Chapter 7 - Pattern Editor

 

Overview

The pattern editor lets you edit a pattern in depth. This is where the magic happens!

 

User interface

To select a pattern, tap on the selector at the bottom of the screen:

It will pop-up the following dialog box:

128 patterns are available. They can be listed:

Use the popup list on the top of the dialog box to select how you want the patterns to be listed. The listen checkbox enables or disables the playing of the selected pattern.

Once a pattern has been selected, you can edit its name in the Name field ; its color by tapping on the color selector ; or close the dialog box. The special Clone button copies the pattern currently edited to the selected position - useful when you want to quickly select a new pattern for creating a variation!

A pattern can contain up to 4 bars. You don't have to bother about the size of the pattern: if you enter notes only in the first bar, it will be considered as 1 bar long, if then you add notes in the second bar it will be considered as 2 bars long, and so on. To select the bar to edit, use the left/right arrows at the bottom right of the screen. The number indicates the bar currently edited.

The pattern editor provides indeed three different editors of 'views' allowing you to enter notes and to modify their parameters. In all these views, the X axis represents the (quantized) time, or rather a step index - the sequencer resolution being 8 ppq. Thus, the horizontal position determines the start time of the note ; the length determines the duration ; and the color indicates the instrument on which the note is played.

Piano Roll view.

In this view, the Y axis represents the pitch, shown on a piano keyboard.

You can change the note range by dragging the white keys (tap on a key, hold the pen on the screen and move it) or by using the octave up/down buttons

The instrument used when you add a note is specified by the popup list:

Grid view.

In this view, the Y axis represents the instrument number, ranging from 1 to 16.

You can use the command Cycle instr. group of the View menu to display the other instruments.

The Controllers view.

In this view, the Y axis represents the value of a given controller. Notes for which no controller is selected appears in the blank area at the bottom of the screen. When no controller is defined, the instrument settings specified in the instrument editors are used.

The first thing you have to learn about the pattern editor is the use of the toolbox on the left. The toolbox can be hidden. A tap on the left of the screen displays it. The first 4 icons lets you select a tool, and the last 3 ones lets you select the view.

To hide the toolbox, you can either tap on a tool already selected, or tap a few pixels at the right of the toolbox. There are however two exceptions to this rule. When you are in the Controllers view, a tap on the Controller View icon (the last one) does not hide the toolbox, but, rather, displays a popup list with all the controllers available. It is thus possible to select the controller to edit.

You think that aligning notes on a grid is too boring? Shuffle is not really what you need? The pre-delay parameter can help you! It delays the note by a given % of a 32th note (Demisemiquaver).

Also, spend some time experimenting with the Flam effect. It can be used to create interesting drum rolls or weird IDM beat / granular effects.

 

The second exception, occurs with the Draw notes tool. When you tap on this tool while it is already selected, a popup list showing different pre-defined rhythmic phrases is displayed:

If you select one of these command, the corresponding rythmic phrase is added to the existing pattern (the note used is C3, but an option is available in the preferences to use the root note of the selected instrument, rather than C3). The following screenshots shows you the effect of these commands (from top to bottom). The last command enables or disable the staccato. When Staccato is activated, the length of a note is always one step without regarding to the spacing between notes.

Staccato disabled
Staccato enabled

 

 

Tools

The following table sums up the behaviour and the use of the four tools:

  Piano roll view Grid view Controller view

 

Tap on a single object to select it.

Tap and drag anywhere except on an object to draw a rectangle and select all the objects it contains.

Tap and drag a non-selected object to move it.

Tap and drag a selected object to move the selection.

Tap to create a note with the instrument specified in the popup list at the bottom of the screen.

By default, the note has no controllers, except its velocity set to 80. If you drag the stylus, you can adjust the duration.

Tap to create a note.

By default, the note has the pitch C3, no controllers, except its velocity set to 80. If you drag the stylus, you can adjust the duration.

Note: an option is available in the preferences to use the root note of the selected instrument, rather than C3.

Tap to create a controller for all the notes present at the selected time.

If you drag the stylus, you can adjust the value of the controller.

Tap on a single non-selected note to erase it.

Tap in the selection to erase it.

Tap on a single controller to remove it, ie reset it to the default instrument settings.

Tap in the selection to reset it.

Tap on a single non-selected note and drag to adjust its duration.

Tap on a selected object to increase / decrease the duration of all the objects in the selection.

 

Menus

Create menu

Pattern Library... allows you to load, save (and delete) frequently used patterns. The pattern library is available from any song. The category selector at the top of the dialog box can be used to filter patterns by category, or to select a category for the pattern you want to save. The text field at the bottom is used to change the title of the pattern you want to save. The delete command is available from the menu.

This function will load/save only the pattern data (notes) - not the instruments or samples.

If you load a pattern which uses only one instrument (it is the case of most melodic patterns), it will be played with the currently selected instrument.

 

Record... In this dialog you can record a pattern by playing on an onscreen keyboard, or by using the buttons of your handheld. The recording can be performed in real time or step by step

Random notes brings the following dialog:

This function fills the current pattern with random notes.

Chords brings the following dialog:

This form lets you enter chords using standard notation, and creates these chords in the current pattern.

Here are a few examples using only the first bar:

Humanize randomly modifies the velocity and note pre-delay values of the selection to add a more human and natural feeling.

Randomize velocities randomly modifies the velocity values of the selection.

Parameter remap is an experimental function to change parameter values accross the pattern or the whole song. Feel free to experiment... Note: it shares common characteristics with the more official function Transform of the Automation editor.

Demix moves each instrument used in the current pattern to an individual pattern.

Mix patterns allows you to combine several patterns into one same pattern. Select from the list on the left the patterns you want to mix. The selected patterns will appear in the list on the right. They will be mixed together into the first pattern appearing on the right list. By default, all patterns involved in the mix - except the one containing the final result - are cleared. If you don't like this behaviour, you can check the Preserve original patterns box to prevent the patterns from being cleared.

A01, A02 and A03 will be mixed and the result will be put into A01. A02 and A03 will be cleared. A03, A04 and A05 will be mixed and the result will be put into A05. A03 and A04 won't be modified.

Ternarize adjusts the positions and durations of selected notes by a factor of 4/3, effectively transforming 3 semiquavers into a triplet:

 

Edit menu

Undo undoes the last edition operation on the current pattern. Note that when you switch from one pattern to another, the contents of the undo buffer is lost.

Revert undoes all the edition operations performed since the current pattern was selected. Note that when you switch from one pattern to another, the content of this undo buffer is lost.

Cut erases the selection after having copied it to the clipboard.

Copy copies the selection to the clipboard.

Paste pastes the content of the clipboard at the beginning of the current bar.

Paste in place pastes the content of the clipboard, preserving the position of the notes.

Delete simply erases the selection.

Select all selects all note.

Change instrument assigns to the selection the instrument currently selected in the popup list on the bottom left of the screen.

Toggle pattern break inserts or removes a pattern break mark at the position of the selected note. Use it when you need to use temporarily a 2/4 bar in a 4/4 song - or any other similar special case. The note to which the pattern break mark is attached is still displayed, so when you move this note, you move the pattern break mark.

Note: you might hear some clicks or glitches is some other notes starts at the same position as the note to which the pattern break mark is attached.

 

View menu

Cycle instr. group cycles between the display of instruments 1-16 and the others in the pattern editor.

Enable instr. mask locks all the notes played by other instruments than the currently selected one. All the edit operation will subsequently be applied only to the current instrument. The locked notes appear in a bright color. Use the Disable instr. mask command to disable this feature. The following example shows you the effect of the command Select All when inst.mask is enabled or disabled.

Scale. This dialog lets you select a scale. The notes from this scale will be highlighted in the piano roll view, while the other notes will have a grey background. The Snap to scale option constraints the notes to be added within the selected scale.

Note that when you generate random notes, the random notes are generated in the given scale provided the Snap to scale option is enabled.

 

The other menu items are common to the other editors and will be detailed later.

 

Even if it can seem tedious, spend some time to properly name your instruments and patterns. It is better to stay organized.

 

All contents and code © Olivier Gillet 2003-2006 - ol dot gillet at gmail dot com

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