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MIDI Polyphonic Expression

MIDI Polyphonic Expression (MPE) is the biggest change in electronic sound since the invention of the synthesizer. Dozens of hardware and software companies have now joined this movement to make music creation tools more expressive.


What is MPE?

MPE is a new specification based on MIDI, the universal protocol for electronic music. MPE allows digital instruments to behave more like acoustic instruments in terms of spontaneous, polyphonic sound control. So players modulate parameters like timbre, pitch, and amplitude — all at the same time.


Imagine what you can do with MPE:

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    BEND PITCH, modify volume, and play with resonance at the same time — like on a string instrument
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    SLIDE BETWEEN SOUNDS, or brighter and darker versions of a sound, like sliding between notes on a piano
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    SAVE TIME by achieving sonic effects through intuitive gestures, rather than laborious programming
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    ADD SPONTANEITY to your music, because more parameters of sound are available to play with

Why MPE? Geert Bevin from Moog Music explains its significance

MPE is breaking through

Explore a brief history of MIDI Polyphonic Expression

Makers of new ‘multidimensional’ controllers — including Roland Lamb, Roger Linn and Keith McMillen — meet at the NAMM show in California with software developers to discuss how to make MPE a reality.

Credit: Roger Linn Designs

Hardware and software creators begin to develop the blueprint for an official MPE specification, building on the universal protocol of electronic music — MIDI. Meanwhile, more musicians and producers discover the new, expressive language of MPE.

Ben Supper Roland Lamb

In a historic moment for electronic music, the MPE Specification is officially adopted by the MIDI Manufacturers Association. This blueprint makes it easier than ever for companies to design new MPE-compatible instruments.

MPE becomes widely accepted with several DAWs and devices now compatible with the standard including LIVE 11, Logic Pro and Cubase. Seaboard RISE 2 launches to critical acclaim and sets the new standard for expressive devices.

Explore MPE compatible software and devices

Discover the expanding MPE hardware and software ecosystem

Learn more about MPE

Learn more about MPE in these films and articles from the electronic music community:

CRAIG ANDERTON: MPE defines the future of electronic music

MUSICTECH: The world of MPE controllers by Erin Barra

REVERB: MPE and electronic musicianship by Jay Laughton

CDM: MIDI Polyphonic Expression has arrived by Peter Kirn

More on MIDI

MPE is built on MIDI, the universal protocol governing electronic music. MIDI was established in 1983 and now used on billions of devices and software programs every day.