Join Matt Piper for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating pattern-based sequences, part of Up and Running with Reason 8.
- If you're producing electronic music, pattern-based sequences can be a great way to get the sound that you're looking for. In this project, all I've done so far is, I've loaded an instance of Thor, and I did a search for 303, because I was looking for a TB 303-type of sound. I found this CZ 303. For you synth geeks out there, you may be correctly thinking that they have used phase modulation synthesis à la the Casio CZ series of synthesizers from the 80s in their creation of this TB 303-inspired patch, (electronic thrum) which sounds like that.
Okay. So, instead of playing in a sequence with a keyboard, or drawing one in, I'm going to use a step-based sequencer. I'm going to go to Utilities, and I have here this Matrix Pattern Sequencer. I'm going to drag this in, right under Thor. If I flip the rack around, you'll see that this has Auto routed to send the note and gate information that Thor will need to know what notes are being played.
By default, there is already a very basic sequence in here, (fast electronic pulse) and, as you can see, it's using 16 steps, which is actually half of what can be displayed on the screen at one time. This can go up to 32 steps. But I think it'll be nice to just stick with 16 for the moment. This is the octave that I'm working in. I'm actually going to go down an octave.
I want to play in D, if I can. I accidentally went down there a little bit. (lower fast electronic pulse) Now, listen to this. (fast low-pitched electronic pulse, pitch goes up then down) I want me some of that. So I'm going to flip the rack around again, and I want to send some Curve information. Don't worry if you're unfamiliar with these concepts. Please just watch it happen, and it should make sense.
I want to plug this Curve into the Mod Wheel, okay? Because that's what we just moved here, the Mod Wheel. I'm sending this Curve information to the Mod Wheel. If you look here, I have a switch, Keys or Curve. Right now, we're looking at Keys, which are the notes. Here, we're looking at the Curve, which is control voltage information.
First, I'm going to make some variations with these notes. I'll just go ahead and run ... (fast electronic pulse, pitch going up and down) I accidentally pressed the space bar. I can turn some of these notes off, if I don't want it to be so monotonous. I'm turning down the velocity of these notes, basically, is what I'm doing here. Now let's here what that sounds like.
(electronic pulse, forming melody) Okay, and I can also tie some of these notes together, if I want to. I just clicked this Tie button, and now, these notes are tied together. Maybe I'll tie these together, as well, and hear what that sounds like. (electronic melody) And one more. (electronic melody) All right. Now, let's get back to that Curve.
I don't see anything happening here right now, but if I just haphazardly click and drag around here, now I've drawn some Curve info. Let's hear what that sounds like. (electronic melody, mixed low and high, pingy sound) Okay. That's pretty cool. Now let's make another pattern. This time, let's Randomize Pattern.
I love this. I'm going to right-click here, and Randomize Pattern. Let's look at Keys again. We'll see that there's a mess of crazy notes. (random electronic sounds) Okay. Well, let's add some more D in here, to keep our tonal center established somewhat, and hear what that sounds like. (random electronic sounds) Still a little weird. Let's do one more randomized pattern here and hear what that sounds like.
Again, I'm going to draw in some Ds here. We must have some notes that are really high up, because they're off the screen here. And maybe got some low notes, too. Okay. (random electronic sounds, more melodic) You get the idea there. Now, how can we switch between these patterns? We can automate that. Let's look down here in the sequencer. I have the matrix selected, and I just pressed this button really quickly that doesn't have any label on it, Create Pattern Lane.
So I just created a pattern lane, and if you look down here, you'll see Pattern Select. Now, if I just double-click, I'm creating clips here. It says A1. This has four banks, A, B, C and D, and each bank has eight patterns. This is pattern A1. I can click here, and there's a drop-down. I can change to Pattern 2. Here, I'll change to Pattern 3.
You can see that there is now a green outline here, showing that there is automation here. Let's listen to what this sounds like, and you should see the pattern lights change. (various electronic sequences) Okay. I'm going to go ahead and just loop this one. I'm going to select this, and command + l on Mac, or control + l on Windows, to set the left and right locators. I'm going to loop this.
I could also just press the l key to loop. (electronic sequence) I just want to show you the resolution here. (electronic sequence, speeding up) Okay, so we had been working at 16th note resolution. But, as you can see, you have a choice of several different resolutions. Then, there's also Shuffle, if you want to shuffle your sequence. (electronic sequence with metronomic beat) Okay.
And the shuffle amount is controlled here. If you go to Groove, this launches the Re-Groove Mixer, and there's a knob here for Global Shuffle Amount. There's one more thing I want to show you, and that is, once you have created these patterns, if you want, you can disable the Pattern section and you can Copy Pattern to Track. Now I have the MIDI information from this pattern here.
I could even remove this Pattern Select Lane. If I double-click, you can see all the notes that are present in that pattern. (fast metronomic beat) The reason you didn't hear anything is because I need this note information to go to the actual synthesizer, Thor, which is actually the sound generator. The matrix doesn't make any sound on its own.
I think that is a teachable moment. (electronic melody over metronomic beat) Since I had Shuffle engaged, it actually recorded that shuffle, as well, here. Just stepping back a moment before we go here, as you're dealing with patterns, you can copy a pattern. Actually, once it's selected, click above that area, Copy a pattern. Then you can Paste a pattern.
I've pasted Pattern 1 and Pattern 4. Then, if I wanted to make just a few changes for variation here, and alternate between those two patterns, I could do that. Okay. Well, I hope you can see that the Matrix Analog Pattern Sequencer can be a fun tool to use when creating electronic music.
- Installing the Rack Extensions
- Setting up Reason's preferences
- Recording audio and software instrument tracks
- Creating drumbeats with Redrum and the Kong Drum Designer
- Customizing REX loops
- Live sampling
- Recording automation
- Quantizing audio
- Pitch correcting vocals
- Time stretching and time compressing audio
- Mixing your tracks with compression, EQ, and effects
- Mastering a recording in Reason