But the simplest way to instantly use MIDI is through using a MIDI file or song, as a backing track to yourself either for practice or vocals for a gig etc. These can be easily stored on even a good oul' Floppy Disc.
Midi File - Songs
This is as simple as choosing a song to work with, and using a pre-programmed version of the particular song you like or need. When you have the song file you like, it's just a matter of pressing Play on whatever it is that you have to play the MIDI track - just like a CD player.
For example you can play MIDI files (songs) on Windows Media Player and other software players. You can also play these tracks on a dedicated MIDI file player at a gig and so on.
Programmed MIDI files are available in many places nowadays and are all over the Net both free and to order. The problem is that they range from truly abysmal to excellent. It's the excellent ones you should aim for of course and there's a few recommendations down below.
Tweaking the Mix
Where's a good place to start using MIDI? A good middle ground would be to start off with a quality pre-programmed midi-file or song, and tweak it in a software editor (like Cubase). This means you could for example take any lead vocal instruments out of the mix and sing it live. The more you become familiar with the software editor the more you can change and manipulate the track. You can even start a track from scratch and compose your own masterpiece. From Pop songs to full blown orchestral pieces - it's up to you. The quality and sounds of the track can be perfect if you work at it.
Here's a quick demo of a David Gray tune I covered myself using a backing track that was MIDI based. It's a cool song released in '01 called Please Forgive Me Written and Recorded by David Gray ©
... taken from his cool CD - White Ladder
This demo - David O'Toole
(Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Programming, Sampling)
Mother Keyboards - MIDI Input
The best and easiest way to put musical notes and MIDI commands into your Computer is by using a MIDI Mother Keyboard We'll have a quick look at the options here in the next part of our Home Studio Setup's Special. In the meantime here's two excellent online resources where you can order quality MIDI files - SheetmusicPlus (USA) and Musicroom (Europe/UK). Just type in the term "MIDI" and Go to see what's available.
If it's freebie midi-files you're looking for, I would suggest Google with a search using the terms "+free +MIDI Files". But as mentioned the quality varies a lot, and finding a quality version of a particular song can be a bit time consuming and "Luck of the Draw" as they say.