Even if you're not a musician, you may have seen viral videos of people making "drawings" out of musical notes on a computer and feeding them into a synth to see what it sounds like. Perhaps you’ve seen this most recently popular result of MIDI drawing by the Norwegian musician and composer Mari Lesteberg on which she depicted a Super Mario
Cool, right? But really, what's going on here?
“Musical Instrument Digital Interface, or MIDI, is a digital protocol that allows devices such as keyboards, synthesizers, and even computers to communicate with each other seamlessly,” explained Samantha Cole of Motherboard
. It simply works similarly to sheet music: There’s the height of the "notes" which resembles the pitch of the music with each line or dot representing such note in the song. While it was developed during the 80s not specifically to "draw" a sketch with its notes, this has been of great use at that time, even defining computerized music until now. Its art form (drawings) has then been developed and utilized as early as year 2010.
Now, Lesteberg has stepped up the game, creating different creations staring from a tribute to Frank Zappa to crude pokémon to other compelling note-paintings. But she's far from alone. Different musicians like the famous Andrew Huang spiced it up a little further and made a MIDI drawing with a laminated tracing sheet involved, following the steps of another musician Aleksander Vinter.
“The charm of the MIDI drawing is in its embodiment of sounds. It's nearly synesthetic: A lilting melody looks like a bird. A trip through the Mario Brothers' landscape sounds as charmingly innocent as it looks. The president's head sounds like orange barf. It's uncanny, how the visual and audible combine to take us on a simple, sweet journey,” adds Cole. It’s basically an art of another kind- still a way of expressing yourself or making others feel things nonetheless. So, give it a try maybe? Who knows, perhaps you're looking at your new hobby.