A survey of real-time MIDI performance

Mark J. Nelson, Belinda Thom (2004). A survey of real-time MIDI performance. In Proceedings of the Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression, pp. 35–38.


Although MIDI is often used for computer-based interactive music applications, its real-time performance is rarely quantified, despite concerns about whether it is capable of adequate performance in realistic settings. We extend existing proposals for MIDI performance benchmarking so they are useful in realistic interactive scenarios, including those with heavy MIDI traffic and CPU load. We have produced a cross-platform freely-available testing suite that is easy to use, and have used it to survey the interactive performance of several commonly-used computer/MIDI setups. We describe the suite, summarize the results of our performance survey, and detail the benefits of this testing methodology.

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