Aria's Signature Series 1.3.0: Arcane - Online musical fortunes for a new song every day

Arcane, Atout & Aleister - Today’s Fortune ★

Because of the excellent reception of my first serious module, Darius, I decided to try out something bold, unusual, that is more online game than module, and that makes use of the unique advantage of software synthesis.

Arcane is a fortune-telling module. Every day, a new fortune - comprised of a Tarot of Marseilles card, a BPM, a scale, and various patterns - is drawn. The twist? The values are the same for EVERY VCV Rack user.

See the video for an introduction, or read on for a doc excerpt.

Here’s the patch from the video! Arcane Demo.vcv (210.0 KB)
Also available on Patchstorage

The patch has helpful notes on the side teaching you protips for my other modules, and even for other author’s modules! You’ll need a fair amount of free plugins to run it, here’s the full list: 23volts, Alright Devices, Amalgamated Harmonics, Aria Salvatrice, Audible Instruments, Befaco, Bogaudio, Catro/Blanco, computerscare, Erica, Frank Buss, Glue the Giant, Impromptu Modular, JW-Modules, Little Utils, ML Modules, Mockba Modular, PackOne, RJModules, Racket Science, Recorder, Submarine (Free), Surge for Rack, SynthKit, Treasure Free, Valley, Via, Vult Modules Free

(Just download every free plugin! They’re free!!)

This update also includes new features for Darius. I want to keep it a simple, focused, beginner-friendly device, so I focused on adding simple but powerful features, such as the ability to go backwards, or to provide your own random seed.

Read the full documentation on Github for details

Here’s a little excerpt from the Arcane doc, I hope it will encourage you to try it out. I can’t wait to see how people will decide to use it!

I hope luck is on your side. Every day, you will share together the fortune I shall grant you. It is your task to interpret what my augury means to you.

Modules in the Arcane series are comprised almost only of output jacks, sending today’s fortune as CV. Those values are the same for every Arcane user, and nobody can predict or influence them. I pronounce a new oracle every day at 12:00 AM UTC without fail.

Every day, I will draw the following cards, and impart the following knowledge:

  • Arcane Majeur - a major arcana of the Tarot of Marseilles.
  • Bâtons (Wands), Coupes (Cups), Deniers (Coins), Épées (Swords) - a different 16 step binary pattern for each suit of the Tarot.
  • Scale pattern - The notes of a music scale comprised of 5, 6, 7, or 8 notes, often scales common in popular Western music, and sometimes less common ones. Which note is the root of the scale isn’t specified, only which notes are part of the scale.
  • 8 note pattern - Every note from the selected scale, sorted in a random order. If the scale has fewer than 8 notes, up to 3 different notes will be repeated at the end, an octave higher.
  • BPM - Integer ranging from 60 to 180 BPM, with values between 90 and 150 twice as likely.
  • My sincerest wish of luck, love, health, and prosperity.

How to interpret my fortune is up to you and your friends. You can make use of a single output jack of the module, or all of them. You can craft an ephemeral song that will no longer exist tomorrow. You can create an unchanging patch that will grace you with a new song every day. There are no rules but the ones you choose to follow.

Using this series of modules to their full extent requires a bit of creative patching, a bit of lateral thinking, but most importantly, friends to share your different interpretations of the same fortune with.

There is no offline mode, and no built-in way to load older fortunes, by design. These are multiplayer-only oracles.


By the way, in the docs for Arcane, I’ve started to try frequently mention how my module can be used with modules by other authors, this whole modular synth world generally has a big “if you don’t already understand this stuff, you don’t belong here” aura, I’m trying to go against that.

Here’s a few more Arcane and Darius recipes that didn’t make the cut in either the docs or the demo patch:

:arrow_up:When set to Ramp mode, Arcane can drive the ZZC Clock, and presumably the ZZC Phaseque

:arrow_up:The notes outputs being in a random order is meant to give you a starting point for a possible melody, but they work well with the Sort mode of my splitters and mergers. With a setup like this, you’ll generally get chords that sound good! (Notice the dummy cable on the Swerge to force it into 2x4 rather than 1x8 mode)

:arrow_up:The quantizer is polyphonic! You probably don’t need a lot of instances of Arcane in a patch. If you do, remember that Atout has the exact same features but won’t display today’s card.

:arrow_up:You’re not limited to using the patterns in 4/4 time! When you connect only the first output of an Aleister bank, it gives you the results polyphonically. Combine it to your preferred clock, and 23v’s Switch N:1

:arrow_up:When sending simultaneous gates to Darius’ new inputs, they are treated in this arbitrary order of priority: Forward⯈, Up⯅, Down⯆, ⯇Back. But they need to arrive on the same sample! Every module in the signal path adds at least a 1 sample delay. It’s recommended to cook your own solution with logic gates to avoid sending Darius two gates at once. I’m looking into what I can do to improve this behavior without breaking patches or adding complexity for users.


That demo patch is a monster! So many cool techniques to learn from! Plus it make my mac all toasty warm…

Merci beaucoup!


I’ve been listening to my demo patch every day, listening how it changes. Happy to report it hasn’t sound broken on any single day! But some days it sounds nicer than others, of course.

Today, the fortune rolled the G Major Bebop scale, which has 8 notes. An interesting side-effect in my patch is that the melody picked by the Darius controlling the Sequential Switch will remain on a single octave.

There hasn’t been much interest in Arcane yet, but I hope it will pick up once people start to understand what it sets out to do, and gets featured in videos. Still, I’ll go ahead and ask: any interest to help me out with the music theory side of it? I’m not very knowledgeable about it, and had to use a lot of references to even make this module.

Right now, the server picks from a really conservative selection of scales. I’m NOT seeking to add every scale ever. The curation must focus on scales that work well in aleatoric & improvisational music. Hop over to this github issue if you want to help out, but only do so if you’ve had enough hands-on experience with Arcane to understand exactly what it sets out to do, and are willing to explain your thinking, don’t hit and run the issue with a copy-paste of wikipedia’s entire list of music scales.

The server is already working correctly so this enhancement has no urgency.


If you encountered a crash with Arcane today, sorry about that! Please delete RackUserFolder/AriaSalvatrice/Arcane/2020-02-10.json to fix it.

Today’s fortune was the Fool - the Arcana without a number, or 0. It’s only appropriate it would cause an off by one error and crash the rack! I thought I had this bug squashed, it will be fixed ASAP.

I edited the fortune manually (and picked a suitable replacement). No need to delete anything if you aren’t experiencing a crash.

I will edit the fortune server not to draw the Fool for now, and revert it a week after an update to Arcane is accepted in the library.