Music sequencer: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A music sequencer (also MIDI sequencer or just sequencer) is software or hardware designed to create and manage computer-generated music.

Originally, music sequencers did not include the ability to record audio. Instead, they managed control information (such as control voltage or note on/off commands) to be sent to electronic musical instruments to produce audio output. Most modern sequencers now feature audio editing and processing capabilities as well. Consequently, the terms "music sequencer" and "digital audio workstation" are often used interchangeably.

Although the term "sequencer" is today used primarily for software, some hardware synthesizers and almost all music workstations include a built-in MIDI sequencer. Drum machines generally have a step sequencer built in. There are still also standalone hardware MIDI sequencers, though the market demand for those has diminished greatly in the last ten years.

Many sequencers have features for limited music notation, and most are able to show music in a piano roll notation. (For software designed specifically for music notation, see scorewriter.)

Music can also be sequenced using trackers such as ModPlug Tracker, and some of those are able to sequence MIDI events too.



Early analogue sequencers used a control voltage interface; circuitry sequentially selected one of a number of potentiometers (8, 16 or more) which would set the instantaneous output voltage, and simultaneously generated a trigger pulse. These circuits were later enhanced by, then replaced by digital hardware and software-based MIDI sequencers, which could play back MIDI events and control MIDI information at a specified number of beats per minute.

As computer speeds increased in the 1990s, audio recording, audio editing, and sample triggering features were added to the software. Such advanced software is called a digital audio workstation (DAW). To distinguish them from sequencers and multitrack recording programs, DAWs almost always include sequencing features, but go beyond what a sequencer is.

Step sequencers

A special case or mode of sequencers are step sequencers. Instead of recording played notes or drawing notes by hand on the piano roll, the user composes patterns using a grid of (usually) 16 buttons, or steps, each step being 1/16th of a measure. Step sequencer patterns are monophonic by nature, but usually a single pattern may contain individual subpatterns for a number of different instruments. These patterns are then chained together to form longer compositions. Step sequencers are mostly used in drum machines and grooveboxes. A commercial sequencer that works in this manner is Freestyle by MOTU.

Software sequencers / DAWs with sequencing features

Free/Open Source


Hardware sequencers

A list of hardware sequencers and synthesizers, grooveboxes and drum machines that contain a sequencer in alphabetical order (and by no means exhaustive):

External links

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