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Graduate School Paper


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Okay, I know I am easily confused, but I need some help. I'm writing a paper for a Music Technology class, and I'm come across something that has me stumped. I am supposed to describe the different kinds of sequencers (hardware, software, and integrated). What is "integrated"? I know hardware sequencers, although I think any are still around except in keyboards. I know software sequencers. But what could integrated mean?

 

Thanks for any help you can give me.

 

Edit: I just had a flash!

 

Could it mean like sequencer integrated into a keyboard (motif, triton) or table-top device(mpc)?

David
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I can't tell you for sure, but my impression is that "integrated" refers to sequencers that are contained in programs that also perform other functions, like audio recording. So given that definition, "software" sequencers would refer only to stand-alone, dedicated sequencer programs.

 

DRD

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Your flash is correct. "Integrated sequencer" usually refers to whatever onboard one you'd find in a keyboard workstation like the Kurzweil 2600, Yamaha Motif, Roland Fantom, or Korg Triton series. I am not aware of a sequencing-only software program currently in wide use these days, as even the entry-level versions of multitrack recording programs all have some audio recording capability. You could include in your paper that they started out as MIDI-only programs, then added digital audio as personal computers got faster and could handle it.

 

Hardware boxes that only do MIDI sequencing? There used to be quite a few, including the Roland MicroComposers and Yamaha's QX series, but the most popular devices these days usually include some kind of sampling or tone-generation too, like the Akai MPC stuff.

Stephen Fortner

Principal, Fortner Media

Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine

Digital Piano Consultant, Piano Buyer Magazine

 

Industry affiliations: Antares, Arturia, Giles Communications, MS Media, Polyverse

 

 

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You can also break down sequencers into types by the way they are programmed.

 

In the modular synthesizer world, there are step sequencers such as the old Moog 960, and pattern sequencers such as the MOTM-600.

 

Then there are sequencers that output MIDI, and sequencers that output control voltages.

Moe

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Originally posted by DKeenum:

Thanks! Are there web-sites with pictures of those?

Moog 960 (hardware step sequencer, outputs control voltages:

Moog 960

 

Synthesis Technology MOTM-600 (hardware pattern sequencer, outputs control voltages:

 

MOTM-600, scroll to bottom of page

 

Doepfer Schaltwerk (hardware pattern sequencer, outputs MIDI:

Schaltwerk

Moe

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More sequencer stuff...

 

The difference between a step sequencer and a pattern (or phrase) sequencer is the focus of real time manipulation, when the thing is running.

 

Note that both of these beasts are different from what I call a linear sequencer - something that just plays a song back from beginning to end like the typical modern MIDI sequencer embedded in your workstation.

 

A step sequencer exposes rows of knobs which are sequentially staged; you can directly manipulate the output of each step during playback. This can be patched to control pitch, filter freq, attack time, or anything else in a modular. A step sequencer typically has few stages, 8 or 16, and sometimes allows you to combine rows to make longer patterns. (Think of early Kraftwerk or the famous ELP sequence at the end of Karn Evil 9 - a 24 step sequence done by combining the 3 rows of 8 knobs on a Moog 960, patched to control pitch.)

 

Some elaborate step sequencers allow you to flexibly manipulate how the next stage gets selected. Instead of just proceeding forwards or backwards to the next stage, you can jump around based on control gate inputs or even touch pads.

 

See the Serge Touch Keyboard Sequencer.

 

A pattern sequencer stores lots of banks of short phrases, and then allows you to manipulate which ones play back in real time - just like a drum machine. Again, if it outputs CV you can patch it to control pitch or anything else. If it outputs MIDI, it will typically just play notes on an external module or keyboard.

 

Hope this helps! :wave:

Moe

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Definitely not the ESQ-1. The very first synthesizer keyboard capable of true polyphonic playing (routing keypresses to discrete "voices" instead of divide down technology) was the E-MU 4060 poly keyboard. I bought one in about 1978. It came with the ability to remember about 2000 notes.

 

It was probably the first, but I can't be sure. Everything before that was monophonic I think.

Moe

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You might also like the Oberheim DS2

 

http://www.keyboardmuseum.org/pic/o/ober/ds2.jpg

 

I believe it came out around 1973 or something..

 

I know bands like Tangerine DReam used custom sequencers from Projekt Electronik, in fact their 1973 LP Green Desert was reputedly the first time they ever used a sequencer..

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