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Bank Select

A special set of MIDI messages designed to allow programs to be recalled from multiple banks of MIDI instrument. The MIDI specification was originally developed to access up to 128 programs using the Program Change message (127). At that time (mid 1980’s) no synthesizer held more than 128 sounds, but as technology advanced rapidly in the early 1990’s and RAM prices decreased, we found more and more synthesizers with greater than 128 patches. The MIDI Association recognized this problem and developed a new MIDI command called the Bank Select Command. The Bank Select command is made up of two messages: Continuous Controller 0 (Most Significant Bit or MSB) and Continuous Controller 32 (Least Significant Bit or LSB). Continuous Controller messages are often abbreviated as CC (For example: CC0 and CC32). Having two messages allows you the ability to access up to 16,384 banks, each with 128 patches for a total of 2,097,152 patch locations! Unfortunately the MIDI Association left the implementation of the Bank Select commands up to the synthesizer manufacturers and each company implemented it differently. Some synthesizers require both CC0 and CC32 while others require one or the other. You must check your synthesizer’s MIDI implementation chart to determine what message your machine needs.

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