10 Free MIDI Packs: Complex Chord Progressions, Drums and More
It’s mind-blowing how today’s DAWs make writing music so quick and easy. All you need to do is have a solid concept, a few ideas and maybe some free midi packs to help you along the way.
Every song is built with a few basic building blocks—the song’s structure, a few chord progressions, a percussive beat, a melody and maybe some harmonies.
Luckily you don’t need to have a ton of music theory knowledge to start making great music—there’s so many tools at your disposal to help you structure and write your own music.
If you need help with arranging or structuring your song—try this song template generator.
For everything else like chords, chord progressions, melodies, drums and harmonies—MIDI packs can do a lot of the heavy lifting to help you get your ideas flowing.
MIDI packs are a game-changer for new producers because they make it so easy to drag and drop straight into any DAW’s piano roll—where you can make edits and arrange to your liking.
In this article, I’ll unpack everything you need to know about using MIDI packs in your music production workflow and I’ll share some favorite free MIDI packs you can download to get started.
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What are MIDI Packs?
MIDI packs are downloadable files that contain MIDI data that DAWs like Ableton, Logic and Garageband can read and turn into sound with virtual instruments like synths and drum racks.
Generally, the MIDI data in a MIDI pack will contain chords, chord progressions, drum parts, harmonies or melodies written in MIDI form.
These packs make it easy for producers to drag and drop chords, melodies, drum beats and more into their DAW’s piano roll where than can be edited and played using VST instruments like software synths and drums.
Essentially, MIDI packs are like digital building blocks that anyone can use to create complex arrangements, chord progressions, drum parts and melodies with the click of a button.
Because MIDI data is so light and easy to make, most MIDI packs worth your time are available free.
Here’s 10 of the best free MIDI packs we’ve found here at LANDR—most of them even come with explainer videos that show you how you can use them in your workflow.
1. 10 Powerful Chord Progressions
The 10 Powerful Chord Progressions MIDI pack does what it says on the tin—these are ten of the most common chord progressions, they’re used pretty much everywhere if you listen closely.
The MIDI pack is great if you struggle with chord theory or if you need inspiration to find a great, instantly iconic chord progression.
This inspiring free MIDI pack is great a great one to keep in your arsenal—plus there’s a great instructional video showing how to use it in your tracks below.
2. How to Write a Song
Writing your first few tracks can be a big hurdle. You’ve got some ideas, but you need to know how to structure them.
The MIDI pack that accompanies this video is the perfect starting point if you need help writing a great song.
Remember, don’t worry if your ideas are in a different key from the one used in the MIDI pack.
All you have to do is highlight the chords once you’ve dropped them in the piano roll and press the up arrow to transpose it into the right key.
It’s remarkable how useful and flexible MIDI packs can be once you understand how to use the piano roll!
3. 10 Popular Drum Patterns
Drum patterns are tricky to program and get right. Different genres demand different beats and if you don’t get it right the listener will notice.
If you’re getting started with MIDI drum programming the free MIDI pack comes with ten of the most popular drum patterns.
Check out the video too, you’ll see how these drum patterns are used in so many songs.
This pack is great for learning and visualizing how these patterns look in a MIDI piano roll—once you see how it works it’ll be super easy to add your own percussive elements to make the drums distinctly you!
4. Defeat Beat Block
Beat block is a huge problem for music makers, if you’ve ever sat in front of a blank DAW scratching your head you know why.
MIDI packs can help with inspiring new ideas, that’s why this Defeat Beat Block MIDI pack is totally worth checking out especially if you’ve been feeling your creative well run dry.
Check out the accompanying Defeat Beat Block video for added inspiration.
5. 8 Chill Lofi Chords
Lofi jazz is hot these days. Who’s doesn’t want to get in the on the action and write some relaxing chill hip-hop.
Thing is, you’ll need to know a few jazzy chords to get on the lo-fi hip-hop train.
Fortunately, you don’t need too much jazz chord theory to use this free lo-fi chord MIDI pack in your next track.
Grip this free MIDI pack and start your next lo-fi jazz track with some ultra-smooth chords.
6. 10 Heavy Bass Patterns
Writing a groovy bassline that grips your audience takes time and skill.
Sometimes the best way is to study the greats and keep it simple—this bass line MIDI pack does exactly that and gives you the ability to take inspiration from ten classic bass styles.
These bass patterns are used everywhere, so get inspired by these and your track are guaranteed to get feet tapping and people dancing.
7. Realistic Piano
Writing for piano can be tricky if you’re not well versed in this somewhat challenging instrument.
In this MIDI pack, you get access to a handful of piano writing tricks to help you with your first steps of writing realistic-sounding piano parts.
Check out the video that comes with it to help you create realistic-sounding MIDI piano for free too!
8. Make Better Chord Progressions
Have you ever wondered to add bit of spice to a tired and boring chord progression? This might be MIDI pack for you.
In this pack you get everything you need to add extensions and inversions to your chords.
You’ll find chord progressions that use passing chords and you’ll get the tools you need to use the circle of fifths to add minor chords to your chord progressions.
Plus, you get a great example of how Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and “Somewhere over the Rainbow” from the Wizard of Oz use the melody to inspire the chord progression.
9. 16 Lofi Chord Progressions
As previously mentioned, lo-fi chords can be tricky since they draw heavily on jazz theory.
The same goes with lo-fi chord progressions—except they combine different lo-fi chords and create a considerable amount of added difficulty.
If you need inspiration for your next lo-fi track, don’t skip out on these lo-fi chord progressions.
There’s some very classic sounding progressions you’ll instantly recognize—it’s an inspiration machine!
If you need help understanding the theory behind them, we’ve written about how these lo-fi chord progressions work in previous articles.
10. Search for what you want on BitMIDI and elsewhere
Still haven’t found what you want? Head over to BitMIDI and search for it!
BitMIDI is a database full of MIDI packs that anyone can use for free.
You’ll find everything from MIDI for famous songs that you can take inspiration from to chord progressions you may not have heard of and much more.
Of course, you just have to stick to BitMIDI—there are tons of free MIDI pack resources out there that you can find with a quick Google search.
Free MIDI packs should always be free
MIDI packs are easy to create and easy to share. It makes sense that so many of them are available for free to anyone who wants to use them.
Chords, melodies and chord progressions are very simple when you boil them down to base level—there’s no such thing as a pro chord progression that all the professionals use.
The truth is that the pros know how to use chords to make their ideas stand out because they’ve practiced and learned what each chord or chord progression can do for their arrangement.
MIDI packs just make it easy for anyone without piano keyboard skills or deep theory knowledge to access chord progressions with a bit more ease.
So, don’t let someone tell you that buying their MIDI pack will give you the secret sauce to make your tracks blow.
Growing your music career takes more than using a certain combination of nice chords—you have to put yourself into the music and work super hard to get your name out there.
MIDI packs are just a part of a journey that can help you get to where you want to be faster—so go ahead and try out these free MIDI packs!
Alex Lavoie works as a staff writer at LANDR by day and writes indie post-punk tunes in his band UTILS while moonlighting as drummer for folk-rock outfit The Painters.
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