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Technique: Step Sequencer Basics

No Comments 19 August 2013

Technique: Step Sequencer Basics

An analog tool from yesteryear transitions to digital—and learns a few new tricks in the process in this article about step sequencer basics from Harmony Central’s Craig Anderton.

Step sequencing has aged gracefully. Once a mainstay of analog synths, step sequencing has stepped into a virtual phone booth, donned its Super Sequencer duds, and is now equally at home in the most cutting-edge dance music. In a way, it’s like a little sequencer that runs inside of a bigger host sequencer, or within a musical instrument. But just because it’s little doesn’t mean it isn’t powerful, and several DAWs include built-in step sequencers.

Early analog step sequencers were synth modules with 8 or 16 steps, and driven by a low-frequency clock. Each step produced a control voltage and trigger, and could therefore trigger a note just as if you’d triggered a keyboard. The clock determined the rate at which each successive step occurred. As a result, you could set up a short melodic sequence, or feed the control voltage to a different parameter, such as filter cutoff. Click on the link below to read more…

Author: Craig Anderton, Harmony Central

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