Understanding MIDI: Create Compositions With Help Of MIDI FX
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Understanding MIDI: Create Compositions With Help Of MIDI FX

Make music by using the power of MIDI, MIDI FX and understand the basics of songwriting.
4.6 (16 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
1,177 students enrolled
Last updated 10/2015
Current price: $10 Original price: $20 Discount: 50% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 1 Supplemental Resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • use midi as a source of musical information.
  • use midi fx to manipulate midi notes.
  • create a short composition containing only four notes and a heap of midi fx.
  • create a mixdown of their composition to get it heard!
View Curriculum
  • You should have a basic knowledge on how to create music in a DAW.
  • You should be familiar with the core basics of music theory.

About this course:

  • 1+ hours of content available!
  • 1000+ students already joined the course!
  • Latest Update on the 1st of Oct, 2015: Bonus Walkthrough through another example!
  • Free preview lectures available, please look for the example in the Bonus Section to see what you going to learn.

This class is all about understanding the power of MIDI and MIDI FX.

Audio FX change the sound of you composition, but MIDI FX are able to change the notes. With the help of MIDI FX, you will learn how to create a rich piece of music by changing pitches, note length and velocities and give it a moving and changing feeling by using chords, arpeggios and scales.

Your goal is to learn how to modify MIDI notes and create a short composition with MIDI FX. This helps students new to the concept of MIDI and MIDI FX to get a good understanding of what can be done with MIDI signals. Experienced composers should get new ideas and inspirations on how to use MIDI in their creations.

You can complete this course in roughly 2 to 3 hours.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is meant for students that have fun making music and like to improve their compositions by using midi fx.
  • This course is useful for students new to midi composing as they will learn how to use midi signals.
  • This course will probably NOT help students with no prior experience with DAWs.
Compare to Other Music Composition Courses
Curriculum For This Course
23 Lectures
2 Lectures 01:30

Hi and welcome to class!

This course is about making music with midi fx. All you need is a DAW with the ability to use midi fx (I recommend the free demo version of Ableton Live) and some basic notes!

If you have any questions during the course, feel free to contact me directly or use the discussion are!

Have fun learning!


Preview 01:30

Please read this two pages carefully to get the most out of this course.

Preview 2 pages
Midi Basics
3 Lectures 09:44

This lecture should give you a rough idea of what midi is and what it can be used for.

What is Midi?

In this lesson, you will learn how midi data is represented in DAWs and how to read it.

Midi in a DAW

It is important to understand the difference between audio and midi signals. In this lesson, you're gonna learn which is which and what the difference is.

Midi vs. Audio
Midi FX (in Ableton)
7 Lectures 21:18

The "pitch" effect transposes the midi notes into another pitch range.


The "note length" effect can be used to maniplate the lengths of all notes. They can get longer or shorter and will all have the same length.

Note Length

The "velocity" effect changes the velocity parameter of all notes. This can be extremely useful if you used a midi keyboard to record the notes and played them very different from each other.


The "scale" effect can be used to set a connection between the key that should be played and the key that will be played. You can use it to set a composition into a specific key or to decrease the range of notes that a certain track can use.


The "chord" effect adds additional notes to the note that you play or that is played in the midi clip. With that, you can play chords containing up to 7 keys with just one key pressed.


The "arpeggio" effect plays multiple notes like chords one ofter another in a certain pattern. This can be used to get more movement into your composition.


Now it is time to use our new knowledge!

Putting Theory Into Practice
Composing With Midi
9 Lectures 28:27

Within Ableton Live, it is easy to create a clip with basic notes and route those into each track. If your DAW does not have the routing ability, simply copy/paste your notes to the other tracks.

Basic Tones and Midi Routing In Ableton

The "pitch" effect is used to transport the basic notes of our composition into a range that makes sense with a bass sound.


In this lesson, chords will be used to fatten up the sounds of the organ. Please note that you don't have to stick to major or minor chords, feel free to try out different values and use them, even if you don't know why they sound nice if they do.

Adding Chords

Scales can be used to transpose the notes into a certain scale. Please note that you could have used it on the original track and route the midi notes "post fx" to get the scale manipulation on every track.

Using Scales

This lessons teaches you how to combine arpeggio and scale effect to trigger rhythmical drums sounds.

Using Arpeggio and Scales for Rhythmical Patterns

In this lesson, I use the arpeggio to play the chords taken from the organ channel in an "arpeggiated" way. It is important to understand that all that we hear comes from the four notes in the original midi clip.

Preview 04:05

Please experiment with combinations of effects, especially scales, chord and arpeggio. The order of the effects can play a major role, please keep that in mind!

Combining Multiple FX

If you want to arrange the order instruments get into play, use the arrangement view of Ableton (or the DAW of your choice). Please note the you might have to copy effects if you did not use the original notes but notes from a channel that already has midi effects on it.

Creating A Short Musical Section

If you want your composition to be heard in the internet or you want to play it from your cell phone or mp3 player, just create a mixdown of you work.

1 Lecture 00:51
Bonus Section
1 Lecture 06:05

This lecture shows a simple walkthrough. All tracks in this example get unmuted one after another and all the MIDI FX get switched on one after another so you can see and hear what triggers what. Please note: I used only three notes in this example, one playing all the time and two alternating. I also used the "Gate" parameter of the Arpeggio to force certain rhythmical behaviors.

Preview 06:05
About the Instructor
Marc "Selec" Zimmermann
4.7 Average rating
167 Reviews
5,603 Students
8 Courses
Music Producer, Radio Host, DJ, Remixer, Teacher, Trainer

I'm a DJ, producer, remixer, radio host and music lover from Dortmund (Germany). I'm also a teacher and trainer for DJing and Music Production at the VibrA School of DJing, the largest association of DJ schools in Europe.

Teaching to me is more than just knowing technical facts and details about my field of expertise. It's about giving the student a feeling of "I can understand this!" or "I can do this too!" and talk to him in a way so he can really achieve the knowledge without being an expert before the training.

I took a long way: In 1995, I bought my first turntables and started my first steps as a DJ and amateur producer. I played countless club gigs all over Germany and I still host a weekly fm live radio show named “Schwarzmarkt" (german for “black market"), which is on air live since 2002, every Friday night on Dortmund's fm college radio “eldoradio*". Besides, I was engaged in producing, working with lots of artists and musicians and doing remixes for contests. Since 2006 I additionally work as teacher and trainer at Europe's biggest association of DJ-Schools, the “VibrA – School of Djing" in Dortmund (and Münster for the time it existed) to coach DJs and producers coming from all styles of music in the arts of mixing, scratching and producing.

Some things I did and achieved in the last years:

  • 1995 - today: Club-DJ in various locations
  • 2002 - today: Host and Radio-DJ at fm radio station eldoradio* in Dortmund with my own weekly live show
  • 2006 - today: Teacher for DJing at the VibrA School of DJing in Dortmund
  • 2012 - today: Teacher for Music Production at the VibrA School of DJing in Dortmund
  • 2008 - 2010: Teacher for DJing at the VibrA School of DJing in Münster

I passed the test for the Teacher Certificate at the VibrA with "Sehr Gut" (best grade possible).

I planned and executed workshop, seminars and lectures, f.e. at the "Ruhrpuls Festival" in Bochum (2012), for the LfM (Landesanstalt für Medien, 2013) and as an expert for Music Production, DJing and Remixing I lectured at a academic high school (Q1 and Q2 am Gymnasium, 2014).

Being a producer and remixer, my work got (and will be) released on several labels since 2011, i.e. Renegade Media (Toronto, Canada), Dubstep Division (Berlin, Germany), Redlight Media Germany (Krefeld, Germany), UK Breakbeat (London, England), DivisionBass (Bristol, England), Boomrush Productions (Germany) and Deep In The Jungle Records (also England).

Additionally I am producer of the current mixtape series "Rootsstep To The World" for Rootstep Division Recordings (Berlin, Germany) with more than 20 issues within the last year.