MIDI monitor

Drumstick MIDI Monitor

The MIDI protocol, commonly used to connect synthesizers, drum machines, and audio hardware to each other and a computer, is now 40 years old and still used in almost every artifact of music technology. This is remarkable when you consider how much technology has changed over that time: 1200 baud modems to broadband Internet, FM radio to 5G mobile data, and analog synthesizers to digital synthesizers and back to analog. Also, computers became smartphones and tablets, and MIDI became encased within USB. But MIDI still carries the same note, controller, volume, and pitch information that it did in 1985, and even the recently ratified MIDI 2.0 specification maintains this long term compatibility. This is great for compatibility, because it means your Roland Jupiter-6 from 1982 still works with your USB MIDI interface, but it's not so great for legibility. MIDI has no namespaces, no useful YAML or JSON formatting to let you focus only on the parts that interest you, and no easy way to debug connections and see exactly what is going where. This is where the Drumstick MIDI Monitor can help.

Drumstick MIDI Monitor feels modern, thanks to its Qt UI, and connects to whatever virtual or physical MIDI interfaces you have connected via ALSA. On most distributions, this means you won't need to do any configuration. Anything connected will simply show up. When you start generating data, such as pressing a key or moving a slider, the application will list each and every message, complete with its contents. Note data will show in the on and off velocity, for example, while control values will show both the least and most significant bit of any data. The best feature, though, enables you to record the stream of MIDI data and either save it to a text file for analysis, or a MIDI file for playback – whether from the application directly or your favorite piece of music software. If you do anything with MIDI, this and the virtual MIDI keyboard by the same developer are essential tools.

Project Website

Even system exclusive data can be captured with Drumstick, allowing you to archive and restore patches from esoteric old MIDI hardware.


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