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Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The XG MIDI Standard by Yamaha

I am a big fan of the XG (eXtended General MIDI) standard. Its a superset of the General MIDI (GM) standard. The way the instrument names are laid out are totally compatible with GM sound sets. On top of that however, similar variants of the base patches are put in extended banks that extends from the base bank numbers. Controller numbers are also the same, so we do not need to remember new controller numbers. 

This is a huge welcome for me after dealing with Korg's instrument naming convention. Most instruments have a GM bank and then their own banks. The painful thing to do with accessing those extra banks unique to each instruments is that you have to remember bank change and patch change controller number sequences. I am a somewhat technically inclined person, but not a total technical geek, so having to remember those extra bank change codes is a huge headache for me. That is the reason why I like XG. The instruments are very much more logically laid out in a GM compatible manner.

Also, this ensures that XG files are "downward" compatible with GM files. If I play back an XG MIDI file on a non-XG synthesizer, the instruments will map correctly (and thus play and sound correctly) even without the additional instrument variations, because the base patch number is the same.

On top of this, it has added a huge number of additional controllers numbers for expressive articulation of the instruments, allowing music composers and creators greater freedom of musical expression in their creations. 

To know more about XG you can visit these sites:
http://www.thewhippinpost.co.uk/midi/xg/xg-midi.htm