio signals: instead, it sends event messages about musical notes, controller signals for parameters such as volume, vibrato and panning, cues and clock signals to set the tempo, and system-specific MIDI communications (e.g. to remotely store synthesizer-specific patch data). This same protocol has become a standard for non-musical uses, such as show control, lighting and special effects control. This specification defines an API supporting the MIDI protocol, enabling web applications to enumerate and select MIDI input and output devices on the client system and send and receive MIDI messages. It is intended to enable non-music MIDI applications as well as music ones, by providing low-level access to the MIDI devices available on the users' systems. At the same time, the Web MIDI API is not intended to become a semantic controller platform; it is designed to expose the mechanics of MIDI input and output interfaces, and the practical aspects of sending and receiving MIDI messages, without identifying what those actions might mean semantically. To some users, "MIDI" has become synonymous with Standard MIDI Files and General MIDI. That is not the intent of this API; the use case of simply playing back a .SMF file is not within the purview of this specification (it could be considered a different format to be supported by the HTML5 <audio> element, for example). The Web MIDI API is intended to enable direct access to devices that respond to MIDI - external synthesizers or lighting systems, for example, or even the software synthesizers that are built in to many common operating systems. The Web MIDI API is also explicitly designed to enable a new class of applications on the web that can respond to MIDI controller inputs - using external hardware controllers with physical buttons, knobs and sliders (as well as musical controllers like keyboard, guitar or wind instrument controllers) to control web applications. The Web MIDI API is also expected to be used in conjunction with other APIs and elements of the web platform, notably the Web Audio API and High-Resolution Time. This API is also intended to be familiar to users of MIDI APIs on other systems, such as Apple's CoreMIDI and Microsoft's Windows MIDI API.

Web MIDI API Updates: