MIDI Sequencer

The MIDI Sequencer module and full view

The MIDI Sequencer allows you to build polyphonic loops on a piano-roll editor that can be used to perform any of the MSDP instruments. The sequencer can be synchronized with the Master Metronome or can use a custom beat source. The loop can contain up to 64 steps and can scale to 16-voice polyphony.

The module display contains a sequencer window to write polyphonic melodies, a time tab to control the timing of events, and a design tab to give more control over the sequencer. There is also a “Full Sequencer View” that provides the same content with more space, to facilitate the design process.

Using the Sequencer Window

The MIDI Sequencer module

The module uses a piano-roll sequencer to allow for traditional MIDI note design. The Y-axis represents different MIDI pitches while the X-axis displays the content for the individual steps.

To choose a note for a grid step, simply move a step value up or down to move the step box to the MIDI note desired. To turn a step off, double click on the box. When a note is turned off, the box will be empty. To turn a step back on, double click on the box again, which will fill in the grid step again. Only one note can be selected per grid step. To write polyphonic melodies, you’ll need to select a voice from the Design Tools tab. This is discussed in the Design Tools section below.

To change the velocity for a grid step, navigate to the Design Tools Tab and look for the Display Mode selector (parameter #12). Open up the drop-down menu for this parameter and select “Velocity”. This will change the display to a series of lines. The height of each line determines the velocity for each step. To change the velocity, drag the line up or down. Dragging the line all the way down will also turn the grid step off.

Additional features of the sequencer are covered in the Design Tools Tab section of this page.

Sending sequences to instruments

Connecting the sequencer module

The sequencer is built to send MIDI note messages to instrument modules. To send this data from the sequencer to an instrument, we need to use the instrument’s module ID, and place it in the text field below the sequence grid where it says “2. Type Module Name Here”. In this example, the ID has already been copied into this field, and is highlighted in blue.

The IDs for all modules can be found immediately above the module window, to the right of the module selection menu. In the example above, we can see that the Wavetable Synth’s ID is “Wavetable Synth 945”.

Once the ID has been entered into the Sequencer module, the MIDI data will send automatically. Simply set the “Sequencer On/Off” button to the “Sequencer On” state to begin the sequence.

The Time Tools Tab

The MIDI Sequencer module

The Time Tools tab displays information related to the playback of the sequence grid. The following parameters are provided:

2 - Destination Module ID: - Underneath the sequence grid is a textfield that says “2 Type Module ID Here” - This is where you need to enter the ID for the instrument that will be controlled by the sequencer. Once the Module ID has been entered, the sequencer will take control of the instrument. In the example above, an ID has already been entered, and it has been highlighted in blue to make it easier to see.
3 - Sequencer On/Off: This toggle will turn the playback of the sequencer on and off. The displayed setting is the current setting for the module, so “On” will display when the sequence is being played back.
4 - Beat Source: Toggle between a custom metronome for the module and the Global Metronome as the source to drive the sequence. If you want to synchronize the sequencer with other modules, this can be easily achieved by using the Master Metronome and setting the Beat Source to “Global” in the module.
5 - Custom BPM:: If the Beat Source is set to “Custom”, then this parameter will allow you to set the BPM for the custom beat source. If the beat source is set to “Global”, then this parameter will not be active.
6 - Step Division: Determines the interval of time at which the sequence will progress. The time value will follow the beat source set in parameter 4.
7 - Note Duration: Determines how long each note will be when performed. Durations may be the same as the division, and they may be longer or shorter. Duration is follow the beat source set in parameter 4.

The Design Tools Tab

The MIDI Sequencer module

The Design Tools tab displays information built to help you design your sequences. It includes the following parameters

8. Active Sequences: - A series of nodes that allow you to switch sequences on and off on the fly. The number of nodes will be determined by the amount of sequences you set in parameter 10.
9. Edit Sequence: Although multiple sequences can be played at once, only one may be edited at a time. This drop-down menu allows you to select which sequence you will be actively editing.
10 - Number of Sequences: The sequencer allows for up-to 16 separate sequences to play simultaneously. You may choose to build between 1 and 16, by selecting the number you need from this drop-down menu.
11 - # of Steps: This determines the number of steps in your sequences. More steps means longer sequences with more notes before the sequence loops. A sequence may be between 1 and 64 steps.
12. Display Mode: You may select whether the sequencer displays MIDI pitch or velocity data to edit.
13 - Zoom to Fit: Zooms in our out on the Y-axis of the sequencer grid to fit all of the notes in your sequences into view.
14 / 15 - Snap to Key / Snap to Scale: This set of options will automatically re-organize the notes in your sequences to fit into your choice of key and scale. New notes will automatically be fit into the selected key and scale as well. When the scale is set to “chromatic”, no snapping will occur.
16 - Direction: This will determine the direction of the sequence motion. Forward will progress through the grid from left to right, while reverse progresses right to left. Back and Forth will move from start to finish, pause, reverse, pause, then start again. Rotate will do the same without pausing. 17. Scramble Notes: If you’re looking for a new way of organizing your pitch content, scramble will randomly re-order the grid steps.

The Full Sequencer View

The MIDI Sequencer module

The Full Sequencer View can be accessed by pressing the “Open Full Sequencer View” button, located immediately below the sequence window. Clicking this button will open the full view window. The full view contains all of the same controls, but they have been spaced out to make it easier to access everything and to provide more space to work.

When full view is open, the sequencer in the normal module window will appear larger than normal - this is because the same sequencer is being accessed, and the display has been expanded to look nice in the full view. Closing the full view window will cause the sequencer to go back to it’s normal size.