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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Nov 17 > THE WORLD OF MPE CONTROLLERS


These days, it’s easier than ever to completely control the expression of your MIDI data with a wide variety of often quirky, somewhat futuristic creative instruments. Erin Barra delves deep into the world of MPE controllers…




In my neverending quest to access and explore expressive technology, I want to focus on MPE data. I was first introduced to MPE in late 2015 when I started messing around with a ROLI Seaboard and then, a few months later, found myself creating tutorial video content for that same company. Shortly thereafter, I had the pleasure of befriending Roger Linn, who created the MPE-driven LinnStrument, as well as many other pivotal pieces of tech we all know and love, and had several lengthy conversations with him about MPE and music. Lately, I’ve been seeing even more MPE-driven technology, such as the Instrument 1 by Artiphon, as well as other hardware and software developers becoming MPE compatible. There’s obviously a trend happening here and it’s one I’m simultaneously fascinated and frustrated by.

As an educator, one of the things that I find frustrating is the learning curve in understanding and controlling MPE driven tech, so the first question I’d like to address here is: ‘What is MPE?’ MPE stands for Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression, although the MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA) seems to be calling it MIDI Polyphonic Expression. One of the obstacles in understanding MPE is that, in order to grasp it, you have to also grasp the basics of how the MIDI protocol itself works. If you’re like me, you never really bothered to learn how MIDI data gets sent from your controller to your hardware and software instruments, because like a mobile phone, it just works. But then the day comes when you find yourself needing to send or receive MIDI data on different channels and you spend the next three hours combing the internet for answers…

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About MusicTech

We’re very excited to reveal our new-look issue, which is on sale from Thursday 19th October, and we’ve gone the extra mile to give you something really special. Building up the courage to share your tracks over the internet is one thing, but performing them live is something else entirely. That’s where our cover feature, From Studio To Stage comes in. With 7-pages of expert advice from Matin Delaney you’ll be gig-ready in no time. Elsewhere in the mag we chat with Emre Ramazanoglu, who’s body of work includes several 2017 movie soundtracks as well as some of the biggest pop releases in recent years. Additionally we present our 10 tips to speed up your computer (without buying a new one), a retrospective on the Roland SH-101 and 6 reasons to buy more gear (as if you needed any). This and so much more in the new-look issue of MusicTech magazine.