On not using sequencers

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tom Cadillac
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On not using sequencers

Post by tom Cadillac » Tue Mar 04, 2008 3:57 pm

Anyone out there not use these? Personally I think the benefits are huge. The music sounds so much more immediate. Any particular tricks?
One that's saved me is doing drum tracks using the paste function on recorders, so that I can do maybe 90 seconds of drums playing the pads and then copy this a few times, using another track or two to add say a highhat to emphasize tempo and maybe frills at the end of a chorus.

Or maybe I'v just never learnt how to use sequencers effectively? But I don't like that they should be ubiquitous for synth music.
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Post by esqoner » Tue Mar 04, 2008 4:11 pm

i like sequencers...more for loopy dancie stuff...

i've been working on my actual playing a lot lately...i think i get a different satisfaction from that...but i am coming from playing sax, guitar, and drums for the past bunch of years. my key playing is the weakest of the 3...though i am tired of guitar...playing and sound (at least have been for a long while now) drums are great but hurt my groin to play because my leg is apparently shaped funny and i don't want another hernia so i don't play sax anymore) back to sequencing...

i've only used step sequencers on drums...which is fun. usually i just play and quantize though. i do like sequencers that loop the part so you can pseudo step/live record.

still, lately i've been working on playing...but i do need to sequence parts so i have something to play with!

yup

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Post by cornutt » Tue Mar 04, 2008 4:14 pm

That depends on what you mean by "using sequencers". I know it sounds like parsing words, but there's a huge difference between recording a played track into a seqeuncer as a virtual track, and plunking down quarter notes right on the bar lines. I do virtual tracks a lot -- heck, in the days before DAW software, that was nearly all I did. And yes, if I screw up, I'll usually either do the track over or punch in, although I will confess to sometimes dragging an off note or two in an otherwise good track.

Having said all that, I will say that I don't begrudge people who sequence everything. If they don't have the keyboard chops, that may be the easiest way to get where they're going. Many of the world's foremost classical composers didn't play an instrument. And there are lots of musicians with physical disabilities who were locked out until sequencers came along. To each his own.
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Post by Automatic Gainsay » Tue Mar 04, 2008 4:18 pm

I don't use sequencers anymore, and I use similar drum-cut-and-paste techniques! My drumming is sloppy at its very best, and I often find that which will work and extend it.

I find the same benefits you do. I love the immediacy and the freedom.

It also improves timing, playing, and creativity when you're forced to rely on what your hands can actually do!

I have always wanted to hear someone do a techno album completely unsequenced... for that matter, I have always wanted to hear someone do a techno album unsequenced and without synths. :)
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Post by esqoner » Tue Mar 04, 2008 4:23 pm

Automatic Gainsay wrote: for that matter, I have always wanted to hear someone do a techno album unsequenced and without synths. :)
medeski, martin, and wood have a drum and bass album...i don't know that it was sequenced...as those f**k can all play...there may have been synths in it...and i know it is not "techno"... it seemed cool when i previewed it whenever...but that was a long time ago. i like some of their stuff much better than some of their other stuff.

i think it was all live....but don't quote me on that.

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Post by meatballfulton » Tue Mar 04, 2008 4:35 pm

cornutt wrote: Many of the world's foremost classical composers didn't play an instrument.
:shock:

Many??? I'd like to see some examples :wink:

Actually, there's very few composers who don't play any instrument at all.

Like cornutt wrote, I've been using sequencers for a long time as a virtual recorder. Touching up a few notes here and there rather than having to redo an entire take was sweet back in the days before we had digital recorders with cut and paste!

Why bother laying any tracks to tape when I can store it in a sequence which lets me tweak the sounds right up the final mixdown. When I was recording to 4-track analog tape that was a lifesaver.
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Post by Entropy Farmer » Tue Mar 04, 2008 4:40 pm

Using a software sequencer unquantized is a different animal than sequencing 16ths. I've gotten some really interesting percussion that way (example).

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Post by redchapterjubilee » Tue Mar 04, 2008 5:16 pm

I do still sequence drumming, but will often times record the basic tracks to a click and add drums later. Although I am a drummer I've never played drums on my own electro music. It doesn't really fit the sound I'm going for. Anyhow, the drums are pretty much all I sequence lately. Everything else I play by hand.

I've got six tracks up right now on my MySpace page. The stats for those are:
1. "Across the Ice" - Quarter-note auto-trigger Moog bass. Everything else is played by hand.
2. "Starlight Attractions" - One drum loop & drums via Reason. The rest is played by hand.
3. "The Same Moon That Shines Above You" - Drum programming via Reason. The rest is played by hand.
4. "Cybertron" - All played by hand (though the weird noise percussion thing was looped in my DAW).
5. "Power Word: Kill" - Drum programming, bass synth & middle section melody synth via Reason. The rest played by hand.
6. "A Message For Screwtape" - Drum programming & auto-trigger bass via Reason; the rest if played by hand.

And that's pretty much the standard for what I do. If I used a different program I could sequence external gear, but I like Reason and I like to play stuff by hand so it works out for me.
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Post by JSRockit » Tue Mar 04, 2008 5:27 pm

I like to play guitars and acoustic drums manually ;) ... but use sequencers for anything electronic. I love the robotic feel of drum machines.
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Post by killedaway » Tue Mar 04, 2008 5:38 pm

this "cut and paste" method that's being discussed here... are we talking about looping?


me, i sequence everything. i want my music mechanical and laser-precise. the "soul" is in the notes (and vocal) for me.
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Post by tom Cadillac » Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:01 pm

I guess a long loop would be the same and have used a digitech jaman to try to get the same effect, but it doesn't seem as good as the copy/paste thing. Which is a function on my cheap hard drive tascam recorder. It takes one track and copies it as many times as you want onto another track. Isn't tech wierd in practice? I'v got no real idea why one works so much better than another?
My drum skills are a weakpoint and to get a good structure I feel I need to repeat the same verse /chorus on the drums. Also this helps with the join, which is the tricky bit. Doesn't matter so much if there's a bit of a bump at the end of a chorus. And adding another drum track helps.
I think we're lucky to have so many options. I guess what I'd really like is to be in a band that was all me ( :)twisted:) or an octopus with multi/simultaneous intelligences.
"On the following day , the sorcery undespairingly continued: I changed my series, chose other sequences, cut other lengths, spliced different progressions, and hoped afresh for a miracle in sound." (Stockhausen)

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Post by Stab Frenzy » Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:17 pm

Automatic Gainsay wrote:I have always wanted to hear someone do a techno album completely unsequenced... for that matter, I have always wanted to hear someone do a techno album unsequenced and without synths. :)
http://www.bangonacan.org/store/product/51

Four is particularly good.

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Post by MrFrodo » Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:25 pm

The material I've been working on for the last year or so is proably 75% live and 25% sequenced. As a guy who likes using "live gear" but appreciates the benefits of sequencing drums (and occasionally bass parts), I find it more beneficial to occasionally program the drums and play all the other guitars, synths and percussion with my own two hands.

On the other hand, the only softsynths I've got in my puter are the ones that come with Cubase SE3 (the LM-7 drum machine, VB-1 bass synth and the Universal Sound Module). Not such a wide pallet of options for programming.
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Post by ianjhicks » Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:41 pm

Automatic Gainsay wrote:for that matter, I have always wanted to hear someone do a techno album unsequenced and without synths. :)
check out !!! that's pretty much exactly what they were trying to do

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Post by th0mas » Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:42 pm

Automatic Gainsay wrote: I have always wanted to hear someone do a techno album completely unsequenced...
http://www.myspace.com/unireverse (although I think their drums are sequenced)
for that matter, I have always wanted to hear someone do a techno album unsequenced and without synths. :)
http://www.myspace.com/f**k

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