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Midi Sequence Generator

MSG Entrance page


Midi Sequence Generator
By Matucana
Released as FREEWARE MARCH 2001

A member of the the Atari-Midi Mailing list pointed me in the direction of Matucana's Web site where he descibes his Software called MSG (Midi Sequence Generator) for the Atari platform (see below for the link) I contacted him, informing him of the Atari-Midi Mailing List where Atari is still very much alive. Needless to say, he joined, and then produced for the group a new version of his program as well as taking out the shareware code thus releasing it as FREEWARE to the Atari-Midi Community. See below for the DOWNLOAD link.

This is a very unique program as it seems it is many programs in one application. For example, you can generate files algorithimically from within the program without loading in a file. You can also import your own midi files for modification.You can take a Picture ( a Degas or Pic file) and transform it into music. You can take any TXT file and transform That into music. It also has a drum pattern generator, a transform module much like Cubase transform. Also a very nice feature of transforming your own midi events into the style akin to Steve Reichs Drumming, which has to be heard to be appreciated. There is more also, but you have to read the manual. Note also: this is not really a "real-time application, although you can play a sequence from within the program. It is meant to be an addition to your present sequencer with functions not normally present in most sequencers.

I think anyone can have fun with this program. You don't have to go into all the screens, you can just work on one section at a time and see what is generated.

Some features to generate :

Generate sequences with random, lissajous, sine, math or fractal
functions independently in pitch, velocity, and length
Unsuual arpeggios
Weighting of values for pitch, velocity, and length possible
Generate sequences from the graphical display of any file
Transform a text into morse code
Drum pattern editor with eight independent and editable instruments
Graphical input of midi notes
Midi standard file interface
All sequences can be modified, e.g. with:
Multi-copy with transposition
Legato function (keep note length or note position)
Matrix transformation
Add, multiply, logical (x)or, sort
Vary according to Steve Reichs "Drumming"
MUSINUM Module: generate sequences in the same fashion as Lars Kindermann's Music In the Numbers (MusiNum) application for PC.

The Make screen also showing the different modules available


The Make Module

Tim Conrardy

When you first open MSG you are presented with the MAKE module. A lot of interesting music can be generated with this one module.

1.First decide how many events you want to generate. The dialog at the lower left determines this. For the sake of this tutorial, left click into the box until it reaches 50 events. A right click will decrease this mount.

2.Next, decide how many midi channels will be used. The next dialog over allows you to input this data. Select 1 to 6. This function is similer to the YAMAHA TX81Z parameter of ALTERNATE mode.It will alternate the notes between the midi channels. You can use up to 16 channels to alternate notes.

3.You will see MAKE devided into 3 sections: PITCH,VELOCITY, and LENGTH. Lets look at PITCH

4.At the top you can see LOWER LIMIT and UPPER LIMIT. This dialog allows you to set limits to the pitch distribution when MAKE generates a sequence. The default is C2 to C5. This gives a good range to work with. Just keep as is for now.(or change it if you want )

5.Next you will see MODE. Clicking into this box, you can scroll thru many Modes already set up for you. These are the scales of pitches that MAKE will use when generating sequences. The default is Minor/eolic/asawari.For the sake of this tutorial, scroll to penta major 1.

6.Below the MODE dialog is KEY. You can select the root key the sequence will be generated. For the sake of this tutorial, left click untill you change it to the key of D. This means our pentatonic major scale will be in the key of D.

7.Below KEY is a graphic of the scale being used. Clicking into THAT will bring up another dialog allowing tou to edit the scale and save it into 6 presets. For now, click on cancel. You can explore this later.

8.Below the scale graphic is a dialog for EDIT PROBAB TABLE. Clicking into that will present the table used for pitch generation. This is an advanced sub module. Referance the manual for this. For now, leave it alone, just as long as you know it is there for further exploration.Click on Cancel.

9.Next we come to FUNCTION. The default is RANDOM. Clicking into RANDOM, you will see many more possabilities.(melody, math,arpeggio,fractal, ect)Reset it to RANDOM.

10. Below that are the PARAMETER tables.This is used for the Function generator.

11. Finally we come to ENV or ENVELOPE parameters which allow more control over upper an lower limits.Clicking into EDIT ENVELOPE brings you to a graphic dialog where you can graphically change the envelope settings. See chap 4 of the manual for more explanation. For now select Cancel. You know it is there now.

12.Looking at the VELOCITY and LENGTH sections we can see the same type of parameters used in PITCH, with a few parameters left out. For now, keep the values the same as the default (of course you can change them if you want)

13 We now come to the point of creating a sequence. To do this simply hit RETURN (not ENTER )The dialog at the bottom right : SEQUENCE: will now show 50 of 256.

The Make screen also showing the different modules available

14. Next, lets hear something of what it sounds like. Hit F1. You are switched to the EDITOR which resembles Steinbergs pro24 editor.Click on the PLAY button. You will now hear the sequence play. Nice heh? It might sound different when exported to a real sequencer however. Click on PLAY again to stop it, or simply hit the SPACE BAR on the computer keyboard.

15. Now lets save it as a midi file. Hit CONTROL F, and the file selector comes up for you to name your file. Name it PENTA1.MID. MSG goes thru the creating writing process. When it stops, you see the writing dialog still on the screen. Hit ALT M to get back to the Make Module.You could also select it from the menu under PROCESS.

16. Lets create another sequence. Chamge the mode in the Pitch window. Try changing other parameters. Remember, this program is to experiment with different possabilities, so now you can try things out. Once done, hit RETURN. You are presented with another dialog with choices to merge or insert. To start a NEW sequence, select DELETE OLD, and the parameters you just set will replace the previous selections.

The Display screen

17. Hit F1 again and play back your sequence, then save it as a midi file as before. To have another View of your sequence, hit F2. You are presented with a graphical view of the generated events. Selecting AXIS DISPLY will bring up a dialog so you can change how the events are displayed. For now just select OK.The ALT-M to get back to the MAKE screen.

18. Keep on generating new sequences until you have several midi files. then QUITE MSG by hitting ALT Q. (or from the menu under process)

19. Now boot up your sequencer program and load one of your sequences generated from MSG. It will sound a little different, but still interesting. Using the tools in your sequencer develop the MSG generated sequences(or several MSG sequences) into a larger piece.

20. One suggestion is to load many MSG sequences into KCS Omega Open Mode and play the sequences right from the QWERTY keyboard.

21.Last but not least: have FUN. Try also going into the other modules in MSG, the MIDI SEQUENCE GENERATOR

MSG Tricks


First of all, it would be helpful to first go to SEQ/PARA on the menu item and select GLOBAL. Here you can set your Data Path, which is the folder called MSG4 (which contains example files that are MSG specific). Next is the Midi File Path. I suggest creating a folder before booting MSG in the same DIR as MSG called MIDIFILE. Then when you go to GLOBAL, select that path. OH...select the path by clicking into the field. Next, you can set the screen saver settings to your liking, or turn it off. You can also set up defaults for Midi Clicks per quarter note and auto select functions. Most important is the MAXINUM NUMBER OF EVENTS. Hit CONTROL on the qwerty keyboard and then left click into the feild. A dialog comes up where you can now enter a number. Enter in 0 (zero). MSG will then give all available memory you have on your machine to the maximin number of events available. Next, Click into SAVE and the settings are saved. Then click into TAKE IT, and you are back to the MAKE module.

By the way: The CONTROL/CLICK trick you can use on any dialog in MSG to change a number in a feild.


When the program first opens up you are presented with the MAKE module. Here are some discoveries I have found out.

1.Go to the Pitch section and select under MODE : "PENTA MINOR I "scale
2.Now just press RETURN. At the Right bottom of the screen you see how many events you have generated. It should say 32 of xxx.
3.Now press RETURN Again! a dialog comes up on" how would you like to proceeed?" Select MERGE TO PONT. The default Point setting is 1/1/0. This is the beginning of the sequence.
Normally I would select DELETE OLD if I want to generate a brand new sequence, but in this case, I want to merge a second round of events on TOP of the first set of events generated.
4.Once you selected it, it calculates the events generated and brings you back to the MAKE screen.You now have 64 events.
5.Press RETURN again and MERGE TO POINT again! You are creating a intricate pattern by layering events on top of events. You have now generated 96 events.
6. Lets hear what we have done so far. Press F1 on the qwerty keyboard. You are now in the EDITOR and can see the events generated as a graph in the same fashion as the Pro24 edit screen.Then press PLAY. Sounds cool heh? When done listening press the space bar. then ALT-M. This brings you back to the MAKE module. Now press CONTROL-F, and you can now save what you have created as a midi file using the file selector.
6. Lets MODIFY what we have done.
Go to PROCESS on the menu and select ORNAMENT. You are presented with a dialog. Click into HARMONIC SHIFT. (we will just use the default values) Then ALT-M to get back to the make Module. You now have 96 Events generated. Hit F1, and have a listen to it from the editor by clicking play. It changed heh? Sounds more in a minor key. . Hit ALT-M to go back to the MAKE module.Then CONTROL-F to save the midi file.

Of course, you can change and alter any of the settings on the way with what we have done so far, so I leave it to you to experiemnt, but the above method gives a way to create some intricate patterns using MSG.

The Display screen

A new feature just implemented by Matucana is the MUSINUM module which incorporates the sames ideas presented in Lars Kindermann's Music In the Numbers (MusiNum) application for PC. As a matter of fact, the Manual for Lars's program can be used to make use of this module. You can set up many tracks generating at the same time as well as custom scales setups. The differance between the two programs is that Lars' application is Realtime, while Matucana's is not. However the same results can be obtained.


Download MSG

Download MSG Manual

MSG Revision History

Fractal Image creator by Matucana

For more MSG Files, tutorials and information Go HERE. You will need to be an Atari-MIDI forum member in order to access these files. See Forums(above)

The MSG File section

MSG was Application of the Month at Atari-Midi for March 2001 and this is where we uploaded our experiments as well as Midi files and Tutorials.

Here is the MSG homepage:

The MSG HOME page of Matucana

There is a good description and more screen shots.

My suggestion is to make a nice manual for MSG. Go to this site, print all the MSG material, including the snap shot page. Copy the MSG pic from the site, and paste it on a Word Doc, so you have a cover page. Then export the TXT file from the MSG docs to Word (or whatever) and put it all in a nice binder. This keeps everything together. Also print out the Tutorials and have them available in the binder as well.

MSG is an excellent addition to any sequencer. You can even run it as an MPE addition in KCS (using the MAKE MPE utility provided in the KCS4.ZIP. See KCS Omega Page)This enables you to create some sequences in MSG, then quite MSG and you are taken right to the KCS track screen so you can open the MSG generated files from there to audition them properly and also assemble them into a larger piece.

Conclusion: MSG can be VERY ADDICTING as the real MSG (in chinese food:-) very tasty indeed!