Home | Technical | MIDI | Sequencer Tips
Don't be tempted to over quantise. Reserve a full quantise for parts that
need to be tight such as the bass and drums.
(2) Gate Effects
Dance music relies heavily on gating effects. You can achieve the same
choppy effect on a sequencer by altering the MIDI volume messages.
Find out which MIDI controllers your synth supports and use them.
(4) Filter Sweeps
(5) Steal patterns
MIDI data is so easy to manipulate that you can view your entire collection
of MIDI files as a library of data waiting to be remixed.
If your sequencer has a reverse or retrograde function this can be used to reverse an entire section of midi data. If you are completely stuck for inspiration this can certainly produce some interesting results and is unlikely to sound like anything that you might consciously program.
(7) Create Basslines from Drum Patterns
This is a simple way to ensure that the two rhythmically most important sections of a track are extremely tight. Copy a fairly simple drum part to another track, apply a bass patch to it and then shift the pitches about until it starts to sound OK. You can also try this the other way around - copy a bass part to a drum track and then alter the drum voices to suit. Pitching them all to the kick drum usually works quite well.
(8) Thin Controller Data
Too much copying nd pasting can leave your track littered with unwanted controller data that will swamp the sequencer and sometimes slow the track down. Try thinning it out - if your sequencer has a function to do this then you are laughing, if not you may have to do it by hand. There are also standalone programs available that will filter a midi file using options that you specify. If your sequencer allows you to enter data with a grid snap facility make sure that this is not set to too high a resolution or you will find that when you are drawing controller sweeps etc. unnecessary data is being entered into the event list.
You don't need an effects unit to create MIDI delays as these can be easily
programmed using a sequencer. Just copy a part and slide the notes so that
they sound a fraction of a beat later than the originals. Fading the velocity
on the delayed section so that the delays get gradually softer can also
be effective as can randomising the velocities. Try repeating the delay
at slightly different offsets and adding pan and other controller messages
to create complex evolving sounds.