How to send a MIDI trigger?

Sequential told me that even though you can sync their Pro-3’s sequencer with an external MIDI device by setting its clock mode to slave, its onboard sequencer can’t be metered by MIDI clock, whether beats or ticks. They said you can manually advance the sequencer by setting it to trigger mode, and the manual describes that mode simply as, “External input trigger. External input triggers include an external audio input signal, MIDI, or a control voltage input.” This sounds straightforward enough, but now I realize I don’t know how to use Sonic Pi to send nothing but a MIDI trigger, or maybe I’m just not clear what that mans. I don’t have a Pro-3 to test; it’s just a device I’m considering. I might guess sending a MIDI trigger simply means send a MIDI note on or perhaps a CC, but that doesn’t sound ideal if you’re concerned about triggering an unwanted note (on a monosynth yet) or changing a CC value.

Hi @blipson this is the trigger mode common to many older hardware devices such as Roland 808/909/Juno arpeggiators etc. So you could dedicate an audio output (assuming you have a multi channel interface) to trigger a rimshot sample from SPi, which happens with the 808/909, and use tis to advance the sequencer.

Hope that helps.

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Thanks. That could be done easily enough, I suppose, but it’s not a convenient setup. I guess Sequential has different situations in mind than the limited use I’d make of it. That’s fine because I’m not ready to spend that kind of money, and I don’t love the Pro-3’s sound so much. I just think its sequencer is interesting.

Was in the middle of adding to my post!

There’s a little bit more detail in this vid. As trigger can be from the keyboard, the assumption would be that the midi trigger is a note on the right midi channel. Nick demonstrates very briefly, the different modes. If you have Ableton and access to the Max4Live mono sequencer, then you can try out these different behaviours.Mono Seq. Change from Transpose to Transpose and gate.

From your response it looks like you’ve made your mind up.

Just out of interest, what is it about the sequencer you like?

You can route each sequencer track to a different modulation destination, and only the first three of 16 are dedicated to notes. That’s more onboard sequencer than I’ve ever seen on a hardware synth. I’d bypass the note tracks, sequence a bunch of parameters and stuff on the other 13, then use Sonic Pi to trigger the sequencer in the rhythms I want, not just pulse away at the bpm. I’d also use Sonic Pi to sequence notes.

I did ask in the original post if sending a MIDI note would be a trigger that makes the sequencer proceed one step each time it receives a MIDI note. If so, I guess that’s reasonable as long as notes meant to trigger the sequencer don’t get mixed up with notes meant to play the oscillators.

Yeah, I the midi note would either be channel specific or note value i.e. in a register not being used, so as to be distinguishable from the other notes in the stream.

For modulation there are also joystick controllers in Eurorack which are ridiculous fun for sound design and modulation. Some are multi channel, which means a lot of modulation sources, and some will also record motion and play them back. And of course modulation controllers that can run on phone and tablet such as Liine Lemur or similar. Also a quick and dirty one for phone, where you can have up to eight modulations running simultaneously. Always handy to have around.

Just out of curiosity, why not use SPi to do the modulation sequences as well? is it to do with specific mappings i.e. pro 3 matrix can only assign internal destinations?

I rather expect you could do everything the internal sequencer does from Sonic Pi, though maybe there’d be welcome surprises. I just thought the interaction could be fun and lead to combinations that would be a pain to dial in using just one or the other. You’d also effectively offload a lot of code into the Pro-3 so that the SPI buffer is more visually friendly, you could pull sequences up from presets at the touch of a button, plus you then have the Pro-3 as a standalone performance device with real-time, performable sequencing—who knows. It’s an attractive package, but given the cost, I’d have to really love the Pro-3’s core sound, not just spend crazy money on a utility device that’s not inspiring enough in its own right.

Yes, you would need to love it.

The interrupted/gate/triggered step sequencer is a fantastic approach to pursue, irrespective of whether you use it in hardware/software. I’ve been exploring this in SPi trying to work out how to achieve this behaviour. The following is one implementation:

use_bpm 110

set :runState, true
notes = (ring :C3, :Bb2, :G3, :G2, :Bb3)

live_loop :stateChanger do
  if one_in 2
    set :runState, !get[:runState]
  sleep (ring 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, 8.0).choose

live_loop :test do
  if get[:runState]
    play notes.tick, release:0.2
  sleep 0.25

You can change tick to choose for more randomised behaviour, or use .reverse.

Anyway, just an idea.

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yeah. You can work the rhythm of the steps against the rhythm of what the steps do—there’s a whole world in there.

By the way, the Pro-3’s sequencer also directly records knob movements. Again, stuff you could still control externally, but it would take more work to capture what you might do in one particularly successful take.

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