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The Intelligent Sequencer

RealTime Main Screen

The Intelligent Sequencer

After "M" was produced and ported over to the St platform by Eric Ameres, Eric decided to take some of the Ideas of "M" and "UpBeat" with his ideas of an "Interactive Multitasking environment" and developed "RealTime", the Intelligent Sequencer.
This is the "Definitive Algorithmic Sequencer" for the experimental midi composer.

Eric Ameres, the original programmer of RealTime has given permission to have RealTime as Freeware. Thankyou Eric! See below for the Link.

The manual is now available on Simon Kunath's site (Unstable Sounds) See the Link below.Simon scanned the Entire manual as JPEGS and made one large Zip out of it! (8.6 megs)Thanks Simon. Just drop the JPEGS into MS Word or whatever other format you have that acccepts JPEGs, and print it. It is 150 pages however.Funny how the actual program is less then 500K and the manual is 8Megs!


Eric Ameres would like to share credits with Tony Widoff and John Offenhartz for Mac UpBeat's design influence and for helping solidify and refining many of the concepts in RealTime.

In return for letting the Atari Midi World have RealTime for free, Eric is asking those who use it, to mail him thier compositions. Midi files as well as MP3's will be very much appreciated. To be honest, I would love to hear some as well!Also if you use M, he would like to hear what you do with that application as he was responsable for the port from the Mac to the ST.(see my "M" page) See below for his email address.

System Requirments:

RealTime will work on All St's: 520, 1040St, Ste, TT030 and Falcons.It works in ST medium res, however works best in ST HI res. It will also work under GENEVA multitasking system for some cool 3D windows and such. The more memory you have the better as tracks are Unlimited and only dependant on available memory.

When I asked Eric what his general concept on RealTime was and what he was trying to achieve, he replied with the following:

" Hmmnn... I just thought it would be cool to do ;-)

Actually, RealTime grew out of Intelligent Music's UpBeat for the Mac. I started doing a liberal "port" like I did with M, but along the way, I figured why not add the features necessary to make it what I considered to be a full blown sequencer. That's why it has so much in common with drum machine programming. I'm not extensively trained in technique and composition, so I tend to take a very hands on approach to composition. I also like to look at a lot of things at once, so that's why the editor works the way it does, rather than as a piano roll which is what everyone else was doing.

The fact that it was all real-time just came out of my programming habits. I found a (reasonably) reliable way to get stuff to happen within the interrupt architecture of the ST, so the processing was effectively interrupt driven multi-threading, rather than the round-robin multi-tasking the GEM could sort of do.

I'm also a huge GUI fan, which is why I didn't go the DR T's interface route.

As for background, I actually wrote/ported M while finishing college,RealTime followed shortly after that. "

Eric Ameres February 2000

RealTime was the first "multitasking " sequencer that allowed you to do functions while the sequencer was running. You can even run another program in the background, or type a letter while listening to RealTime play music. "MROS" then followed with Stienbergs Cubase along with the MPE of Dr T's KCS. (see my KCS and Cubase pages)

The main structure of RealTime is: First you can construct a Section. A Section can also be an Imported midi file (type 1 or 0). This would be the equivalent of a Pattern or an Arrangment (in Cubase terms). The Sections can be built into a SONG and the whole thing can be saved as a "workspace" with seperate libraries for Sections and Songs.The whole thing can also be saved as a Midi file. It also has an "M" like recording function in that you can click and change things while the music is playing and it will record your movements as a "movie" which in reality is a Midi file. That is where the "interactive "part comes in.

When you first open the program you are presented with the default Section and the Transport bar. (Movie,play, forward and record) If you Right click into the screen,a tool bar presents itself with tools for Inputing notes,changing durations,erasing,Looping,Inserting patch changes,selecting regions and Moving notes.
At the Top left is a display showing current Pitch,velocity, and Duration . Below to the right are settings for VIEW which include: Main,Pitch,Velocity,Velocity Percentage,Bond,Midi,Time, Articultion,Articulation Percentage, and Fills. These are actaully seperate screens with commands and actions of thier own.

Going further to the right are dispalys and settings for Tempo, Section length(bar settings),Quantize controls for view and recording,a bar beat counter,mode display selections, selections for Continuous controller views and editing, and Preset velocity and articulation values.These can be acessed with the function keys as well: F1 thru F5 are the Velocity presets, F6 thru F10 are the Articulation presets.

Also by RIGHT clicking while pressing the HELP key on a function you would like to know about, you will GET HELP! A dialog box comes up explaining the function. A very cool feature.

I am also happy to report that RealTime works now in Steem, the Atari Emulator for PC. Please see my Steem page for information on Steem.

RealTime Fill Screen

Doing a recording in RealTime: Tutorial

1. First go to VIEW and select MIDI VIEW. Then decide how many tracks you want to start with. Clicking into a NEW TRACK creates a new track .Set up what midi channels you want for each track.For example, set track one for midi channel 1, track two for Midi channel 2, ect. You can also set up a program change here if you want, along with a Volume level.Go back to MAIN View. To change a setting, click into the field, and drag the mouse up or down. (Up to increase value, Down to decrease value)

2. Right click into TRACK , hit backspace and erase what is there and input a Name for the track such as PIANO. Press Enter.

3. Select how many Bars you want to record on in the Bar (section)length dialog.

4. From the Top Menu select CHANNEL and choose which Midi channel you want to record on. Example: midi channel One.

5. Select the "IR" in the transport bar so it is highlighted. Now hit the Spacebar, or PLAY on the transport bar, and begin playing your midi keybrd.Play to the end of the bar settings you had established. You will see your performance as actual note names on the screen.You will notice your music is looping. You can also add notes with the Mouse with the INPUT TOOL.

6. Continue to Track two doing the same procedure starting on step 4, until you complete a "pattern. No need to stop the recording process.This is RealTime recording!

7. Now that you have something inputed as "raw data",the fun can begin! On the track editor menu you have TRACKS, an Icon for MUTING,and icon for PROTECTING (or locking) and an icon for FILL.On one of your tracks click in the FILL bar. You now should see a fill pattern within the bar.You should now hear some variations in your music. Next go to VIEW and selecting the FILL view. Experiment with the settings and see what effect it has on the music.Try a FOLLOW setting of 7, a TRN setting of 5 and a DIV setting of 4 for some cool effects.

8.Go to VIEW and select the other views experimenting with different settings. For example: you can go to the PITCH view and change the ordering of the notes.

9. For adding Controller Information such as Panning, Pitch bend, ect, you can do it Graphically by: Going to ALL TRACKS which is the Continuous Controller menu.Select what you want. for example: Panning Information. Select CONTROLS. The Box below CONTROLS is for selecting the controller number. Panning is controller number 10.Click into the box and drag mouse to produce the number 10. The current track will be soloed and a window below it appears. Move the mouse into the window, and it turns into a cross-hair curser. Go ahead and Draw in your panning curves by right clicking and HOLDING the mouse while you draw.Pretty cool stuff.

10. To stop the music,hit the SPACE BAR, or PLAY on the Transport bar.

11. Go to the menu and select SAVE ALL AS. The file selector appears and you can enter a file name for your piece. You will see the name on the SONG EDITOR window. You could also go to LIBRARY(on the menu) and save just the section for later recall into a SONG.

12. Go to the SONG EDITOR and RIGHT CLICK on the section name (at this point it is section 0.) A dialog comes up for you to name your Section (or pattern) Do so. Example : Pattern1.

13. Next, go to LIBRARY(on the menu) and select NEW SECTION.(or hit "Control N") a dialog comes up for you to name your new section. Do So. Example Pattern2. Press ENTER. PATTERN2 section appears ready for new data. Repeat step 1 thru step 9 so you have a new section (or pattern)

14. Notice you now have Two sections in the SONG EDITOR. Click on the Song editor. By clicking on the 3rd coloumn (A. B) you can play these sections in any order you want. By double clicking on the section name, the section Editor window is opened for that section.

15. For an example of this tutorial, and to load other RealTime files: go to FILE
and select REPLACE WORKSPACE, and select TIMEREAL.RTW. (or another RTW file)

16 DEVICES: I am still trying to understand this concept.An Example:For percussion, choose Channel 10 from the Menu under channel, select OPEN.A Piano Roll grid appears. Now go to FILE on the menu and Load DEVICE. The Item selector appears. Go to the Device folder and select for example MT32R.RTD.This is the device for using an MT32 for drum sounds. Once selected the MT32 drum "map" is seen in the Grid editor. You can click in the grid, and you will hear the drum sounds being auditioned. The grid is (I believe) for creating Rhythms that will be played for that channel . Here is what Eric says about RealTime Devices:" RealTime devices are tricky to explain. It's really to set up steps that will be referenced from the real edit window. Thats why sometimes you enter real notes and sometimes you enter step numbers in the main editing window (which references the steps in the piano style grid). It makes for some pretty powerful rhythmic editing and algorithmic variation possabilities. You can set up a rhythm and then swap sounds in and out without regard for keyboard setups, keyboard assignments, ect. You can also swap chord progressions, basslines, ect, completely independent of rhythm as well."


Sometimes I start a composition in Cubase or Dr T's Omega II.Then I save it as a midi file and open RealTime, go to menu and IMPORT MIDI FILE AS SECTION. Then once that is in RealTime, I can play with all the algorithmic tools RealTime has to offer.Then EXPORT SECTION AS MIDI FILE to bring back into Cubase, or whatever, or just keep it as is. There is so much to this program, that I am just really beginning.In learning RealTime, I am without a Manual, but with the Help Option and just clicking and experimenting, you can find out things for yourself which is the best way anyway.


  • Download RealTime, The Intelligent Sequencer

    The RealTime manual is now in PDF format thanks to Simon Kunath of Unstable Sounds.It is a 7.83M download, but well worth it.

  • Download the RealTime manual

    Email Eric Ameres with your RealTime and M Compositions

  • Visit Erics current site