Music sequencer to build "trax"?
February 9, 2015 5:36 AM   Subscribe

Eons ago I used a very simple music sequencer called EZ•Vision to make an accompaniment track for a show. I need to rebuild that show, but of course EZ•Vision is long gone. What would be a suitable replacement? Specs after the jump.

Up front: It has been so long since I used any software for creating performance tracks that I am completely out of the loop as far as terminology goes. The few pieces of software I have looked at online dive immediately into jargon and my eyes glaze over—in other words, I have neither the training nor the experience even to experiment with free downloads!

Here's what I need: with EZ•Vision it was possible to build an accompaniment out of little segments, and you could have segments loop until you hit the Next button. In show terms, I could play a verse of a song and then vamp until the song/scene was ready to continue.

Now the theatre for which I originally wrote the show wants to revive it, and so I need to rebuild the entire accompaniment. (Yes, this is community theatre.) Is there music software that will let me loop specific sections and then skip to the next section?

Further, I would like to be able to build the orchestrated accompaniment in Finale, then transfer it (via MIDI) to the sequencer.

Any suggesions?
posted by ancientgower to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Have you looked at GarageBand?
posted by thelonius at 6:20 AM on February 9, 2015


Here's what I need: with EZ•Vision it was possible to build an accompaniment out of little segments, and you could have segments loop until you hit the Next button. In show terms, I could play a verse of a song and then vamp until the song/scene was ready to continue.

Now the theatre for which I originally wrote the show wants to revive it, and so I need to rebuild the entire accompaniment. (Yes, this is community theatre.) Is there music software that will let me loop specific sections and then skip to the next section?


Well, I understand that people still wax nostalgic about EZVision/Studio Vision. So according to them, you might still not find its equal for MIDI editing.

However if your budget stretches to it Ableton Live (in session view in particular) will do what you want, and does seem to get a fair amount of use in theater. Live has a 30 day free demo. Not a firsthand recommendation but you could also check out bitwig which is newer and shares some features of live, though I've seen mixed reports for actual live use of bitwig in its current state.
posted by advil at 7:39 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


thelonius, I can't find a way to make GarageBand do what I need.

More specific example, from the finale of the show (A Christmas Carol):
  • Scrooge sings a bit [sequence A]
  • Scrooge has an extended scene with the Boy and the Poulterer [seq B]
  • The chorus sings a bit [seq C]
  • Scrooge has a scene with the Philanthropic Gentleman [seq D]
  • The chorus sings again [seq E]
What we would hear then would be:

A - B B B B B (as necessary) - C - D D D D - E

I need to be able to loop sequence B as many times as necessary, then when Scrooge finishes his scene, hit the NEXT button and skip to C.
posted by ancientgower at 10:44 AM on February 9, 2015


advil, Ableton Live has been recommended to me—thanks for the reinforcement.
posted by ancientgower at 10:45 AM on February 9, 2015


Do you have to sequence MIDI? I'm thinking that you might simplify things a bit if you were to simply use audio samples - less equipment to haul around, etc - and then all you need is a sample player (which could be hardware or software, and there are a number of such things for the iPad).

Offhand, I believe AudioMulch will do what you want (and lots lots more, perhaps too much more), or you could perhaps look into 'soundboard' software - I've seen several iOS apps that were oriented towards radio broadcasting - where you're just basically playing a sample by touching a button.

There are sooo many ways that you could do this nowadays, it's (as I'm sure you noticed) a big project just to evaluate all of the options. But if you're okay using samples, try searching the AppStore for 'soundboard'.

If it was me, and without really knowing the particulars, I'd shoot for an iOS solution, simply because it's small and light-weight - you can take it home and tweak it, and you don't leave it somewhere for night after night where it might get stolen, etc.
posted by doctor tough love at 1:50 PM on February 9, 2015


I would use Ableton Live for this.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:28 PM on February 9, 2015


Thanks all—I've tried Ableton Live, and it presented some issues that might be resolved by tech support. Since I posted this question, however, QLab was recommended to me (the theatre already uses it) and it's exactly what I'm looking for, give or take a couple of "how to mark the vamp" problems.
posted by ancientgower at 7:31 AM on February 18, 2015


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