Tag Archives: Orchestral Sound

Using Sequencers to Reproduce Orchestral Sound

Canadian musician Yves Frulla is an accomplished accompanying keyboardist and synthesizer programmer. He has worked with many acclaimed pop and rock artists, including Celine Dion. In addition to accompanying her on the keyboard, he is also responsible for arranging her music.

Many musicians record songs for albums with live orchestral instrumentation. However, live orchestras do not necessarily translate well to shows and concerts and therefore, much of the music must be readapted or reproduce to fit these different environments. Arrangers are responsible for taking the arrangement originally done for records with live orchestras and adapting those to a live environment with sequencers and synthesizers.

A sequencer is a tool that specifies parameters for which notes to play, how long to hold them, and how loudly or softly to play them. A synthesizer generates sound either by being played directly by a keyboardist or based on instructions from a sequencer. Since it is impossible to play every part in an orchestra on a single synthesizer with just two hands, arrangers sequence those parts of the music which are not as prominent (usually lower parts such as double bass or cellos) and live play the upper parts, which are more exposed and melodic. Using a combination of synthesizers and sequencers, a keyboardist can play the entire range of an orchestra at the same time.