Generative sequencers

I know a lot of people who do electronics and who actually manufacture modules (which is the area I’m mostly interested in personally). But then it comes down to functionality, parameters, UI.

Would this have its own sequencer on board or process an incoming sequence? What parameters should the user be able to control?

Lots of things to discuss. I’ll send you a message. This is very interesting indeed!


A few custom operators for Teletype would work too. I have notes about that exact thing in a notepad…


It’s got a steep learning curve. But it does seem really cool and very well documented. I can’t seem to get it to do a basic midi out though.

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It’s simple and classic, but still worth mentioning because of how powerful it is:

  • waveshaped/folded LFO(s) -> Offset/Scale -> S+H -> Quantizer w/ scale masks/rotations

This can definitely take you pretty far and is a lot of fun/very controllable. Between playing with the relationship between s+h clock and LFO frequency, the shape of the LFO, the offset/scaling for octave ranging and shifting, and changing the scale masks, there’s tons of opportunities for controllable evolution of patterns… it’s also quite fun if you start mixing a few different LFOs (or other sources) with different rates and ranges before going into your s+h…


The “patch modulator” (based on genetic algorithm) in the Nord Modular G2 is also cool as heck.

Someone tell Bitwig to work on something like this.



Just stumbled across this, seems very powerful!


Interesting, so does it take control of all patch parameters?

I just found this reference in the Oxford Algorithmic Music Handbook:

Reminds me how much I used to love the mutate function of Metaphysical Function in Reaktor. Must try something like that in Max at some point.

btw - it’s the patch mutator, not modulator.


I’m not exactly sure how you assign parameters. I guess anything you could assign to a knob you could assign to the mutator. Looks like there’s lock and solo functions for parameters as well… I’ve never actually used it, just eyed it.

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I’ve not tried it myself yet, but I’ve been considering loading up one of the “Hemispheres” known as Neural Net on my Ornament & Crime. Check it out here:


Sometimes that’s better - seek what they sought.

For anyone interested I found the two papers:

Both worth a read.



Fractal sequencer.

32 step sequencer with 2 channels, pattern saving and an infinite number of variations from our fractal algorithm.

ETA: September

This is the first Qu-Bit module I’ve ever really been interested in. Curious what, if anything, will change between the NAMM unveiling and the final release in September.


Also on the O_C Hemisphere front: a recent update added Enigma, which sounds really neat. Essentially you can save Turing machines and then sequence them. I haven’t played with it, and it seems to have some memory limitations, but it sounds fun to play with. Recall on random sequencers seems very useful to me.


I would lie if I would say that this is the most exciting sequencer but I had an idea for BrainF*** language based sequencer for O_C so I made prototype in browser to test idea:
If somebody doesn’t know what BrainF*** language is there is a good explanation here:
My main “generative” extensions were to add three pair of opcodes:

  • r/R which set memory cell under the pointer to random value
  • j/J which jump to the random point in program
  • c/C which replace random opcode in program with random opcode

the lower case versions have an additional property of only triggering once and then removing themselves from program code.

On O_C I thought that opcodes might be entered by quantising pitch CV input and assigning various opcodes to various pitches.

EDIT: if someone would like to modify it there is a code at github: but I must warn that the code quality was not something that I had in mind when writing this prototype :smiley:


Do you mean you can lock the Turing machines so they’ll produce the same result every time you’ll recall the saved preset? That’s exactly what I’m missing with most generative sequencers too. Most of them don’t offer Freeze at all. Some offer Freeze, but no Reset (looking at you, Marbles). So Freeze, Reset and Save/Recall would be great!

Does that mean masking steps of a scale and then rotating this mask? Like C major, Mask: c, e, g, Rotate: d, f, a?

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20 chars of yyyyyup!

Inspired by this great topic: Programming languages built around the Grid I got an idea to try what would happen if we would use CA to generate drum patterns but also use L-System to modify this CA rule on every bar start. Here is my quick exploration of this idea made today: (but click at least once somewhere on site for drum sound to play) and source code is here (but it is very messy) .
The first row displays the init pattern which will be used in addition to init CA rule to generate first bar of drum pattern. The second row displays current CA rule. The rest are drum patterns. For any sound to play please click once somewhere on site because browsers block any sound from playing if user did not interact with the site (and rightly so). I also added kick every four beats so you there is a steady point of comparision to the generated patterns.
CA Rule is restarted to init rule every 8 bars and to get different init CA rule just refresh the site or click randomizeInitRule text in control panel on the right.
The l-system rules can also be changed from panel.


Been asking myself a strange question lately: can a generative beat be danceable? Or more to the point? What form of dance works with each type of generative beat?

But also thoughts around giving gravity to the one (and possibly other beats) so that they appear more often and less randomly.


I really like the inverse question “What form of dance works with each type of generative beat” but I am not equipped to answer that so back to “can a generative beat be danceable” I think that it can be but there needs to be some form of repetition included in beat or at least changes between patterns must be not overall dramatic. I mean someone with musical training can probably feel the pulse even in random stream of events as long as they are quantised to some grid, but I think most people get accustomed to beat by repetition. From the practical standpoint what helps:

  • if you generate beats make it cyclic for example reset it to init state every 8 bars (like I did in linked sequencer)
  • use algorithms that change beats every bar only by small amount or “move” around the target pattern set by user -> I found the genetic algorithm to be really good for this. Despite the fact that beat constantly evolves it does that by exploring the possibilities space around the target pattern and I feel like this helps in making the overall beat feel much more coherent.

Another thing that people (myself included) often forget that a part of the beat can be generative while other can be composed manually. From my own experience if you have some form of a strong groove on kick and snare/clap then you can basically throw anything random on other elements like hihats etc.then add some nice chord progression using pad type sound and you basically have an IDM song ;d


So glad to see this thread coming back! Has anyone mentioned Mark Fell’s dissertation work on the sequencers he was building?

Also, co-sign M - honestly best/most musical sequencer I’ve ever seen, though I’m waiting to be proven wrong/would love to see what else is out there.

Has anyone ever seen or played with Jam Factory? Was mentioned an article by David Z in CMJ ages ago, but haven’t been able to find much documentation otherwise -