The Lost Art of MIDI – Bringing <bgsound> Back to the Web

The Lost Art of MIDI – Bringing <bgsound> Back to the Web

In the days of Geocities and Angelfire, a quirky HTML tag called ⟨bgsound⟩ enabled sound files to play in the background of webpages. Usually, these files were in the MIDI format. What a glorious era that was! Sadly, ⟨bgsound⟩ has been removed from browsers and MIDI is obscure and hard to play back. In this talk, we'll bring MIDI and ⟨bgsound⟩ back from the dead using WebAssembly, Emscripten, Web Audio, and Web Components. When we're finished, you'll be able to give your webpages the 90's treatment in a modern, standards-compliant way!

Links from the talk:

Timidity – Play MIDI files in the browser w/ Web Audio, WebAssembly, and libtimidity

bg-sound – Web Component to emulate the old-school HTML element

BitMidi – Listen to free MIDI songs, download the best MIDI files, and share the best MIDIs on the web

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Feross Aboukhadijeh

November 16, 2018