Technical notes index


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A sequencer is a device (or computer program) which records performances, not as audio but as a succession of notes with information as to instruments, intensity, and so on. The keyboard enables you to record as you play, saving the result to one of five on-board song memories. Because it's recording notes and not audio, you can play slowly and then speed it up on playback without affecting the pitch - or for that matter you can use the transposing facility and play back in a different key. You can change the instruments, and you can 'overdub' - the recording has the basic System track with the auto-accompaniment and sixteen instrument tracks which you can add one at a time to build up a complex result.

You can then edit the result, for example to correct mis-fingering, right down to individual notes, changing their pitch, intensity or timing: though I have to say the process is inevitably very fiddly and slow: the editing screen, left, shows each individual note in sequence (including those in chords) and you have to step or scroll through them one by one to find the one you want to change.

I have to say that if I were going to be doing this sort of thing with any seriousness I wouldn't do it this way - I'd use a computer-based sequencer such as GarageBand, Cubase or Logic, which would provide much more flexibility and very much easier handling -  compare GarageBand's note editor (right). That said, for the odd correction it does at least work, though it's very time-consuming, and it's a remarkably powerful facility to find in what is essentially a mid-range keyboard, so one shouldn't cavil.

You can select and adjust the level of any individual track to produce a better balance, though this is applied throughout the song - you can't change the levels as it plays, the way you can on a computer-based sequencer. The mixer screen is shown, left - you use the left-right buttons to select a track (B tracks are the 16 instrumental tracks) and the thumbwheel to set the level.

As I said, there are only five on-board memories, but you can copy songs from those to an SD or SDHC card (the same that are used in many cameras) which gives you effectively unlimited capacity. You can play songs directly from the card, though if you want to add tracks or perform other actions you will need to copy them back to an on-board memory first; so you need to regard these as working areas.

This video demonstrates a complex completely sequenced song - there is no keyboard input while it's playing: it uses all 16 instrumental tracks, and was of course recorded more slowly and speeded up for playback (and transposed). You can see a listing of the accompaniments and tones used here.

The next page examines the Arpeggiator, Auto-Harmony and the 'presets' - pre-recorded chord sequences.

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Roger Wilmut. This site is not associated with Casio.