MIDI sequencer?

WeAreAs1 at aol.com WeAreAs1 at aol.com
Wed Mar 1 05:36:11 CET 2000

In a message dated 2/29/00 4:20:28 PM, you wrote:

<<I'm curious if anyone is familiar with a the application/design of a

sequencer to send program change commands as well as note commands for

each step to create a Wavestation-like sequence out of a K2000 or whatever

synth?  Is the program change handled by the synth in a fast enough manner

to prevent audible delays?  Does one of these smaller rythm sequencers

allow you to do this?  Software program?  User-friendly enough to just

turn a (virtual?) dial and scan through the synth's program sounds?>>

Hello Barry, 

Most modern synthesizers (post 1992 or so) are capable of receiving a program 
change as close as one clock pulse before the note-on message (even at 480 
ppq).  Most of these synths will play the new note and new sound with no 
audible delay and will not mute or cut off the release of the "old" sound.  
In fact, you can even sustain the last note (with the old sound) past the 
point where the new note and sound starts up - on the same MIDI channel.  The 
old sound will continue to play on any held notes until those notes are 
released, after which new notes will be sounded with the most recent program 
change.  It's even possible to have the *same note* playing simultaneously 
with two different sounds, both on the same MIDI channel (it's tricky, but 
definitely possible).  

Interestingly, one of the first synths to come out that had this capability 
was the Wavestation.  I'm sure that its wavesequencing capability depended on 
its ability to play multiple timbres on one MIDI channel in rapid sucession 
in a smooth and seamless manner.  I think the first synth to have this 
ability was the Kurzweil K-1000 series.  By 1993, everybody was doing it (I 
wonder if there were any patents involved?).

If you have a General MIDI synth, such as a Roland Sound Canvas, you can 
experiment with these sequencing techniques.  The K-2000 is also well-suited 
this technique, as are any of Roland's JV/XP series synths.  I use this 
technique to great effect when creating auto-accompaniment data and demo 
sequence data for Kawai and Yamaha.  Since auto-accompaniment sequences are 
always limited to just a handful of MIDI channels, this method is useful for 
achieving a more full orchestration.  On one particular instrument, I had to 
make three MIDI channels (two channels plus drums) sound like six.  The 
aforementioned technique was the only way to do it.

The virtual dial/program change scanner idea sounds like fun, but I don't 
know of any sequencer that has something like that (except for maybe Logic, 
which can do pretty much anything - at the possible cost of your sanity...).  
I have a Peavey PC-1600 MIDI controller box, and it will allow you to assign 
its sliders to send program changes - moving the slider from bottom to top 
will quickly scan through programs 0 through 127.  It would be interesting to 
put that slider under voltage control (easily done on the Peavey), and use 
various analog CV's to initiate program changes.  You could use another 
slider to define note numbers, and one of the soft buttons to send note-on's 
to the currently selected note.  I imagine you could get some wild 
Wavesequence-like stuff happening that way - especially if you were using it 
to trigger a sampler.   One of these days I'll have to try it!

Michael Bacich

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