jjonas

I'm confused about pattern length and synchronization

7 posts in this topic

Hi,

 

I've recently completed an MBSEQv4 and I'm trying to teach myself to use it. What I've not understood this far is pattern length and sychronization. The user manual section on the Options menu gives some hints, but can't say I completely understand what it tells me about pattern synchronization.

 

I have a song where most of the patterns are 48 steps long, on G1T3, channel 3 (this far the whole song uses only one track and one channel). If I recall correctly how I first encountered the problem, in phrase mode all my patterns played fine individually, but in song mode they were changed each 16 steps. I found that altering the measure leghth in the options menu helped (I set it to 48 steps per measure). Now most of my patterns play fine also in song mode, but a few of my patterns are 72 steps long, and they seem to be forced to the uniform length of 48 steps per measure, so the 72 steps long pattern is cut short (judging from the running step position number on the right LCD. BTW the position indicator resets after 48 in phrase mode too, it just doesn't seem to affect how the pattern is played). And if I play just two patterns of different length, first 48 steps, then 72 steps, in a looped sequence, it doesn't play as I thought it would.

 

Is there a way to have patterns of different length play in song mode without being forced to a uniform measure, or do I just have to shorten all my patterns to something that all the pattern share, in this case 24 steps per measure? Lengthening shorter patterns with looping would be ok, but a longer pattern that cannot be looped (because the end part is different from the beginning part) would have to be cut into several separate patterns, and oversight becomes more difficult.

 

I think I tend to look sequencing from the tracker (ScreamTracker etc.) point of view, and thought that I can just make patterns of whatever length, save them, and put them one after the other, and they will be played as individual patterns in the sequence I have determined. Is there such an option with MBSEQv4, or some other way to solve the problem I have?

 

In case it's useful to know, my Options setting are as follows:

 

1/10: Track synchronisation steps per measure: 48

2/10: Pattern change sync change considered each 48 steps

3/10: Pattern change sync disabled

Options 4-7- disabled

8/10: Paste and clear button will modify only steps

9/10: Initial CC value for Clear and Init is 0

10/10 If Live function, matching received MIDI events will: Do nothing

 

EDIT: Or if I put the matter more concretely: If I have to patterns, A1 and A2, with A1 being 16 steps long and A2 being 8 steps long, how can I make them run in song mode so that A1's length is 16 steps and A2's length is eight steps (as I have determined and saved with each pattern), instead of the shorter pattern getting played twice?

 

I've tried to do this in practice, but not only does A2 get played twice, somehow also the A1 pattern gets messed up (not starting from the beginning) in the song mode, where song pos. A1 is [ G1 1:A1 x 1 ], pos. A2 is [ G1 1:A2 x 1 ] and pos. [ G1 1:A3 – Jump to A1]. Also step view shows the strange behaviour. Which setting do I have to change?

Edited by jjonas

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I remember that somebody else had similar problems, and we solved this with the "guide track" function.

In order to set a guide track, press the SELECT button in SONG page and change it with GP encoder 11 - this item is only visible in song mode, not in phrase mode.

 

The guide track will take over the control of the song step. E.g. if the selected guide track has a length of 72, the sequencer will switch to the next song position whenever these 72 steps (*loops) are processed.

 

Best Regards, Thorsten.

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Hi,

 

I tried this with the song I was working on, it worked, but today I tried to use it on another song where the setting was a bit different, and I failed to get it right, so I guess I don't really understand the concept of guide track; apparently there can be only one guide track per song? I did get the other song right in the end too, but I can't say I really understand why it started working. Could you explain a bit further what the "normal operation" of the MBseqv4 is, and how guide track changes that?

 

And could other people write about how they use dividers, track lenghts, measure, and make it all work together etc..? For a beginner that would be perhaps the most beneficial approach, and then when you've learned enough you can deepen your understanding with the manual, but for a beginner it's kind of tough to survive just based on the manual. I've read it and tried to look for the relevant sections for solving my problems, but I haven't really been able to see the big picture from all the details.

 

Apparently you can have lots of tracks with different lenghts & dividers run in parallel, but somehow they have to match the overall measure, right? What in your (=the people who use MBseqv4) opinion is the most sensible way to organise all that?

 

Thanks!

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Hi,

 

 

apparently there can be only one guide track per song?

 

yes

 

 

Could you explain a bit further what the "normal operation" of the MBseqv4 is, and how guide track changes that?

 

It's accurately explained in the ChangeLog:

 

  • Song Mode now provides a "Guide Track" which can be configured by pressing SELECT in SONG page: the length of this track defines the loop length and once the last loop has been played, all tracks will be synchronized to step 1.
    This allows to program breaks with a step length which is independent from the measure.
  • The "Guide Track" now synchronizes tracks and pattern changes independent from the "steps per measure" option

So, the guide track is nothing else than a "steps per measure" replacement for song steps.

The length of the guide track defines the loop length for the song position, and this gives you a high flexibility.

 

 

Apparently you can have lots of tracks with different lenghts & dividers run in parallel, but somehow they have to match the overall measure, right?

 

Yes.

Resp. if the guide track is used, they have to match with the length of this track (which defines the measure)

 

Best Regards, Thorsten.

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I think I get it now. I thought I'll summarise what I've learned below, I hope someone will find it helpful (and not mistaken :-)

I have two tracks, one 16 steps long and one four steps long. Measure (Options menu, 1/10) is set to 16.

G1T1|---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----|---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----|

 

G2T1|---- ---- ---- ----|

If there's no guide track, G1T1 will play to the end (all 16 steps) and then start from the beginning, while during that time G2T1 will repeat four times. If you set measure to 8, only the first half of G1T1 will get played before it starts from the beginning, and during this time G2T1 gets played twice.

 

If you then set guide track to G2T1, it will override the measure setting (Option menu, 1/10), and the loop length will be whatever is the length of G2T1 in the pattern that is being played. Let's say you have two patterns, 1:A1 and 2:A1, where all tracks (including G2T1) are 16 steps long. When these patterns are playing and guide track is set to G2T1, the loop will be started from the beginning after 16 steps, because that is the length of G2T1 in the pattern 2:A1 which is being played.

 

If your G2T1 was 20 steps instead of 16, G2T1 would – we're still assuming guide track is set to G2T1 – play to the end, all 20 steps, and then restart. Those tracks that are shorter, let's say 16 steps, will run their whole length, and then play the first four steps from the beginning of the track, at which point (16 + 4 = 20 steps) the guide track set to G2T1 will force all tracks to restart. This is what confused me in the beginning – that the other tracks will just restart from the beginning while the longer guide track will run its course (and once the guide track finishes, all tracks restart). I already thought I had gotten it working because my longer track was a bassline and the other tracks were drum stuff that were always the same, so I didn't notice that the drum tracks restarted from the beginning.

 

So let's say I wanted to have a 4-step-long drum break in the middle of "normal" 16 step tracks. The way this can be done is you set guide track to G2T1, the drum track (in my case). When G2T1 plays patterns that are 16 steps long, nothing special happens because all the other tracks are 16 steps long as well, so it works the same when you use Options menu to set the Measure to 16.

 

Here's what I have. A bassline track (G1T1, pattern 1:A1) which is 16 steps long, and a drum track (G2T1, pattern 2:A1) which is 16 also steps long.

 

G1T1 – 1:A1 |---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----|---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----|

 

G2T1 – 2:A1 |---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----|---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----|

 

After this sequence has played once, I want to have my four-step-long drum fill. For this I need two more patterns, one with my fill (2:A2) and the other (1:A2) with nothing in it:

 

G1T1 – 1:A2 |---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----|---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----|    (nothing on this track)

 

G2T1 – 2:A2 |---- ---- ---- ----|  (drum fill track)

 

The reason I need an empty track is that I just want the fill with no bassline in the background. Of course 1:A2 too could have something in the first four steps, and they would get played; anything coming after four steps would be left unplayed though, because it is G2T1 which is set as the guide track, so it determines how many steps in each pattern gets played.

 

The song sequencer, which plays different patterns in the order you've determined (along with other commands), would look like this:

 

Song   Pos   Actn   G1      G2

   1        A1      x1   1:A1     2:A1    <- these two patterns (1:A1 and 2:A1) are 16 steps long, and 2:A1 is the one that

                                                          determines measure.

   1        A2      x1   1:A2     2:A2    <- here 2:A2 is the determinant (G2T1 within it, to be exact), and it's irrelevant whether

                                                          1:A2 is 4 or 16 steps; only the first four will play. If 1:A2 was only two steps

   1        A3    Jump   ->   pos. A1       long, it would be played two times during the time 2:A2 plays through its four steps.

 

I now understand the flexibility of guide track, and I think it's more flexible than the tracker style implementation that I originally was looking for. Super! :-)

Edited by jjonas

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Thank you for this great explanation!

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I couldn't explain it better! :)

This thread is now linked to the user manual as an extension to the (too short) Guide Track introduction.

 

Best Regards, Thorsten.

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