An arpeggiator is a tool/feature available in some hardware synthesizers and also in software form, which allows the user to play alternating notes or chords automatically based on input, most often from a midi controller. An electronically created arpeggio. Arpeggiation is also available in some sequencer software and virtual instruments.
Arpeggiators range from simple preset up and down patterns to complex & user controllable patterns.
Arpeggiator patterns are particularly popular in Techno and Dance music, but actually date back to the earliest of analog synthesizers.
Arpeggiators are also available in more sophisticated forms such as the Interactive Phrase Synthesizer (ISP for short) feature in Steinberg's Cubase software sequencer programs. Many enhanced options are available for the tweaker with the ISP feature allowing the programming of complex chords and patterns.
If you've ever played with an arpeggiator you know it's a lot of fun to noodle around with and can inspire some truly original ideas, not to mention the ability to enable musicians of all skill levels to play some complex patterns that may even be impossible to accomplish without the aid of arpeggiation.
Some products such as the Emu Xtreme Lead-1 synthesizer allow multiple simultaneous arpeggiators to do their thing all the same time. This can be a mind boggling experience. Other keyboards like the Kawaii K5000S synthesizer have a load of presets (over 40!) with all types of variations. Hot tip - you can pick up this monster synth cheap second hand.
The K5000s has lots of knobs, including a powerful arpeggiator.
It is particularly powerful to record the patterns as midi data into a sequencer and edit the notes to taste.
We've assembled some links with helpful info on ARPEGGIATORS so you can get a better idea of what is available.
Sweet Midi Arpeggiator - a virtual software arpeggiator for Windows. $20. Shareware. Many user adjustable options with the capability to sync externally. Very cool. Also available is Sweet Midi Harmony Maker, an intelligent midi pitch shifter that allows harmonization of single notes. Also way cool. 30 day fully functional demos are available for download.
AnalogX AudioArpeg - a Direct X Arpeggiator for audio. Yes, you read right - audio arpeggiation! Also available from AnalogX is a MIDI arpeggiator called Arpeg. Freeware.
Koblo Vibra 1000 - a free Mac software synthesizer with a built in Arpeggiator.
Map 1 Midi Arpeggiator - hardware add on mini sized box with loads of patterns and rhythmic possibilities. MSRP $159. US
Arp X-8 8 independant layers - midi software arpeggiator with midi file record and export. $24.95 US
MidiOz Arp Lite - free software arpeggiator. Also pro version available for $56. US.
Web based ARPEGGIATOR - select a few options and it'll render an arp pattern.
Arping on - VST MASTERCLASS - Computer Music's "how to" on arpeggiating in Cubase VST.
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