6 Best Free MIDI Software for Tech-Savvy Musicians

Finally, you’ve decided to make your childhood dream come true and become a musician. You feel excited to embark on this journey, but there is one problem — making music is an expensive hobby. At the very least, you need an instrument and a recording program, and those don’t come cheap. Or, well, they don’t unless you choose the best free MIDI software from this list.

What Is MIDI Software?

MIDI, short for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, is a protocol that allows musical tools and electronic instruments to communicate. It achieves that using the so-called MIDI messages — brief, numeric descriptions of an action you perform on an instrument.

Computers and electronic instruments can decipher these messages, allowing you to easily record music, edit notes, and experiment with song arrangement.

MIDI protocol is by no means new in the world of music recording and production. On the contrary, it first came to be in the early 1980s, when a new type of synthesizer appeared on the market. MIDI software was developed to allow producers to control several synthesizers from just one keyboard. That way, they were able to create a layered sound that was popular at the time.

From then on, MIDI kept developing until it became the software it is today. Now, it can even connect devices and instruments made by different manufacturers. The only requirement is that the devices you’re trying to connect to are MIDI compatible.

How Does MIDI Software Work?

As you now know, MIDI software uses short messages to facilitate communication between connected devices. But how exactly do these messages work? And how can they help you produce and compose music?

Well, imagine that you’re recording a piece of music you’re playing on a synthesizer. You use the MIDI protocol to connect the instrument to the computer and then begin the session. As you play, every single action you take (pressing keys, turning knobs, moving the joystick) is encoded as a MIDI message and sent to the computer. However, these messages aren’t actually sounds.

Now, when you play back the sequence you recorded, your computer sends MIDI messages to the synthesizer. Then, the synthesizer decodes the messages and produces sounds based on them. Thus, you never have to worry about outside noise compromising your audio and ruining your progress.

Also, editing and rearranging notes becomes much easier. If you make a mistake or mistime a note, you don’t have to record everything from the beginning. Simply open the editing software and fix the issue there. You can also try out different sequence orders until you stumble upon a combination that works best.

On top of all that, MIDI software allows you to do things you could never do with simple audio recording. For instance, if you recorded a track on the piano, you can change it to guitar with a few simple clicks. Just imagine the possibilities that open up thanks to that!

Best Free MIDI Software

Now that you know what MIDI software is and how it works, it’s time to start using it and take your music to another level. But you’ll come across another problem — there are so many programs to choose from! Luckily, though, if you’re looking for the best free MIDI software out there, you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few you should definitely check out:

Best Free MIDI Software for Playing

1. Piano 10 for Windows

Piano 10 is quite impressive for free software — it has an excellent selection of high-quality sounds to choose from. What’s more, once you download it from the official Microsoft store, you can use it on any Windows device. And that’s sure to come in handy!

Piano 10

Ease of Use

When you first start the software, you might be a little confused. After all, Piano 10’s interface is entirely taken up by the keyboard, with the menu symbols in the corners above. From the symbols alone, it may not be easy to figure out where to click to perform a specific action. Thus, there will probably be some trial and error in the beginning.

But once you get used to the software, it’s quite easy to use. You should have no trouble playing on any device, whether it’s a computer, smartphone, or tablet.

Features

Since Piano 10 is free, you might be surprised to learn that it has 126 different sounds to choose from. Those include electric and acoustic bass, different types of guitar, and so much more. On top of that, you can apply effects such as reverb, echo, or sustain to your sound. Though you can use only one at a time, it’s still a fantastic option to have.

And if you’re a beginner and looking to learn how to play, Piano 10 has got you covered. If you turn on the Auto Chords option, the chords will light up as you press the keys and help you memorize what is what.

Sound and Performance

All Piano 10’s features would hardly mean anything if the sound were subpar. Luckily, though, that’s not the case. The default sound is pretty good on its own, but it becomes much better when you turn on the sustain effect. You’ll almost feel like you’re playing a real piano.

However, if you want to play softly, you might have some issues. Pressing the keys too lightly often doesn’t produce sound at all, which certainly can be frustrating. Still, aside from that, you should have no problems at all!

2. Pianu.com for Mac or Apple

Pianu.com isn’t exclusive to Apple or Mac, and you can use it from any device with an internet connection. That’s mainly due to the fact that you don’t have to download this software at all. Simply open it in your browser, and you’re ready to play!

Pianu.com

Ease of Use

You won’t need an extensive tutorial to learn how to use Pianu.com. All you have to do is plug your keyboard into your computer and connect the two devices. And if you don’t have a keyboard, no problem — you can also use your laptop keys to play. Nothing could be easier!

Features

Pianu.com is excellent for beginners who are just looking for a program to help them practice piano. You won’t find any fancy sound effects here, but there are enough built-in lessons to keep you occupied for a while. The best part is that you get to learn how to play some contemporary songs, too, not just the classics like Amazing Grace.

Sound and Performance

Since Pianu.com is a web-based application, you wouldn’t think it would be on the same level as some other programs on this list. However, that’s not the case at all. The app works surprisingly well and sounds quite good too. You certainly won’t have issues with it if you’re only practicing!

3. Perfect Piano for Android

Did you know that you can use MIDI keyboard software on your Android smartphone? If you have any doubts about that, the Perfect Piano app is bound to dispel them. And surprisingly, this app works just like any other program on the list!

Perfect Piano

Ease of Use

You’ll be hard-pressed to find an app as simple to use as Perfect Piano. Even if you’re not particularly tech-savvy, you’ll have no trouble with it at all. All you need to do is connect it to your MIDI keyboard, and you can use it straight away. No complicated setup of any kind!

Features

While the default sound may be the piano, you can choose a different one — for instance, a violin, a harp, or a trumpet. Aside from these in-app sounds, you can download additional ones that you need. And for a more interesting sound, use the sustain effect that’s readily available in the app.

But that’s not all — Perfect Piano can even help you learn how to play. If you choose this option, notes will start descending on the screen, and you’ll have to hit them at the right moment. It’s similar to a video game, except that you’re actually learning how to play an instrument.

Sound and Performance

For a free mobile app, Perfect Piano has an excellent sound and generally performs really well. In fact, you’re unlikely to experience any lag or glitching as you play, which is crucial for a program of this kind. Ultimately, it’s a fantastic app — the best one you can get for free for your smart device.

Best Free MIDI Software for Recording

1. MIDI Editor for Windows

If you’re looking for the best free MIDI software for recording and editing, MIDI Editor has got you covered. It’s simple enough for a beginner to use yet offers all the features necessary for a proper recording session.

MIDI Editor

Ease of Use

MIDI Editor is quite simple to download and install, and connecting your keyboard to this software shouldn’t be a hassle. But when it comes to editing and recording, you may find yourself a little lost. If you’ve never used a similar program, these advanced features could be a challenge to master. Luckily, you can find many tutorials online to help you.

Features

As you play, you will see the bars on your screen, which actually represent the notes you’re playing. These bars will show which notes you played, how long you played them, as well as how hard you pressed the keys. MIDI Editor allows you to adjust the timing of the notes to the beat or entirely change the piano sound to a flute or guitar.

Sound and Performance

MIDI Editor does exactly what it promises to do — it lets you record and edits your tracks quickly and effortlessly. The software’s features are fairly basic, but that’s not a surprise considering that you get it for free. Ultimately, it’s unlikely to give you any cause for complaint, so go ahead and give it a try!

2. GarageBand for Mac or Apple

No best free MIDI software list could be complete without GarageBand. This program has set the standard for all similar ones for Mac and Apple. After all, it has a number of excellent features that allow you to create whole songs in no time!

GarageBand

Ease of Use

GarageBand is easy to use if you have experience with similar software, but it can be overwhelming for a beginner. As soon as you start it up, you’ll notice a few different sections with various icons and options. At first, you could have some trouble figuring out what to do exactly, but don’t worry — you’ll surely find good tutorials on YouTube.

Features

When it comes to features, GarageBand is miles ahead of other similar free software. There are hundreds of sounds to choose from, as well as pre-made drum loops you can play along to. And if that’s not enough, you can download additional sounds and effects!

Sound and Performance

Once again, GarageBand doesn’t disappoint. It’s excellent for practicing the piano or even composing a full electronic track. However, the default sound is a bit too robotic, so it won’t suit all genres. That shouldn’t be too much of a problem, though. After all, you can get additional effects and sounds.

3. Caustic 3 for Android

Finally, you can edit and record tracks even from your Android smartphone or tablet. All you need is a good app to give you that option, and Caustic 3 is definitely one such. So let’s take a closer look!

Caustic 3

Ease of Use

At first glance, Caustic 3 may look complicated due to the number of features it has. However, once you actually start using it and get used to it, you’ll notice that it really isn’t that bad. In fact, it’s quite beginner-friendly and shouldn’t be much of a hassle to master!

Features

Much like the other software on this list, Caustic 3 has all sorts of sound effects, synths, and samplers to choose from. It actually functions as a free, simplified version of Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Thus, you can be sure you’re getting everything you need for recording a track!

Sound and Performance

Caustic 3 sounds great and runs smoothly, so you shouldn’t have any problems with it as you record. The only issue could be that it’s quite demanding on your device, so you might run out of battery before you finish editing the track.

Conclusion

Now that you know what the best free MIDI software on the market is, you can finally start making music you’ve always wanted to make. You don’t need any state-of-the-art equipment or expensive programs. Just a bit of passion and a free app from this list can go a long way.


Featured image source: Pinterest

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