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Arpeggiators and Sequencers


Rolo Tomasi
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I feel like nobody uses these. They build them into almost every midi keyboard and synth but honestly when was the last time you heard a hit record that featured an arpeggiator?

 

Not hating but geez they were popular for like 3 years in the 80's. The technology is no longer groundbreaking.

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That is probably due to the new features and whatnot guizmos appearing every now and then which drags creators attention. Then when an fx features in a hit song, that creates a fad for same; until the next new fx shine in a new hit song…

 

Since vinyl records came back on the market, I’m pretty sure that sequencer and arpeggiator will eventually come back too…

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I've now written several songs which needed "a simple arpeggiated musical line," say plucked by a guitar, in which I took advantage of a software crutch. I don't apologize for that. It produced "the sound that I wanted" in the least amount of time and effort, and that was my only goal.

 

"Sequencers" were a mainstay of 1980's and 1990's musical performances. For instance, I once bought a strategic seat at an A-Ha concert so that I could watch how they did it. As they played their iconic song, Take On Me, I was astounded to witness the number of intricate musical parts that their keyboardist didn't(!) play. He simply mashed a button, thus treating the audience to a perfect rendition of the part which they knew from the records they had bought. "Perfect," no doubt, because they had once done exactly the same thing in the studio.

 

I don't fault them for that ...

 

"Drum Machines," another mainstay of the time, were never anything more than "percussion sequencers." They became a defining signature of the sound.

 

Hey – you did whatever you needed to do to produce product more easily, given the technology of the day.

Mike Robinson - "I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
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I didn’t know that about “Take On Me” that’s pretty cool :) I guess I was wrong about Arpeggiators and Sequencers there are actually hit songs that have used them. Another one that I just thought of was the intro to “Hungry Like the Wolf”

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I am today quite sure that these artists took full advantage of available technology, each and every time that they could.

 

After all, in those days (which I remember quite well ...), no other musical technology existed.

 

Musicians did spend $100,000+ for tools like "Fairlights" and "Synclaviers" in order to gain a musical edge, but free software like Audacity and GarageBand today has far greater capabilities.

Mike Robinson - "I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
Logic Pro X, MacBook Pro, 88-key MIDI controller.

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  • 1 month later...
When I listen to "Hip Hop" and in fact a lot of music that you hear getting cranked out today, I know that the sequencer and the drum-machine didn't go far away. You know that no person and no drummer is playing those parts. Heck, I just the other day heard yet another song where they'd sampled the singer's voice into a keyboard and probably-arpeggiated that. It was hackneyed back then and it's hackneyed now, but, there it was.

Mike Robinson - "I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
Logic Pro X, MacBook Pro, 88-key MIDI controller.

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