Dave Smith Sequential

If you see Dave Smith trending a bit, don’t worry — nothing’s wrong with the synth pioneer and founder of Sequential.

Instead many musicians are making video tributes (the only kind we can at present) to the Sequential founder and co-creator of the MIDI standard on the occasion of his 70th birthday.

Sequential was involved in a huge number of landmark breakthroughs in synthesizer technology, chief among them the release of the first programmable polyphonic synth (the Prophet-5). Smith conceived of the synthesizer on a more holistic level than mere conduits for sound generation. The Prophet-5 as well as Sequential’s early sequencers were built with the microprocessors which were then enabling startling advances in microcomputers that were just beginning to take over our desktops.

Even more pivotal, Smith and Chet Wood worked with Roland founder Ikutaro Kakehashi on creating a standardized protocol for networking instruments and other kit. It was released as the MIDI protocol and enabled the future gold rush of electronic hardware design.

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Sequential later went under, and Smith founded Dave Smith Instruments in the early 2000s. In 2015, in an unprecedented move, Yamaha handed Smith the trademarks to Sequential and the Prophet back to Smith, and in 2018 Dave Smith Instruments took back the name.

In response to the birthday wishes, Smith posted this video in gratitude:

Photo via sequential.com.