Posts with «step sequencer» label

Making Minty Fresh Music With Markov Chains: The After Eight Step Sequencer

Step sequencers are fantastic instruments, but they can be a little, well, repetitive. At it’s core, the step sequencer is a pretty simple device: it loops through a series of notes or phrases that are, well, sequentially ordered into steps. The operator can change the steps while the sequencer is looping, but it generally has a repetitive feel, as the musician isn’t likely to erase all of the steps and enter in an entirely new set between phrases.

Enter our old friend machine learning. If we introduce a certain variability on each step of the loop, the instrument can help the musician out a bit here, making the final product a bit more interesting. Such an instrument is exactly what [Charis Cat] set out to make when she created the After Eight Step Sequencer.

The After Eight is an eight-step sequencer that allows the artist to set each note with a series of potentiometers (which are, of course, housed in an After Eight mint tin). The potentiometers are read by an Arduino, which passes MIDI information to a computer running the popular music-oriented visual programming language Max MSP. The software uses a series of Markov Chains to augment the musician’s inputted series of notes, effectively working with the artist to create music. The result is a fantastic piece of music that’s different every time it’s performed. Make sure to check out the video at the end for a fantastic overview of the project (and to hear the After Eight in action, of course)!

[Charis Cat]’s wonderful creation reminds us of some the work [Sara Adkins] has done, blending human performance with complex algorithms. It’s exactly the kind of thing we love to see at Hackaday- the fusion of a musician’s artistic intent with the stochastic unpredictability of a machine learning system to produce something unique.

Thanks to [Chris] for the tip!

Monome + Raspberry Pi + Arduino + Python Step Sequencer

Created by “modulogeek,” the MonomePi is a step sequencer that uses a monome as an input controller and a toy glockenspiel as the output instrument.

The brain of the device is a Raspberry Pi 3, which runs a step sequencer program written in Python. Both the monome and an Arduino Uno are connected to the Pi via USB. The Arduino controls eight servos, each attached to a “mallet” made of LEGO bricks taped onto coffee sticks.

As modulogeek explains, the Arduino is programmed to receive serial commands from the Python program. A command is one byte or 8 bits, each bit representing ‘on’ (play the note) and ‘off’ (do nothing) states of each servo.

The monome is entirely controlled by the Python program, which sends serial commands that, for example, tell the monome which buttons need to light up or turn off. It also receives serial data from the monome, like which buttons are getting pressed and depressed.

You can see it below, as well as check out its GitHub page here.