The Oberheim Cyclone is a MIDI arpeggiatior
- MIDI clock and "Tapped Tempo" from footswitch
- 16 ROM and 16 RAM programs
- up to three arpeggios simultaneously
- Arpeggiated patterns can be cloned, transposed, repeated and inverted "rare Oberheim Cyclone MIDI arpeggiator, this is one of, if not the most advanced hardware arpeggiator ever produced. It interfaces with midi gear to create complex interactive musical patterns, it can be used as a master clock device, or slave to drum machines or a daw." Very hard to find.
The arpeggio (the notes of a chord played successively rather than simultaneously) has been used in music since the 17th century, beginning life as a form of chordal embellishment at a time when music was shifting from modal polyphony to tonal harmony, and subsequently becoming a more integral part of the melodic content and the texture of Classical and Romantic music. On a more mundane level, arpeggios now rank alongside scales as an established test of manual dexterity in instrument grade exams.
In contrast, the introduction of the electronic arpeggiator took arpeggios out of the physical and into the electronic realm. All you have to do is hold down the required notes on the keyboard and the arpeggiator cycles round them for you at a pre-determined tempo. Typically these notes are played in order of pitch (up, down, up and down or at random), but some arpeggiators can arpeggiate the notes in the order in which they are played. Couple this with the fact that any selection of notes can be arpeggiated and it's clear that the arpeggiator takes you beyond the traditional concept of arpeggios into a form of "performance sequencing" - an interesting example of how what starts out as an electronic emulation of a "natural" process can take on a life of its own.
OPERATING CYCLONE IS carried out from nine low-profile buttons on the front panel. Eight of these do double duty in Play and Edit modes, while the ninth acts as Play/Edit mode selector. In Play mode, you have buttons controlling Clone on/off, Cycle on/off, Manual Control and Record/Hold. A Clone (hence Cyclone) consists of the notes you've recorded and/or are playing "live" from the keyboard; the term refers to the fact that Cyclone makes a copy of these notes which it can then process according to all the parameter values you've set. In many cases this involves real-time processing of incoming notes - no mean feat.
There are three methods of recording sequences into Cyclone: Recorded Rhythm, Pulse and Live Trigger. The first is familiar real-time sequence recording. Pressing the Clone and Record/Hold buttons places Cyclone in a record-ready state; you can now trigger recording either by starting to play on your keyboard or by pressing Record/Hold again. Your playing can be quantised on recording to any resolution from crotchets to 96ths (triplet 32nd notes, or MIDI clock resolution) including triplet values. Drum machine-style recording is possible with Add recording enabled and an appropriate End Beat specified.
Cyclone will handle everything from straightforward arpeggios to "systems" rhythms to New Age-ish synth loops to dislocated dance rhythms to out-and-out free improvisation.