History of Trig Conditions

I’m writing a research paper about a M4L device that extends Ableton’s native sequencer with Elektron-style trig conditions.

From what I know, trig conditions were first introduced to the Keys/Four and Rytm with OS 1.22 in 2016. I’m hoping to learn more about the history and development of these concepts. Was Elektron the first to implement a MIDI sequencer with trig conditions?

Also, I’d like to hear about any other notable implementations of these concepts (both software and hardware).

Thanks in advance!

Nanoloop had “step mute” which is somewhat similar to trig conditions, although I don’t know exactly what version/year it first appeared, it does not have % but x/x type.

I was a beta tester for Elektron back in the day, and in 2011 I asked for trig conditions for Octatrack on the old forum and direct to HQ, although it did not appear on Octatrack until around 2017 IIRC. I believe it was implemented in A4 and AR in v1.22 in 2016 as you said above.

Edit: Here is the link, number 3 in the list.



Father Trig!


Thanks for the link!

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I had a trig condition when I was 4, had to go to the hospital.

Sorry I’m no help :confused:


I saw your DM but might as well reply here. Here’s the story :cowboy_hat_face:

The firmware developers were working on adding probability to the Rytm and Four sequencers, an oft-requested feature at the time. Now, I’m not a fan of probability, but I adore nanoloop (as mentioned by Darenager above) and I believe version 2.7 for the GBA introduced step pause (trigger every nth pattern loop)

Naturally I suggested that this should be added as well as it made sense conceptually - I remember Olle strongly supporting this addition too as he had used similar sequencing methods in modular systems.

After some explaining and nagging the developer working on it decided to put in the x:y functionality and at the same time figured it would be neat to be able to trigger depending on logical conditions such as trigger on 1st, if last step triggered, other tracks etc.

It was really nice to see how much fun he had with it in the end, and it really gave the feature a lot of depth. :slight_smile:

So yeah, much respect to Oliver Wittchow (the creator of nanoloop) for being a huge source of inspiration. No idea where this type of sequencing logic was first introduced, although I would guess in some archaic Atari sequencer. :smiley:

On another note, I think Teenage Engineer had a really clever take on sequencer logic on the OP-Z, being able to stack multiple conditions and have them affect not only triggers but parameter locks as well.

EDIT: step pause was introduced in nanoloop 2.7, but seems to have been a feature adopted from the iOS/Android version: nanoloop 2.7 (Page 1) - Nintendo Handhelds - Forums - ChipMusic.org


You and me both. But I love conditional trigs! I lean heavily on these and it seems to be somewhat unique to Elektron. The X:Y feature especially. I think that new-ish Korg sequencer has something close to it but companies seem to cram probability in over conditionals.

I think it’s partly due to how it’s easier to understand what probability does in a sequencer as well as being easier to implement. I wouldn’t say it’s unique to Elektron, there’s plenty of hardware and software that can do this sort of sequencing - but Elektron definitely got the most recognition for it.

Kind of like how parameter locks existed on the Xbase09 before the Machinedrum. :wink:
(Although the implementation and UX wasn’t nearly as smooth…)


led me down a hole that ended up here:
more mad people need to make artistic tools with no formal education of the art form, it’s where the magic happens.


Yeah x/x over probability any day, maybe I’m (we are) just a control freak :laughing:


I’m not fan of probability because it adds a random factor to getting a good take. I would be interested in deterministic probability though. Like, each time you start the sequencer you get the same random trigs. Specifically I mean reusing the random number generator seed. I would also be interested in different types of random distributions. I digress.


I’m intrigued. Is this M4L device conceptual, in existence or in progress?

This is fantastic. Thank you @Ess!

Really interesting to get a peek into the history there.

It exists. Available for public download in December. There were a few tweaks to the Live API with the last major version release that made the work more feasible.

The one wall I ran up against with the API is in regards to handling clip deletion. The M4L device needs to know when a clip on its track is deleted, but there’s no API facility for observing this action. The only workaround I can think of is incredibly cumbersome, so, I may have to add one awkward UI element for the user to tell the device that clips have been deleted …

But, otherwise, it works and notes can be conditioned with both % chance and/or an interval like 1st or A:B.

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…and i love overall probality…to me, it’s THE most basic and uberobvious conditional option of all…
close to follow by the FILL conditions…

and whatever ableton is doing in this direction via a “little” help from max…
and no matter what conditional trigs all can do in swedish hardware…
the most clever implementation of all this conditional concept happened with bitwigs new concept of operators…there u can have it ALL what conditional options can do instantly and most easily…

but i also witnessed the moment at elektron office berlin, when the idea came up, what if there would be different conditions for conditions… :wink:
and ooops…bitwigs operators even cover that at some first additional next level of thinking music…
it’s neverending…

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Excellent news! I have to admit, I’ve done very little in Live as regards alternative sequencers but it’s an area that is very intriguing and one which I intend to spend a lot more time investigating next year

Part of my goal in this project was to keep everything in the Ableton sequencer.

So, that way you still have all the benefits of session view MIDI sequencing. Some fun can be had with trig conditions and follow actions.

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…down a dusty side alleyway in downtown Gothenburg, the unwary traveller will hazard upon the darkened windows of the Museum of Trig Conditions…

probability is really fun for improvisational work whereas x:x conditions are more useful for structured out pieces. Its really fun to improvise with a 16 step loop with hats/perc that doesn’t always play exactly the same way especially when playing with other instruments and individuals. helps keep things from feeling too stagnant.


Ha - that’s amazing! I had assumed it would be a standalone sequencer that operated as an alternative to Live’s standard one.