Play of the sequences of control signals

In the previous article Create music with your computer  we have seen talked about the sequencer  device (hardware or software) used in the musical field, which allows you to create and play back sequences of control signals for controlling an electronic device.

Now let’s examine what is made by the Sequencer.

The Song

The song, or ” song “, the logic level is higher within a sequencer. It contains all the data concerning the execution MIDI and digital audio, as well as all the specific parameters such as display settings, lyrics, and more.

The Arrange

programs to create musicThis page is the main work of a sequencer. It is on this screen that will perform all major operations such as record, edit, delete, move, copy, and the like. The arrange “(from” to arrange “, arrange, that term defines the operation that organizes a musical performance, with all the nuances of the case) has a horizontal structure. On the left side we find the list of active traces arranged vertically as you can see you can give a name to the tracks to describe the content, or to indicate the MIDI instrument that performs.

The thickest part of the screen, immediately on the right shows the horizontal time axis: the beginning of the song on the left side with a development towards the right; the elements present on every track, called “parts” sound simultaneously if they share the same vertical portion of the screen.

Many programs allow you to view , approximately, the content of the tracks and parts, a feature especially useful for the audio section.

Generally, the far left is the box that define the characteristics of the part or the track selected with the mouse: if we are dealing with a MIDI track, we can check which sound is to be output (and on which keyboard or synthesizer to be played ) from the selected portion; we can then raise or lower the pitch of the entire hand, delay it or anticipate it and, perhaps, change the timing – if we had not played in time – thanks to the parameter ” quantize “(quantization) that moves all the events recorded along a grid predefined time. On digital audio interventions are usually limited to the advance or delay of the recorded portion and the choice of the output which will be played on the recorded portion.

The editing tools

Nell ‘”arrange”, and in many other windows, the user has at his disposal a number of tools to change what was actually recorded. The most simple and intuitive controls resemble those present in all Windows programs: cut, copy, and paste. With these commands we can freely arrange the various portions of our composition: if we recorded, for example, a verse from the bottom, it is not necessary risuonarla if this is repeated several times always equal to itself, just copy and paste the part already performed and the job is done! Other traditional instrument is the “gap”, which is useful to divide the recorded parts into several fragments, in order to apply the changes only to some of them or to delete (or copy) only a few words of our time.

The “tube of glue” performs the inverse operation of “scissors”, while tools such as “mute” and “only” allow us to, respectively, to mute a part in play (without having to delete) or to listen only to the specific part to better identify errors or to see more easily the changes we are making. With the “magnifying glass”, yet, you can manage the magnitude of horizontal and vertical display, so you can work with a greater level of detail.

The Transport Control

With a terminology that comes from the days of the old reel to reel, this window allows us to control all the functions related to reproduction: we have a button Play, Stop, Rec, Rewind and Fast Forward , as well as a view in terms of time and / or music to the point where there is a ‘virtual head “of reproduction. Generally it is also a key to isolate the individual parts independently of the others and listen to them that make up the song. A special mode, then, allows us to listen to or record in a cyclic manner a section defined by two ” placeholders “(graphical indicators) in the appropriate box.

This mode is very useful both during registration – to try again in a continuous way the recording parts – that when editing and finalization of our song. In this same window also displays the tempo of the song and other information about the MIDI data stream input and output.

The MIDI editors

The windows of the “edit” are those intended to amend and “touch-up order” execution after registration. Let’s see what they are and how they work Key Edit or Piano Roll The ‘”editor” on the keyboard or “piano roll” (piano roll, such as those that were used at the beginning of the century) shows the notes and other MIDI information in a manner similar to ‘arrange, but in this case the various horizontal lines do not represent traces or different tools, but the individual notes of a keyboard. Here we can directly modify the pitch of notes, their position, their intensity and their duration. The instruments with which we operate are in all respects similar to those of the arrange.

We can even ‘ draw ‘the notes using the tool “pencil” and adjust the length by clicking and dragging on the ends.

Score Edit

This is the window which will please those already familiar with the music written. Here we can make changes or write music just as we would on a sheet of music paper pentagrammato. We have all the note values ​​and the various keys to writing. The more complex programs also allow you to layout and print the scores in a totally professional. This window can also be used to work only on the MIDI file.

Event List

This window shows a list, arranged in vertical and temporal sense, all the contents of a track: here we see why the points of departure and the length of the notes and other events programs to create music(change of memory, automatic volume control, and so on). In this window you are working in a purely analytic and without any form of display come to our aid: it is not always intuitive, but sometimes it is the only window that allows us to carry out a given operation.

Obviously, the use of instruments is limited, since most of the adjustments are performed by entering numerical values ​​or by clicking on a field and dragging the mouse to change the value. From this window, you change parameters such as the volume of audio playback and the “landscape” (often abbreviated to “Pan”, corresponds to the placement of a stereophonic sound).

The Managing audio files

Working with sound files, usually stored in format. “Wav”, it tends to create a considerable number on the hard drive, especially when you consider that, in addition to using the actual files, you must often work with their ” regions. ” The regions define a single portion of an audio file that the program goes to read at any given time: this is because, often, being edited, cut and shorten our records, but we never want to lose the file in its entirety, as maybe useful in its full length, in another section of our song. Several programs have therefore a window type “explorer”  from which you can manage all these fragments in an easy and logical.

We listen to them, rename them and delete them according to predefined logic diagrams (for example, we may decide to work on all fragments not actually used until then). Through the window we can tweak audio editing audio regions: whether the dialog arrange check the attachment point and the length of our audio regions in terms of musical beats, here we instead take action to eliminate, for example, the breaths or other noises that are “entered” in spite of ourselves in the recording. The tools at our disposal allow us to silence, to increase the volume, change the pitch of the sounds, to reverse the audio (as if read backwards) and apply fades in and out on the parts selected (displayed in “negative “in the figure).

All of these changes are “destructive” if we have not made a backup copy (backup) of the file on which we are working, a sometimes applied, it will be impossible to restore the original condition of the recording.


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