Assignment 1: MIDI Sequencing

What we’re trying to do

What to turn in

The basic process

A multi-track sequence contains two or more tracks, each of which plays notes using a sound you’ve chosen on a synthesizer. You record tracks one after the other. You can record as many takes, or versions, of a track as you want, and you can correct mistakes you make while recording. So don’t feel like you have to play perfectly!

Before doing anything else, watch the Beginner’s Guide to Experimentation with Reason. This covers some techniques that are more advanced than we should tackle in this assignment, but it gives a good sense of how to make music with Reason. The video makes it clear that trial and error are a natural part of the process. So don’t feel discouraged!

It is important to use the sequencer’s metronome while recording. It’s best for the sequencer program to have the same idea about the measures and beats in your music as you do. For example, when you play straight eighth notes, you want those to appear in the sequencer as eighth notes, not as dotted sixteenth notes. Not only would the latter make it harder for you to find places in the music that you want to edit, but certain sequencer commands, such as Quantize, will work only if the beats sounding in your music align with those shown in the sequencer. For this reason, we record at least some of the tracks (typically the more rhythmic ones, like drums) using the metronome.

As an alternative to the metronome, try programming a drum pattern, as in Exercise B, and recording a new track while listening to the drum track play.

It is also possible to enter notes directly into the sequencer, without recording.

After recording, you should edit and mix your sequence. There is a wide range of editing features available once you’ve recorded notes. In addition to changing the timing, pitch, and velocity of individual notes in the Edit/Arrange pane of the Reason Sequencer, you can use the tools in the Tool Window to manipulate notes.

Mixing means that you adjust the volume and panning (position in the stereo field, from left speaker to right speaker) so that your tracks sound good together. Making a good basic mix of several tracks is an important goal in this assignment.

The assignment has a number of requirements that you must satisfy to get a good grade. The requirements are summarized in the Assignment 1 checklist.

Things you should know how to do

While working on this assignment, make an effort to learn the following techniques. The web pages linked below provide a quick summary of steps to take.

You should know how to...

More complete information is available in the online help, found by choosing Reason Help from the Help menu. The most useful information for this assignment will be found in the following chapters, which appear in the Contents list on the left side of the Help Viewer window: Sequencer Functions, Recording in the Sequencer, Arranging in the Sequencer, Note and Automation Editing. Get in the habit of looking in the manual for help.

Copyright ©2013 John Gibson