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Dream Sequences (Part 3)

Article from The Mix, February 1995

Logical sequencing tips

Continuing his series of computer sequencing tutorials, Roger 'James' Brown this month demystifies Cubase's Logical Editor, and finds it knocks his pads into a cocked hi-hat...

Welcome to the third in our sequencing tips and hints series. I hope you've got the flavour by now. This is intended to be a means of inspiration, sharing some of the sequencing tricks I use to liven up my own creative endeavours. As I write this, it's still the Xmas/New Year break, so I haven't any idea how many of you responded to our call to remix our riff last month.

Anyway, I'd like to continue the call for interactivity by asking any of you reading this who may have your own hints and tips to send them in to me here at THE MIX. If I get enough of them we may be able to start a regular readers' section in this series. Don't just stop at sequencing either. An integral part of modern sequencing is patch programming, tuning that DX11 or M1 patch so it transforms a groove. If any of you have any interesting patches, send 'em in! (Preferably in both text and MIDI file modes). Then we can include them in the series, put them on the CD-ROM section of Re:Mix, and eventually post them to our ftp site on the net. I don't want to be doing all the talking in this series without any feedback, so get posting!


This month, I thought I'd continue the theme of generating extra tracks from one or two original recordings. This time 'though, we'll look at using one of Cubase's most powerful and under used tools, the Logical Editor, to generate new data. I am constantly surprised at the number of Cubase users who express ignorance of this most useful of Cubase's many features. Those who do know of its existence shrug off their under-use of it with the refrain. "Oh, it's too complicated for me". Well, it's not! Let's have a look.

The Logical Editor is just that: logical, and extremely simple in use, but with such a variety of changes you can make to a piece, it almost deserves to be a program in its own right. The piece of music we're playing around with this month is Pachelbel's Canon, more familiar to pop pickers as the refrain from 'Go West'! I've started with a Fairlight-ish pad patch on the DX11 playing the chord sequence, and recorded a few simple hi-hats. The DX11 patch is a shifting sort of timbre, and with the bar-long chords of the string section is an ideal candidate for a little exercise in MIDI Volume gating.

We want to set up a gate that is allied to the rhythms we already have, so a natural candidate for transformation is our closed hi-hat pattern. Making a copy of this eight bar part by holding down the Alternate key and dragging a copy to a new track, we then rename it to signify its new role, and alter the MIDI output to match the channel the Fairlight patch is on. With the track selected, we then activate the Logical Editor from the Edit menu, and proceed to choose our settings.

After copying the 808 Closed Hi-hat pattern to another track and renaming it, we redirect it to the same MIDI channel as the Fairlight patch.

Invoking the Logical Editor from the Edit menu...

At first sight the Logical Editor does look daunting, but it is relentlessly logical, and once you've run through a couple of operations you'll wonder what all your initial trepidation was about. First up is the Filter section. This is simply where we set a series of parameters to determine what data the editor will perform its routines on. In fact we needn't set anything here, as we want all the data in our part to be altered, but we'll set the data type to Note by setting the Keep/Equal/Unequal field to Equal and the item field below that to Note. These are both activated by dropdown menus, and we can see on the latter one that we have a choice of affecting Note, Program Change, Control Change, Poly Pressure (Channel Aftertouch), Pitch Bend or Aftertouch. Other data fields offer a box to enter relevant values into.

Ignoring the rest of the entries in that section, and ignoring the Bar Range section also, as we want to affect the whole eight bars of our part, we then proceed to the Processing section. This is where we tell Cubase what data we want our original changed into, and the fields here match the first. So we choose Fix for the Data Type and set that to Control Change.

...we then proceed to set up the Filters and Processors in the Logical Editor to turn our original notes...

...into MIDI Volume Contollers.

The next field, Value 1, we set to 7 as MIDI Volume is Controller 7. Value 2 corresponds to the velocity values of our original hi-hat pattern. This may provide us with an interesting series of volume levels, so we'll leave that as it is for now and simply set the next value for MIDI channel to fix and set it to 2, the number of our DX11 patch. This last operation isn't strictly necessary, as we have already redirected the output from this part via the Arrange page, but in the interests of keeping our processor load low from the start, we'll fix the MIDI channel assignment, thus saving Cubase the task of redirecting it. Then it's a simple matter of choosing Transform from the operation menu, clicking on Perform and waiting until the UNDO button ceases to be grey, indicating that the editor has successfully completed the operation. If we go to the list editor we can see our original sixteenths hi-hat pattern is now a series of MIDI volume commands.

And here they are! There’s not much variation in value 2, the volume levels, so we return to the Logical Editor...

...and set the controls for the heart of the gate. Lowering selected events produces a choppier gating effect.

Playing the piece produces some volume variation, adding a choppier, more rhythmic effect to the shifting pad shape. If it's still not enough, we can return to the Logical editor to make some more changes. This time, we set the editor to work on Control Changes, Value 1 at number 7 and Value 2 we set to anything lower than 58, opting to fix this at 32 in the relevant field in the Processing section. This, being quarter volume and occuring every second note, produces a choppier effect as the level dips and rises.

As well as the loops within this tutorial, which you are free to sample, I've included one shot samples of the sounds used, and the MIDI files are once again to be found on the CD-ROM section, so you can experiment with this effect for yourself. MIDI volume gating works best on long shifting timbres, so fire up your synths and samplers and get experimenting!

Next month we'll continue building something out of nothing by looking at generating some new pieces out of our string part, using Cubase's Phrase Synthesiser. Until then, Happy New Year and Good Sequencing!

On the RE:MIX CD

Pachelbel's Canon comes in for some heavy gating as Roger 'James' Brown breaks it down into a rhythmic push in this month's series of hints and tips.

The corresponding MIDI file is on track 1.

Series - "Dream Sequences"

Read the next part in this series:

All parts in this series:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 (Viewing) | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

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Also featuring gear in this article

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Previous Article in this issue

On the beat

Next article in this issue

Rough Mix

Publisher: The Mix - Music Maker Publications (UK), Future Publishing.

The current copyright owner/s of this content may differ from the originally published copyright notice.
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The Mix - Feb 1995

Donated by: Colin Potter

Coverdisc: Mike Gorman

Sound Advice




Dream Sequences

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 (Viewing) | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

Gear in this article:

Software: Sequencer/DAW > Steinberg > Cubase

Gear Tags:

Atari ST Platform

Re:Mix #8 Tracklisting:

09 Roger Brown's gates

This disk has been archived in full and disk images and further downloads are available at - Re:Mix #8.

Feature by Roger Brown

Previous article in this issue:

> On the beat

Next article in this issue:

> Rough Mix

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