zmidi-core-0.5.0: Read and write MIDI files.

PortabilityGHC (at least generalized newtype deriving)
MaintainerStephen Tetley <>
Safe HaskellNone




Concrete syntax tree for MIDI files.

Values are sometimes not interpreted. This means that the the data types do not fully represent the sematics of the data, but all the data is either stored within the data type or synthesizeable. Hence, readFile >>= writeFile will produce an identical binary [1].

[1] Or it should, failure indicates a bug...


MidiFile syntax.

data DeltaTime Source

All time values in a MIDI track are represented as a delta from the previous event rather than an absolute time.

DeltaTime is a newtype wrapper over Word32, note that in MIDI files it is represented as a varlen to save space rather than a four byte number.

type TagByte = Word8Source

TagByte is an alias to Word8.

data MidiFile Source

MidiFile : header * tracks




data MidiHeader Source

Header : format * num_tracks * time_division

TimeDivision is often 384 or 480 ticks per beat.

The header is the start of a MIDI file, it is indicated by the 4 character marker MThd.

newtype MidiTrack Source

Track : [message]

In MIDI files, the start of a track is indicated by the 4 character marker MTrk.



data MidiFormat Source

The file format - in a MIDI file this is a big-endian word16 with 0,1 or 2 being the only valid values.



Format 0 file - single multi-channel track.


Format 1 file - 1 or more tracks, played simultaneously.


Format 2 file - 1 or more independent tracks.

type MidiMessage = (DeltaTime, MidiEvent)Source

MIDI messages are pairs of DeltaTime and Event wrapped in a newtype.

Sequential messages with delta time 0 are played simultaneously.

data MidiEvent Source

Recognised event types - some types (DataEvent and SysEx) are not interpreted.


DataEvent MidiDataEvent

Data event - just initial tag byte, uninterpreted

VoiceEvent MidiVoiceEvent

Voice event (e.g note-on, note-off) are relayed to specific channels.

SysExEvent MidiSysExEvent

SysEx - system exclusive event. Usually synthesizer specific, not interpreted.

SysCommonEvent MidiSysCommonEvent

SysCommon - system common event.

SysRealTimeEvent MidiSysRealTimeEvent

SysRealTime - system realtime event.

MetaEvent MidiMetaEvent

Meta event - interpreted (e.g. end-of-track, set-tempo).

newtype MidiDataEvent Source

Data events are events with tags from 0x00 to 0x7F.

Data events have no payload - they are represented only by the tag byte.




getTagByte :: TagByte

data MidiVoiceEvent Source

Voice events control the output of the synthesizer.

Note - change in v0.5.0 - the constructors have been reordered so the Ord instance matches the order of the tag bytes. Any code that relied on sorting MIDI events is likely to need reworking.

In serialized MIDI data the top 4 bits of the first byte of the Voice Event are a tag, the bottom 4 bits are the channel number. ZMidi stores the channel number with a Word8 though values should be limited to the range 0-15.


NoteOff Word8 Word8 Word8

Note off.

 80 to 8F (0 to F is channel number) * note * velocity

Turn off a sounding note.

NoteOn Word8 Word8 Word8

Note on.

 90 to 9F (0 to F is channel number) * note * velocity

Start playing a note.

NoteAftertouch Word8 Word8 Word8

Polyphonic key pressure.

 A0 to AF (0 to F is channel number) * note * pressure_value

Change of pressure applied to the synthesizer key.

Controller Word8 Word8 Word8

Set a controller.

 B0 to BF (0 to F is channel number) * controller_number * value 

Controller change, e.g. by a footswitch.

ProgramChange Word8 Word8

Set the program.

 C0 to CF (0 to F is channel number) * program_number 

Change the instrument playing on the specified channel. For playback on computers (rather than synthesizers) the program numbers will correspond to the General MIDI instrument numbers.

ChanAftertouch Word8 Word8

Channel pressure.

 D0 to DF (0 to F is channel number) * pressure_value
PitchBend Word8 Word16

Pitch bend

 E0 to EF (0 to F is channel number) * value

Change the pitch of a sounding note. Often used to approximate microtonal tunings.

NOTE - currently value is uninterpreted.

data MidiSysExEvent Source

SysEx - system exclusive event.


SysEx Word32 [Word8]

SysEx event.

 F0 * length * data

An uninterpreted sys-ex event.

data MidiSysCommonEvent Source

System common event.

Common information for all channels in a system.

These events may not be pertinent to MIDI files generated on a computer (as opposed to MIDI generated by a synthesizer or sequencer).


QuarterFrame Word8

Time code quarter frame.

 F1 * payload

Note the payload is really a byte split into two 4-bit values, however here it is uninterpreted.

SongPosPointer Word8 Word8

Song position pointer.

 F2 * lsb * msb
SongSelect Word8

Song number.

 F3 * song_number

Song number should be in the range 0..127.


Undefined system common event.


Undefined system common event.


Tune request.


Tune request message for analogue synthesizers.


End-of-system-exclusive message.


data MidiSysRealTimeEvent Source

System real-time event.

These events may not be pertinent to MIDI files generated on a computer (as opposed to MIDI generated by a synthesizer or sequencer).



Timing signal.


Undefined real time event.


Start playing a sequence.


Continue playing a stopped sequence.


Stop playing a sequence.


Undefined real time event.


Active sensing


Synchronization pulse...


Reset to power-up status.


data MidiMetaEvent Source

Meta event

In Format 1 files general events (e.g. text events) should only appear in track 1. Certain events (e.g. end-of-track) can appear in any track where necessary.


TextEvent MidiTextType String

Text / copywright etc.

 FF * text_type * contents

Free text field (e.g. copyright statement). The contents can notionally be any length.

SequenceNumber Word16

Sequence Number

 FF 00 02 * value

Format 1 files - only track 1 should have a sequence number.

Format 2 files - a sequence number should identify each track.

The sequence number event should occur at the start of a track, before any non-zero time events.

ChannelPrefix Word8 Word8

Channel prefix

 FF 20 01 * channel

Relay all meta and sys-ex events to the given channel.

The first byte should always be 1.

MidiPort Word8

Midi port

 FF 21 01 * port

Midi port number - used to workaround 16 channel limit...


End-of-track event.

 FF 2F 00
SetTempo Word32

Set tempo

 FF 51 03 * microseconds_per_quarter_note
SMPTEOffset Word8 Word8 Word8 Word8 Word8

SMPTE offest

 FF 54 05 * hour * minute * second * frac * subfrac

The SMPTE time when a track should start. This event should occur at the start of a track, before any non-zero time events.

TimeSignature Word8 Word8 Word8 Word8

Time signature

 FF 58 04 * numerator * denominator * metro * num_32nd_notes
KeySignature Int8 MidiScaleType

Key signature

 FF 59 02 * key_type * scale_type

key_type is the number of sharps (postive numbers) or flats (negative numbers), e.g. (-1) is 1 flat.

scale_type indicates major or minor.

SSME Word32 [Word8]


 FF 7F * length * data

Sequencer specific meta-event - uninterpreted.

MetaOther Word8 Word32 [Word8]

Unrecognized Meta Event

 FF * type * length * data 

data MidiTimeDivision Source

Default unit of time in the MIDI file.


FPS Word16


TPB Word16

Ticks-per-beat, i.e. the number of units for a quarter note.

data MidiScaleType Source

Scale type - major or minor or SCALE_OTHER.

SCALE_OTHER represents a parse error.