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MIDI Sequencing

One of the biggest predictors of the future of music came in one of the least – regarded musical instruments: the humble player piano.

Yep, that bastard instrument known mainly from roadhouse fight scenes in cheesy Western films (though in reality it wasn’t perfected until the mid 1920s, by which time cowboys and saloons were rather dated). It’s not that the player piano inspired a generation of musical revolutionaries (it didn’t, though it did inspire a rather thought – provoking Vonnegut book), it’s the basic design concept: removable, interchangeable musical instructions carried out by a ‘real’ instrument.

They were often of the “step time” variety, which created bigger limitations. “Step entry” required the composer to put each note in, one by one, until the full song (or more likely, a repeating pattern) was stored in the sequencer. The more fun method (as seen on the legendary Roland TB – 303, among others) allowed the composer to begin playback and then enter or edit any of the notes (and other available options) while the pattern looped.

While you could change the tempo in all but the most limited of sequencers, you were stuck with the strict metronomic rhythm (and in too many cases, not much control over note length or even the relative volumes of individual notes). This was fine for Kraftwerk and anyone else going for the robotic sound, but not so great for anything else… and the first generation of MIDI sequencers did nothing to correct this huge drawback…

Over time they really evolve a lot and eventually they became very useful in the construction of music. Just think about the practical uses for this technology, not only in the world of music (which they are great) but for the world in general… Once the technical issues were addressed and the equipment was improved upon over time they were really much more practical for the everyday user. Anyone who wanted any sound could construct it with the new improved edition…

Once they were more practical for people who wanted authentic sounding music, they were put to use to create some very amazing sounds. At that point 1 person could become the sole creative influence on every single portion of the musical construction. This helps for any one person to more fully control their music in it’s most vulnerable state. The state of construction… Once you have created the music, people will accept it for what it is but if you allow them into the creative process before completion, they inevitably pollute the process with their input. This may be intentionally but more often than not, it is totally unintentional. It’s through no fault of their own. They are only doing what you allow them to do…