What's the point of sequencers?

All instruments that aren't guitars (or bass guitars).
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mediocreplayer
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What's the point of sequencers?

Post by mediocreplayer » Wed Feb 24, 2021 9:31 pm

Sorry for the dumb question -- but why are sequencers a thing? It seems like sequencing is something that can be accomplished in 10 seconds with any DAW. Is the idea that the player is not going to use a computer? Do sequencers have any value if you actually use a computer?

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redchapterjubilee
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Re: What's the point of sequencers?

Post by redchapterjubilee » Thu Feb 25, 2021 3:36 am

Many points to onboard sequencers.
A.) a simple onboard sequencer can be a creative tool. Come up with something cool then flesh it out later with a computer.
B.) Sequencers aren’t always just for sequencing notes. You can sequence filter settings or waveforms or LfO’s or things that arent necessarily rhythmic, more for tonal reasons. That may not be something that has to be done in the DAW making for one less thing to connect.
C.) Some people don’t use computers. Some people will connect via cv to other devices and bypass DAW’s entirely (that me). Some people also use simple repetitive pattern sequencing and don’t want to carry a laptop and other gear for the gig (that also me). For a dozen years I’ve played in a prog/Stoner metal duo where I run a sequenced ostinato while playing drums then eventually do some Rick Wakeman noodling in the breakdown. A synth with a built-in sequencer has been critical gear for such an endeavor.

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Re: What's the point of sequencers?

Post by Singlebladepickup » Thu Feb 25, 2021 8:51 pm

I use a turing machine variation called "Permutation" in my synth, so it's sending out rhythmic pulses to some outputs voltages from others. The voltages can be used to modulate things or they can be used for pitch/notes. You can send them together or to multiple sound sources so that note changes don't happen every pulse or beat. The sequencing part is where these things start out semi-random based on the speed of a clock signal and various other input like LFO's or envelopes, but by turning a knob or changing the voltages going to certain inputs you can lock into a repeating pattern where you can still change the amount of pulses, the range of notes, etc. I've also got some "Cartesian" sequencing, which acts like a x-y grid and moves around like coordinates on a map of the earth (meaning it's wrapped so that if you keep going right you end up approaching from the left, etc.)

Point being, you don't have to "program" to sequence. It can be improvised, predictable or unpredictable to your liking. You can surprise yourelf with happy accidents that you never would have consciously programmed, but that you came upon by testing a concept or idea...they aren't all the same and they can be pretty fun.

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