linux music tutorial: seq24, part 1

I promised I’d make an introductory tutorial to seq24, and now, I’ve delivered! If you’ve tried seq24 in the past and been confused by it, hopefully this will clear up some of the mysteries; if you’ve never tried it, this might just encourage you to give it a go!

There’s an unspoken “step zero” here — get yourself a working copy of seq24. I’m not sure about other distributions, but on Ubuntu, especially 64-bit, the packaged version seems very unstable. The best thing to do is to grab the 0.9.1 version from the seq24 Launchpad and install that — this new release includes a bunch of bug-fixes, and a few new features, too.

The original plan was for a straight screencast, like my earlier synth tutorials, but I was so impressed by Kdenlive that I decided to have a bit of fun with it — hopefully the fun I had comes through in the finished product.

For downloaders, there’s also a 720p WebM version available.

a demo of live sequencing with seq24

Despite a whole bunch of idiosyncrasies, I love seq24, and even though I tend to think of Qtractor as my MIDI sequencer of choice under Linux, it’s actually seq24 that I’ve used the most in producing my tracks. I’m planning on making some video tutorials for it, since it’s such a strange beast to deal with at first, but before doing that, I want to demonstrate the kind of things you can do with it.

Here, then, is a “performance” of my track tiny droplets — the various MIDI loops used are all pre-sequenced, but I’m triggering them all in realtime using my QWERTY keyboard. In this case, seq24 is driving Hydrogen and my Blofeld, and I’m using Ardour as a live mixer to process and mix the audio from those synths in to a stereo stream.

UPDATE: If you’d prefer to download the video rather than streaming it on YouTube, I’ve uploaded a WebM version of it. WebM is still quite new, but current versions of VLC and MPlayer support it.

On a brief side note, I have to give a shout-out to my good friend AutoStatic for describing his new video capture process using Xephyr and FFmpeg — I used it here, and the results look great. The audio was captured with JACK TimeMachine, and in another first for me, I edited it all together using the brilliant Kdenlive.