MIDI and CV Performance Controllers

Welcome to the webpage for chapter 3 of my book “Performing Electronic Music Live”, where I talk about MIDI and CV performance controllers. You can watch the accompanying tutorial video for this chapter here. In this video, I demonstrate how you can perform electronic music without a laptop. We are using two very different MIDI controllers – a Squarp Pyramid MIDI sequencer and a MIDI keyboard – to control a Moog Sirin Limited Edition Bass synthesizer, a Vermona DRM-1 MK-III drum synthesizer and a 90s Gameboy colour. The result is a grungy, noisy LoFi warehouse rave sound.

About the chapter:

This chapter explores the design paradigms and functions governing the world of hardware controllers for electronic music performance. In order to use hardware controllers confidently, it is useful to have a good understanding of how they communicate with each other. Therefore, the first half of the chapter introduces two commonly used types of control signals. First, the old but still popular CV/Gate connection type is explained. Next, the MIDI protocol is introduced, including MIDI 2.0 and MPE (MIDI polyphonic expression). In the second half of the chapter, the vast world of hardware design paradigms is discussed. Among these are simple controls like buttons, knobs, faders and sliders, controllers that resemble traditional musical instruments, modular controllers, motion-controlled performance hardware, sequencers, clock signal generators and more.