A sequencer is a module or device that generates a series of control voltage (CV) values or gate signals over time, typically following a pre-defined pattern or sequence. Sequencers are used to control various aspects of a modular synthesizer, such as pitch, timbre, or rhythm, and are essential for creating melodic patterns, rhythmic patterns, or modulating parameters in a structured way.
There are several types of sequencers available for modular synthesizers, and they can vary in terms of functionality, complexity, and user interface. Some common types of sequencers include:
- Step sequencers: These sequencers generate a series of discrete voltage values or gate signals, one for each step in the sequence. The user can program the sequence by adjusting the voltage levels or activating/deactivating gates for each step. Step sequencers can range from simple designs with a few steps to more advanced models with multiple channels, pattern storage, and additional features.
- Grid sequencers: These sequencers use a matrix or grid layout, where rows represent pitch, gates, or other parameters, and columns represent time steps. Users can program the sequence by activating or deactivating cells in the grid. Grid sequencers are known for their visual appeal and hands-on interface, making them popular for live performance.
- Algorithmic sequencers: These sequencers generate sequences based on algorithmic processes, such as randomization, mathematical formulas, or rule-based systems. Algorithmic sequencers can produce complex and evolving patterns, making them well-suited for generative and experimental music.
- Real-time sequencers: These sequencers record and play back control voltage or gate signals in real-time, allowing users to create sequences by performing on external controllers, such as keyboards or touch interfaces.