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The following are specifically designed to function primarily as the music sequencers:
Rotating object with pins or holes
- Barrel or cylinder with pins (since 9th or 14th century) — utilized on barrel organs, carillons, music boxes
- Metal disc with punched holes (late 18th century) — utilized on several music boxes such as Polyphon, Regina, Symphonion, Ariston, Graphonola (early version), etc.
- Book music (since 1890) for pneumatics system — utilized on several mechanical organs
- Music roll for pneumatics system — utilized on player pianos (using piano rolls), Orchestrions, several mechanical organs, etc.
- Punch tape system for earliest studio synthesizers
- RCA Mark II Sound Synthesizer by Herbert Belar and Harry Olson at RCA, a room-filling device built in 1957 for half a million dollars. Included a 4-polyphony synth with 12 oscillators, a sequencer fed with wide paper tape, and output were recorded on a shellac record lathe
- Siemens Synthesizer (1959) at Siemens-Studio für elektronische Musik
- Variophone (1930) by Evgeny Sholpo—on earliest version, hand drawn waves on film or disc were used to synthesize sound, and later versions were promised to experiment on musical intonations and temporal characteristics of live music performance, however not finished. Variophone is often referred as a forerunner of drawn sound system including ANS synthesizer and Oramics.
- Composer-Tron (1953) by Osmond Kendal—rhythmical sequences were controlled via marking cue on film, while timbre of note or envelope-shape of sound were defined via hand drawn shapes on a surface of CRT input device, drawn with a grease pencil.
- ANS synthesizer (1938-1958) by Evgeny Murzin—an earliest realtime additive synthesizer using 720 microtonal sine waves (1/6 semitones × 10 octaves) generated by five glas discs. Composers could control time evolution of amplitudes of each microtones via scratches on glass plate user interface covered with black mastic.
- Oramics (1957) by Daphne Oram—hand drawn contours on a set of ten sprocketed synchronized strips of 35 film were used to control various parameters of monophonic sound generator (frequency, timbre, amplitude and duration). Polyphonic sounds were obtained using multitrack recording technique.
- Wall of Sound (mid-1940s–1950s) by Raymond Scott—early electro-mechanical sequencer developed by Raymond Scott to produce rhythmic patterns, consistent with stepping relays, solenoids, and tone generators
- Circle Machine (1959) by Raymond Scott—electro-optical rotary sequencer developed by Raymond Scott to generate arbitrary waveforms, consistent with dimmer bulbs arranged in a ring, and a rotating arm with photocell scanning over the ring
- Wurlitzer Sideman (1959)—first commercial drum machine; rhythm patterns were electro-mechanically generated by rotating disk switches, and drum sounds were electronically generated by vacuum-tube circuits
Analog sequencers with CV/Gate interface
- Buchla 100's sequencer modules (1964/1966–)
- One of the earliest analog sequencer on the modular synthesizer era since 1960. Later, Robert Moog admired Buchla's unique works including it
- Moog 960 Sequential Controller / 961 Interface / 962 Sequential Switch (c.1968)
- A popular analog sequencer module for the Moog modular synthesizer system, following the earliest Buchla sequencer
- Aries AR334 (module)
- ARP 1601 and 1027 (module)
- Buchla 245, 246
- Doepfer Dark Time
- Electro Harmonix Sequencer
- EML 400
- ETI 603 (DIY project)
- genoQs Octopus-digital midi
- genoQs Nemo-digital midi
- Korg SQ-10
- MFB Urzwerg / MFB Urzwerg Pro—CV/Gate step sequencer with 8steps/4tracks or 16steps/2tracks; also synchronizable with MIDI sequencer
- Oberheim Mini Sequencer MS1A
- PAiA 4780
- Polyfusion AS1, AS1R and 2040/2041/2042/2043 modules
- PPG 313, 314
- Roland 104, 182, 717A
- Sequential Circuits Model 600
- Serge Modular TKB, SQP, SEQ8
- Steiner Parker 151
- Synthesizers.com Q119
- Synthesizers.com Q960—reissue of Moog 960
- WMS 1020A
- Yamaha CS30 (1977)—monophonic synthesizer keyboard with built-in 8-step analog sequencer
Analog-style step sequencers
Analog-style MIDI step sequencers
Since the analog synthesizer revivals in the 1990s, newly designed MIDI sequencers with a series of knobs or slider similar to analog sequencer have appeared. These often equip CV/Gate and DIN sync interface along with MIDI, and even the patch memory for multiple sequence patterns and possibly song sequence. These analog-digital hybrid machines are often called "Analog-style MIDI step sequencer" or "MIDI analog sequencer", etc.
- Doepfer MAQ 16/3—MIDI analog sequencer, designed in cooperation with Kraftwerk
- Doepfer Regelwerk—MIDI analog sequencer with MIDI controller
- Frostwave Fat Controller
- Infection Music Phaedra
- Infection Music Zeit
- Latronic Notron
- Manikin Schrittmacher
- Quasimidi Polymorph (1999)—Four-part multitimbral tabletop synthesizer, with an analog-like step sequencer
- Roland EF-303—Multiple effects unit with 16-step modulation, also usable as the analog-style MIDI step sequencer
- Sequentix P3
Analog-style MIDI pattern sequencers
Several machines also provide the song mode to play the sequence of memoried patterns in specified order, as on drum machine.
Step sequencers (supported on)
Typical step sequencers are integrated on drum machines, bass machines, groove machines, music production machines, and these software versions. Often, these also support the semi-realtime recording mode, too.
- MFB Step 64—Standalone step sequencer dedicated for drum patterns (16steps/4tracks or 64steps/1tracks, 118program×4banks, 16song sequences, each with up to 128 sequences)
Embedded self-contained step sequencers
Several tiny keyboards provide a step sequencer combined with an independent timing mode for recording and performance:
- Casio VL-Tone VL-1 (1979), Casiotone MT-70 (c.1984), Sampletone SK-1 (1986), etc.—Timings of musical notes stored on the step sequencer, can be designated by the two trigger buttons labeled "One Key Play", around the right hand position
Embedded CV/Gate step sequencers
Several machines have white and black chromatic keypads, to enter the musical phrases.
- Multivox / Firstman SQ-01 (1980)—a forerunner of TB-303
- Roland TB-303 (1981)
- Roland SH-101 (1982)—monophonic keytar synthesizer with sequencer
- Roland MC-202 (1983)—monophonic tabletop synthesizer with sequencer, similar to SH-101
Embedded MIDI step sequencers
Groovebox-type machines with white and black chromatic keypads, often support step recording mode along with realtime recording mode:
- Linn 9000 (1984)
- Sequential Circuits Studio 440 (1986)
- E-mu SP-12 (1986)
- E-mu SP-1200 (1987)
- Akai MPC series (1988–)
- Akai MPC Renaissance / Studio / Fly (2012)—Software with control surfaces
- Native Instruments Maschine (2009)—Software with control surface
- Roland MV-30
- Roland MV-8000—Production Studio
Button-grid-style step sequencers
Recently emerging button-grid-style interfaces/instruments are naturally support step sequence. On these machines, one axis on grid means musical scale or sample to play, and another axis means timing of notes.
- Akai APC40—interface for Ableton Live
- Bliptronics 5000—instrument
- Novation Launchpad—interface for Ableton Live
- Yamaha Tenori-on—instrument
- Synthstrom Deluge - Piano-roll-style sequencing on 128 pads (16×8)
In addition, newly designed hardware MIDI sequencers equipping a series of knobs/sliders similar to analog sequencers, are appeared. For details, see #Analog-style MIDI step sequencers.
- EDP Spider (late 1970s)—supported LINK and CV/Gate
- EMS Sequencer series (1971)
- Max Mathews GROOVE system (1970)
- Multivox MX-8100 / Firstman SQ-10 (1979/1980)—supported V/Oct. and Hz/V
- Oberheim DS-2 (1974)
- Roland CSQ-100
- Roland CSQ-600 (1980)—it memories 600 notes for individual 4 tracks, a buddy of TR-808
- Roland MC-4 Microcomposer (1981)
- Roland MC-8 Microcomposer (1977)—also supporting DCB via OP-8
- Sequential Circuits Model 800 (1977)
Proprietary digital interfaces (pre MIDI era)
- NED Synclavier series—CV/Gate interface and MIDI retrofit kit were available on Synclavier II. Also MIDI became standard feature on Synclavier PSMT
- Fairlight CMI series—CV/Gate interface was optionally available on Series II, and MIDI was supported on Series IIx and later models
- Oberheim DSX (Oberheim Parallel Bus)
- PPG Wave family (PPG Bus)
- Rhodes Chroma (Chroma Computer Interface)
- Roland JSQ-60 (Roland Digital Control Bus (DCB))
- Sequential Circuits PolySequencer 1005 (SCI Serial Bus)
- Yamaha CS70M (Key Code Interface)
Hardware MIDI sequencers
Standalone MIDI sequencers
- Akai ASQ10
- Alesis MMT-8—a buddy of HR-16 drum machine
- Korg SQD-1
- Korg SQD-8
- Kawai Q-80
- Roland MC-327
- Roland MC series: MC-50/MC-50MkII/MC-80/MC-300/MC-500 Microcomposer
- Roland MSQ-100 (1985)
- Roland MSQ-700 (1984)—one of the earliest multitrack MIDI sequencer (8tr), a buddy of TR-909
- Roland SB-55—SMF recorder
- Yamaha QX series: QX1/QX3/QX5/QX7/QX21
MIDI phrase sequencers
Embedded MIDI sequencers
MIDI sequencers with embedded sound module
- Yamaha TQ5—desktop version of EOS YS200 FM workstation
- Yamaha QY10—with embedded GM tone generator (1990)
- Yamaha QY20—with embedded GM tone generator (1992)
- Yamaha QY300—with embedded GM tone generator (1994)
- Yamaha QY20—with embedded GM tone generator (1995)
- Yamaha QY700—with embedded XG tone generator (1996)
- Yamaha QY70—with embedded XG tone generator (1997)
- Yamaha QY100—with embedded XG tone generator (2000)
Palmtop MIDI sequencers
- Korg SQ-8—palmtop sequencer
- Philips Micro Composer PMC100
- Roland PMA-5—palmtop sequencer with touch screen
- Yamaha Walkstation series: QY8/QY10/QY20/QY22/QY70/QY100—palmtop sequencer with embedded sound module
- MIDIbox Sequencer modules—Analog-style MIDI step sequencer/MIDI effect processor modules of MIDIbox project
- oTTo Sampler, Sequencer, Multi-engine synth and effects - in a box.
Software sequencers and DAWs with sequencing features
Free, open source
- MuseScore—Linux, Windows, OS X
DAW with MIDI sequencers
- Ardour—Linux, OS X, FreeBSD
- LMMS—Linux, Windows
- Auxy: Beat Studio—iOS 7
Software MIDI sequencers
- B-Step Sequencer from Monoplugs
- Fugue Machine from Alexandernaut
- Master Tracks Pro from Passport Music Software
- Howling Dog Power Chords Pro
Loop-oriented DAWs with MIDI sequencers
- ACID Pro and Cinescore from Sony Creative Software
- Live from Ableton
- GarageBand from Apple
- REAPER from Cockos
- Tracktion from Mackie
Tracker-oriented DAWs with MIDI sequencers
DAWs with MIDI sequencers
- Ableton Live from Ableton
- Audition from Adobe (removed since Version 4 CS5.5)
- Bitwig Studio from Bitwig
- Cubase and Nuendo from Steinberg
- Digital Performer from MOTU
- REAPER from Cockos
- FL Studio from Image Line Software
- Logic Pro and Logic Express from Apple
- Lumit from Lumit Audio, LLC
- Mixcraft from Acoustica
- Mixbus from Harrison
- MuLab from MUTools
- MultitrackStudio from Bremmers Audio Design
- n-Track Studio from n-Track Software
- Orion Platinum from Synapse Audio
- Pro Tools from Avid
- Samplitude, Sequoia, Music Maker and Music Studio from Magix
- Sonar, Music Creator and Home Studio from Cakewalk
- Studio One from PreSonus
- Usine from Sensomusic
- Podium from Zynewave (gratis)
- Z-Maestro from Z-Systems
Integrated software studio environments
- "Das Siemens-Studio für elektronische Musik von Alexander Schaaf und Helmut Klein" (in German). Deutsches Museum. Archived from the original on 2013-09-30.
- Holmes, Thom (2012). "Early Synthesizers and Experimenters". Electronic and Experimental Music: Technology, Music, and Culture (4th ed.). Routledge. pp. 190–192. ISBN 978-1-136-46895-7. (See also excerpt of pp. 157–160 from Holmes 2008)
- "The Composer-Tron (1953)". 120 Years of Electronic Music (120years.net). Archived from the original on 2012-04-02.
- "Daphne Oram and 'Oramics' (1959)". 120 Years of Electronic Music (120years.net). Archived from the original on 2011-11-19.
- "Wall of Sound (sequencer)". RaymondScott.com. Archived from the original on 2011-11-13.
- "Circle Machine". RaymondScott.com. Archived from the original on 2011-09-27.—includes 2 sound files: Raymond Scott's demonstration, and commercial soundtrack for new batteries of Ford Motors.
- US patent 3,207,835, Howard E. Holman and Joseph H. Hearne (Wurlitzer Company), "Rhythm Device", issued 1965-09-21
Holmes, Thom (2008). Electronic and experimental music: technology, music, and culture (3rd ed.). Routledge. p. 222. ISBN 978-1-135-90617-7.
Moog admired Buchla's work, recently stating that Buchla designed a system not only for "making new sounds but [for] making textures out of these sounds by specifying when these sounds could change and how regular those change would be."
- "Moog 960 Sequential Controller". MoogArchives.com.—3×8-step sequencer module
- "Moog 961 Interface". MoogArchives.com.—interface module to convert several signal types including audio input, V-trigger (CV), and S-trigger (short-to-ground trigger for Envelope Controller)
- "Moog 962 Sequential Switch". MoogArchives.com.—switching module for 960 to convert 3x8-step sequence into 1x24-step sequence, etc.
- "Synthesizer 2C with optional 960 and 961 - 1968 Modular System "Synthesizer 2"". MoogArchives.com.—On the MoogArchives.com, the photograph with caption "Synthesizer 2C with optional 960 and 961" on this page seems to be the earliest record of Moog's sequencer module.
- MFB-URZWERG, MFB Musik Elektronik, archived from the original on 2011-12-02
- MFB-URZWERG Pro, MFB Musik Elektronik, archived from the original on 2012-06-18
- Roland EF-303 Groove Effects - Owner's manual (PDF), Roland Corporation, pp. 48, 53, 54, archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-31
- Sequencer MFB-STEP64, MFB Musik Elektronik, archived from the original on 2012-04-05
- "SM0600 Project - A Digital Sequencer - Rebuilding the Roland CSQ-700". Emulator Archive.
- Amison, Brandon (17 Jul 1999). "Yaking Cat Music Studios QAQA answers - Subject:0033 Re:Clothing ETC". Yaking Cat Music Studios (Synclavier Assistance).
- Furia, Steve De; Joe Scacciaferro (1986). The MIDI implementation book. Third Earth Pub. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-88188-558-3.—MIDI Implementation Chart of Synclavier MIDI Option v0.9 in 1985.
- Williams, Tonny (January 24, 1984), Rhodes Keyboards Instruments Chroma Computer Interface Model 1611 Rev 5—Sequencer Manual (PDF), CBS Inc.
- "External Key Code Interface Circuit", Yamaha CS70M Servicing Manual (PDF), Yamaha Corporation, October 1981, p. 24, archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-04-21, retrieved 2016-09-18
- "AM MSQ700 Nexus - MIDI Sequencer". Emulator Archive.