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Why is the sequence's default key Middle C?

Why is the sequence's default key Middle C?
« on: January 02, 2022, 06:24:41 PM »
Is there any reason why Sequential's sequencers always have Middle C as the "As recorded" sequence and then transposed up or down from there as opposed to actually transposing it to the note pressed? This is pretty annoying and confusing when jamming with other synths and you have to try and figure out what key to press to transpose to a certain note. The Moog Sub 37, Novation Bass Station, Arturia MiniBrute, MatrixBrute and even the Pioneer AS-1 don't have this issue. What gives?

Re: Why is the sequence's default key Middle C?
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2022, 07:43:24 PM »
It makes it easy to know what key the sequence will be played in. Record it in C then hitting a C will mean itís in C. Hit F# and itís in F#.

If it doesnít work like the Pro 3, if you record it in A# and hit an F# you have to do mental transposing to know what key youíre actually hearing. Thatís especially confusing if you use the sequencer as a performance tool.

The MarrixBrute manual actually suggests the same workflow since it makes it convenient to transpose on the fly.

Re: Why is the sequence's default key Middle C?
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2022, 12:08:35 PM »
It makes it easy to know what key the sequence will be played in. Record it in C then hitting a C will mean itís in C. Hit F# and itís in F#.

If it doesnít work like the Pro 3, if you record it in A# and hit an F# you have to do mental transposing to know what key youíre actually hearing. Thatís especially confusing if you use the sequencer as a performance tool.

The MarrixBrute manual actually suggests the same workflow since it makes it convenient to transpose on the fly.

Gah you are right. The MatrixBrute also has this issue. Why is this a norm?

Re: Why is the sequence's default key Middle C?
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2022, 12:44:28 PM »
As @guyaguy mentions, recording in your sequences in C is definitely the easiest way, though if you come up with something in a different key, there is a fairly easy way to record it in your original key and then adjust to your key sig.   

It would probably be fairly easy for Seq to implement a solution where whatever the first/lowest note played into the sequence becomes the root, but the complexity of the issue is that the first/lowest note played in a sequence is not always the root/tonic note of your intended sequence.  Sometimes you want your sequence to start on the P5, or other interval - or if you play an inverted chord as first input...  so this type of approach would generate some additional confusion, as then you couldn't even just go with the "always use C" method for playing in your intended key sig.     

The workaround for altering the key sig of the sequencer after you record a sequence in, is holding down Track Select and turning the 2nd Soft Encoder, until you get to C...   Actually, if the first note is not the tonic, you have to determine how many steps away the tonic is from C, and lower it by that value.   But if you do this, then you can make it so your sequence recorded in G plays back in key when you hit a G note on the keybed.   So, yeah, if you record in a seq in a G key sig, starting on G note, then its just a matter of holding track select, and turning the 2nd encoder from G down to C.   

---------------

The best case scenario would be for some intelligent key signature recognition based on notes entered in sequencer... it's not a trivial programming task, but it certainly can be done. 

I recently programmed this type of logic for an Arduino/C device... my implementation watches two windows: of most recent chord played, plus a window/array of the last 32 notes played, and determines root/tonic and key signature based on a combination of the two... and it weighs the lowest played bass note in the algorithm.    This type of approach would be great for Sequential to develop into its IP... not only for this type of sequencer automation, but it also opens up the window to do some really advanced stuff with modulation and effects.   If the synth engine knows what you are currently playing, and has context for the overall key signature of your composition, you can implement intelligent harmonization effects for chords or solos, modulations targeting different keys with different values (ie: the root/tonic, P5 or other intervals may get higher values, while dissonant A4 or m2 can get lesser output values), or you can achieve dynamic accompaniment or droning a root oscillator as you play.   The possibilities are very interesting for sound design / modulation purposes... and especially so, if combined in a mod matrix with transforms layer between the source and dest.     

Sequential Pro 3 and Rev 2, Deepmind, PolyBrute - Sound Sets, Patch Banks - Available on Sellfy: https://sellfy.com/sounddesign/

Re: Why is the sequence's default key Middle C?
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2022, 08:17:00 PM »
As @guyaguy mentions, recording in your sequences in C is definitely the easiest way, though if you come up with something in a different key, there is a fairly easy way to record it in your original key and then adjust to your key sig.   

It would probably be fairly easy for Seq to implement a solution where whatever the first/lowest note played into the sequence becomes the root, but the complexity of the issue is that the first/lowest note played in a sequence is not always the root/tonic note of your intended sequence.  Sometimes you want your sequence to start on the P5, or other interval - or if you play an inverted chord as first input...  so this type of approach would generate some additional confusion, as then you couldn't even just go with the "always use C" method for playing in your intended key sig.     

The workaround for altering the key sig of the sequencer after you record a sequence in, is holding down Track Select and turning the 2nd Soft Encoder, until you get to C...   Actually, if the first note is not the tonic, you have to determine how many steps away the tonic is from C, and lower it by that value.   But if you do this, then you can make it so your sequence recorded in G plays back in key when you hit a G note on the keybed.   So, yeah, if you record in a seq in a G key sig, starting on G note, then its just a matter of holding track select, and turning the 2nd encoder from G down to C.   

---------------

The best case scenario would be for some intelligent key signature recognition based on notes entered in sequencer... it's not a trivial programming task, but it certainly can be done. 

I recently programmed this type of logic for an Arduino/C device... my implementation watches two windows: of most recent chord played, plus a window/array of the last 32 notes played, and determines root/tonic and key signature based on a combination of the two... and it weighs the lowest played bass note in the algorithm.    This type of approach would be great for Sequential to develop into its IP... not only for this type of sequencer automation, but it also opens up the window to do some really advanced stuff with modulation and effects.   If the synth engine knows what you are currently playing, and has context for the overall key signature of your composition, you can implement intelligent harmonization effects for chords or solos, modulations targeting different keys with different values (ie: the root/tonic, P5 or other intervals may get higher values, while dissonant A4 or m2 can get lesser output values), or you can achieve dynamic accompaniment or droning a root oscillator as you play.   The possibilities are very interesting for sound design / modulation purposes... and especially so, if combined in a mod matrix with transforms layer between the source and dest.     

I got a headache just reading that.

If the Moog Sub 37 and Novation Bass station both play their sequences in assoication with whatever key is pressed then there really isn't any reason why sequences in Sequential synths must always be locked to middle C. It is illogical and moreover playing with other synths frustrating, especially if you are sending MIDI out from the sequencer.

I know Dave tries to make his synths user friendly but this just seems like an oversight and something that really shouldn't require a work around or figuring it out. A sequence in E should be triggered by pressing the key of E. I shouldn't have to figure out what key to press if I wanted to transpose it to a different note, I should just be able to hit "A" or "G" or whatever and have sequence automatically transposed to that key. I understand with poly sequences this might be a limitation....but the Pro 3 is essentially a mono synth (and this behavior still occurs when their other poly synths are in Mono/Unison mode)....I really would like to understand the reason for this limitation.

Re: Why is the sequence's default key Middle C?
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2022, 10:59:24 PM »
As @guyaguy mentions, recording in your sequences in C is definitely the easiest way, though if you come up with something in a different key, there is a fairly easy way to record it in your original key and then adjust to your key sig.   

It would probably be fairly easy for Seq to implement a solution where whatever the first/lowest note played into the sequence becomes the root, but the complexity of the issue is that the first/lowest note played in a sequence is not always the root/tonic note of your intended sequence.  Sometimes you want your sequence to start on the P5, or other interval - or if you play an inverted chord as first input...  so this type of approach would generate some additional confusion, as then you couldn't even just go with the "always use C" method for playing in your intended key sig.     

The workaround for altering the key sig of the sequencer after you record a sequence in, is holding down Track Select and turning the 2nd Soft Encoder, until you get to C...   Actually, if the first note is not the tonic, you have to determine how many steps away the tonic is from C, and lower it by that value.   But if you do this, then you can make it so your sequence recorded in G plays back in key when you hit a G note on the keybed.   So, yeah, if you record in a seq in a G key sig, starting on G note, then its just a matter of holding track select, and turning the 2nd encoder from G down to C.   

---------------

The best case scenario would be for some intelligent key signature recognition based on notes entered in sequencer... it's not a trivial programming task, but it certainly can be done. 

I recently programmed this type of logic for an Arduino/C device... my implementation watches two windows: of most recent chord played, plus a window/array of the last 32 notes played, and determines root/tonic and key signature based on a combination of the two... and it weighs the lowest played bass note in the algorithm.    This type of approach would be great for Sequential to develop into its IP... not only for this type of sequencer automation, but it also opens up the window to do some really advanced stuff with modulation and effects.   If the synth engine knows what you are currently playing, and has context for the overall key signature of your composition, you can implement intelligent harmonization effects for chords or solos, modulations targeting different keys with different values (ie: the root/tonic, P5 or other intervals may get higher values, while dissonant A4 or m2 can get lesser output values), or you can achieve dynamic accompaniment or droning a root oscillator as you play.   The possibilities are very interesting for sound design / modulation purposes... and especially so, if combined in a mod matrix with transforms layer between the source and dest.     

I got a headache just reading that.

If the Moog Sub 37 and Novation Bass station both play their sequences in assoication with whatever key is pressed then there really isn't any reason why sequences in Sequential synths must always be locked to middle C. It is illogical and moreover playing with other synths frustrating, especially if you are sending MIDI out from the sequencer.

I know Dave tries to make his synths user friendly but this just seems like an oversight and something that really shouldn't require a work around or figuring it out. A sequence in E should be triggered by pressing the key of E. I shouldn't have to figure out what key to press if I wanted to transpose it to a different note, I should just be able to hit "A" or "G" or whatever and have sequence automatically transposed to that key. I understand with poly sequences this might be a limitation....but the Pro 3 is essentially a mono synth (and this behavior still occurs when their other poly synths are in Mono/Unison mode)....I really would like to understand the reason for this limitation.
Personally, it would give me a headache if it DIDN'T work like it does!  ;D

Because not all sequences start on the first note. Let's say I make a boring sequence of G-C-D-E flat. That could be in the key of Cmin, E flat major, D locrian, and any number of others. So if the computer is going to assume the first note is the root, it's making me do the transposing. If I wanted that to play over a C I have to remember to play a G if it's assuming first note transposition. Then if I want to transpose that sequence to play over B flat I have to play an F. That's just more things to have to remember rather than letting the computer do the work for me.

I suppose the alternative that Seq could introduce is what the Sub37 does--offering 2 reference modes. More menu items, but it allows both methods. I never used that mode on the S37. I always used MID C mode so I have more control and don't have to memorize/transpose mentally.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2022, 11:30:57 PM by guyaguy »

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Re: Why is the sequence's default key Middle C?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2022, 03:23:33 PM »
I like the "Middle C Is As-Entered" model. It's clean and no-nonsense, and it's no hardship to convert a melody to C. But if you need to enter notes in another key, it seems like the Trk Note setting does exactly what you're asking for...
« Last Edit: January 04, 2022, 03:29:33 PM by chysn »
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Re: Why is the sequence's default key Middle C?
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2022, 04:20:04 PM »
I like the "Middle C Is As-Entered" model. It's clean and no-nonsense, and it's no hardship to convert a melody to C. But if you need to enter notes in another key, it seems like the Trk Note setting does exactly what you're asking for...

My main issue is when I'm sequencing external gear with the sequence, I would have to adjust the tuning on the external synths as well.

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Re: Why is the sequence's default key Middle C?
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2022, 04:37:12 PM »
I like the "Middle C Is As-Entered" model. It's clean and no-nonsense, and it's no hardship to convert a melody to C. But if you need to enter notes in another key, it seems like the Trk Note setting does exactly what you're asking for...

My main issue is when I'm sequencing external gear with the sequence, I would have to adjust the tuning on the external synths as well.

Have you tried Trk Note? You don't need to adjust anything on the external synth. It sends the same actual note numbers that the Pro 3 actually plays. You can play your sequence in E, change Trk Note so that your sequence plays in E when you press E and in G when you press G, etc., and the external synth will do the same thing, with no need for additional transposition.
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Re: Why is the sequence's default key Middle C?
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2022, 08:51:20 PM »
I like the "Middle C Is As-Entered" model. It's clean and no-nonsense, and it's no hardship to convert a melody to C. But if you need to enter notes in another key, it seems like the Trk Note setting does exactly what you're asking for...

My main issue is when I'm sequencing external gear with the sequence, I would have to adjust the tuning on the external synths as well.

Have you tried Trk Note? You don't need to adjust anything on the external synth. It sends the same actual note numbers that the Pro 3 actually plays. You can play your sequence in E, change Trk Note so that your sequence plays in E when you press E and in G when you press G, etc., and the external synth will do the same thing, with no need for additional transposition.

I donít see where Trk Note is. Is this the same as editing individual notes?

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Re: Why is the sequence's default key Middle C?
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2022, 01:58:22 AM »
I donít see where Trk Note is. Is this the same as editing individual notes?

@creativesprial mentioned it above. Hold down the Track Select button, select the note track, and it's on the second soft knob. It's not per-note, it moves the entire note track with one parameter.
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