Sequencing in Home Recording - dummies

By Jeff Strong

Sequencing is the heart of most home recordists’ MIDI studios because sequencing allows you to actually record your instrument’s part and play it back. If you’re like most people, the sequencing part of MIDI is what excites you the most. With sequencing, you can play as many instruments as your room can handle (or more, if you have long cords).

Sequencing is not unlike audio recording: You have the same transport functions (start, stop, record, rewind, and so on), and you have the ability to record each instrument on a separate track. This is where the similarities between audio tracks and MIDI tracks end, however. MIDI sequencing deals with performance commands and not audio waveforms. This opens a few doors that can come in mighty handy in the following situations:

  • If you aren’t the greatest player in the world

  • If you’re not sure what key you want the song to be in

  • If you don’t know (or haven’t decided) what sounds you want to use

With MIDI sequencing, you can make a whole host of changes to your performance after you’ve recorded it. You can change the placement or volume of individual notes, you can change the song’s key, and you can change the instrumentation (for example, you can have a brass ensemble play a part that you originally wrote for the strings).

Another great thing about MIDI sequencing is that you can capture a performance that you don’t have the chops (skills) to pull off live.