I was wondering if having a series of 16 step sequencers can power any song in 4/4 time. Since 16 steps = 1 measure. Let's say I take some classical sheet music, could it be converted to a series of 16 step sequence patterns?

  • 1
    What do you mean by any song? Are you only considering classical / notateable music? I imagine you're not including rap and noise music etc.
    – awe lotta
    Dec 22, 2019 at 5:56
  • Also, can you disable some of the steps so that it has a shorter duration, like only using 15 out of the 16 step sequencers? That might open up some rhythmic possibilities, since 16 is only divisible by powers of 2, whereas 15 is divisible by 3 and 5.
    – awe lotta
    Dec 22, 2019 at 5:59
  • @awelotta anything that can be notated with sheet music, can you transform it to a series of 16 step sequencer patterns?
    – user34288
    Dec 22, 2019 at 6:29

2 Answers 2


Assuming the only sequencer you have access to is a 16-step sequencer, the answer is no: you cannot play absolutely any song with a 16-step sequencer without losing precision the moment you want to play triplets.

An example of a piece in 4/4 time that uses triplets is Franz Schubert's Impromptu Op. 90 No. 1 (D. 899/1) in C Minor. (Even worse, Schubert assigns 8th-note triplets in the left hand against dotted 8th note-16th note patterns in the right hand at several points in this piece.)


Today's sequencers (if not the ones that are trying to emulate 1970s technology!) typically have a timing granularity of 256 or more 'clicks' per quarter-note. No-one complains TOO much about this being insufficient to express their music!

But 16 clicks per measure is WAY too little. Even 16 clicks per beat can't cope with a simple triplet.

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