System Exclusive Messages


MIDI System Exclusive (Sys/Ex) messages are special messages which lie outside the domain of normal musical elements. They are intended to set performance parameters on specific hardware devices, exclusive of other devices in your set-up. Sys/Ex messages may be edited, added and deleted from your music in the Sys/Ex dialog.


Four of the most common messages (General MIDI On/Off, Yamaha XG On, and Roland GS On) are provided as conveniences. You may also create your own custom messages. Ordinarily, Sys/Ex messages are added "in-line," that is, you give them a timestamp like any other element in music, and they will be performed at that time. In many cases, however, it is desirable to have a short sequence of Sys/Ex messages (for example, General MIDI On followed by XG On) which will be transmitted before the beginning of the song. We call this the Pre-Start sequence. The purpose of a Pre-Start sequence is to perform important initialization and set-up procedures in your playback devices before the music begins. The reason these messages should be transmitted before the piece, and not right at the beginning, is that synthesizers typically require from 300 to 500 milliseconds after reception of a system configuration message before they are ready to begin performing "normal" data such as notes and controllers.


Messages in the Pre-Start list are automatically spaced 500 milliseconds apart. Thus, for example, if you have four messages in the Pre-Start list, there will be a delay of 2 seconds after you hit the "Play" transport control button before your music actually starts.


To Add Pre-Start Messages


  1. Display the System Exclusive dialog by selecting SysEx… from the main tab "Playback".


  1. Click the New… button to bring up the System Exclusive Editor dialog.


  1. Select the Pre-Start Message check box to the right of the time control field.


  1. Click the Add button and select from among pre-defined sysex messages or New to define your own.


-OR-


Click the Import button to load a SysEx binary from a file.


  1. When defining your own custom message, give it a descriptive name in the Name field and enter the data directly into the Message Data box.


  1. Click OK to apply the changes.




  To Add In-Line Messages


  1. Display the System Exclusive dialog by selecting SysEx… from the main tab "Playback".


  1. Click the New button to bring up the System Exclusive Editor dialog.


  1. Set the time for the message in the time control .


  1. Click the Add button and select from among pre-defined sysex messages or New to define your own.


-OR-


Click the Import button to load a SysEx binary from a file.


  1. When defining your own custom message, give it a descriptive name in the Name field and enter the data directly into the Message Data box.


  1. Click OK to apply the changes.


To Export SysEx binaries (files)


You can export any SysEx message to a binary file forUse in other files.


  1. Display the System Exclusive dialog by selecting SysEx… from the main tab "Playback".


  1. Select the message you would like to save.


  1. Click the Edit… button to bring up the System Exclusive Editor dialog.


  1. Click the Export button to bring up the Save As dialog.



  To Reorder Pre-Start Messages


  1. Display the System Exclusive dialog by selecting SysEx… from the main tab "Playback".


  1. Select the message you would like to move in the Pre-Start Messages list.


  1. Click the up arrow or the down arrow to move the message.


  1. Click OK to apply the changes.



  To Edit Messages


  1. Display the System Exclusive dialog by selecting SysEx… from the main tab "Playback".


  1. Select the message you would like to edit in either the Pre-Start Messages list or the Normal Messages list.


  1. Click the Edit… button to bring up the Edit System Exclusive dialog.


  1. Edit the message data and click OK to apply the changes.



  To Remove Messages


  1. Display the System Exclusive dialog by selecting SysEx… from the main tab "Playback".


  1. Select the message you would like to remove in either the Pre-Start Messages list or the Normal Messages list.


  1. Click the Remove button.


  1. Click OK to apply the changes.


Note: if you have messages in the Pre-Start list and you save your music as a MIDI file, then an extra measure (or more if required) will be created at the beginning of the MIDI file to contain your Pre-Start messages. The reason for this is that the standard MIDI file format does not have a concept of Pre-Start, or "negative" time, and must therefore delay the entire song in order to accommodate the messages in the Pre-Start list.