I guess this would be the best place to put this; does anyone have any good modules to recommend for generative music making? Or perhaps any patch ideas; techniques that are interesting or you’ve stumbled across?
I already use Marbles as well as Turing Machines and TM-adjacent modules (like Dopamine or Anima from VULT). Are there any other modules or suggestions? Patch ideas?
My PurrSoftware Meander module is generative sequencer based on Western music theory. I.E., it composes harmony (chords), melody with arpeggiation or ostinato patterns and bass in any of the 7 modes and 12 roots. It just generates the note data and sends 1v/oct CV and gates out. Other modules must be attached to generate sound.
I’ve tried it out before, it’s pretty good stuff! I use it from time to time, but sometimes I want disharmony or dissonance that I really like about some generative stuff. Depends on the mood, I guess.
Yeah, it is sort of hard to get Meander to sound bad (dissonant) Be sure to try the higher “modes” in Meander. The modes are ordered in modal brightness or darkness order with Lydian being the “brightest” with one sharp scale note, and Locrian being the “darkest” with 5 flat scale notes. Adding 7th chords in can add further dissonance.
I tend to use the combos of
noise + clock trigger into sample and hold into quantizer
lfo + clock trigger into sample and hold into quantizer
fairly regularly, they can become more or less structured depending on what other modules you use e.g. you can add a degree of slew to ‘humanise’ the notes after quantisation so they’re not always falling exactly on a note or a precise time division.
Use a bunch of “Bernoulli Gate” modules in series or a matrix to mess with things
Whereas you pretty much have to use a quantizer of some type, using a chromatic (12 note scale) will force LFO’s etc. to valid notes, but have a much less melodic or harmonic structure.
It’s an interesting question. I personally want something besides “Sample & Hold Into Quantizer” kind of music – like something with more music to it. That means I have to embed some sort of musical grammar into whatever I’m doing.
Some of my favorites for that kind of action are @jeremy wentworth’s JW sequencers, particularly his NoteSeqFu sequencer.
It has 4 different polyphonic ‘play heads’ that traverse a musical grid. You can set the start, end, and direction of play for each ‘play head.’ You can set transposition per play head, in octaves & semitones. You can specify a clock divider for each play head.
This means that you have 4 ‘players’ playing the same notes, but since they’re independent they define a meta-pattern over all players that can take a long time to resolve & repeat. This has the effect of sounding like continuously generated music, but since there is a well-defined relationship between them both in time and pitch, they can sound more intentional and musically richer.
Even if I hit the randomize button, I can then edit out the ‘wrong notes’ and tweak the length and direction of each subsequencer until there’s a gestalt I find musically compelling.
It gets even more dynamic when you tweak NoteSeqFu live. You can turn playheads off and on, to make the sequence more or less dense. You can add notes to the note grid or take them away.
There are also buttons that transform the sequence - rotate it, or move it up and down. And the mighty “Warp” button which takes a note pattern and moves each note a random direction in the grid. Warp maintains a deep structural connection to the original sequence: The note density stays the same, but each note moves in time and pitch within the grid.
So yeah check out NoteSeqFu.
Oh and fun fact: You can get it to play Canons with 32 steps, by having two play heads with the same start and length but opposite play directions.
I always go for a Quantussy ring made of these cells:
Fantastic advice! I’ve used JW’s Seq line in the past; it almost feels like cheating in a way . I’ll look into that technique though, when I’m not messing about with my fixed rack.
@main.tenant This is pretty much what I do as it stands, never really considered a matrix, though. Might need to try that out.
Interesting, care to elaborate on how exactly you’d patch them?
There’s a diagram here on the manual page for Frozen Wasteland but I can’t link directly too it here. You connect multiple units in a loop connecting castle out to cv in and triangle wave to castle in.
I will suggest LFSR modules collection (some gems here), Hallucigenia from XTRTN , SoC by Frozen Wasteland,Fate from Geodesics, Orca’s Heart by Scanner Darkly, and my favorite Evolution from ML, such a tiny, simple but deep and powerful module
Amazing! Thank you for the suggestions! I will definitely be looking into those.
Fate is fantastic.
I made this one VCV Library - KRT Ω kind of a random multi-out. If you feed it with a polyphonic clock it does a shift register chain polyphony on the outputs.
I’ll take a looksee, it seems interesting!
There are a lot of generative possibilities to be found in Befaco’s Rampage, there are a couple of (semi-/)Random Gates modules - e.g. Hetrick CV, Count Modula, Squinky Labs - which are super useful and then there’s always the power of, for instance, two (or more) Eugenes or modulos running together at different lengths and/or clock divisions.
Aria Salvatrice modules together with some clocking and modulation variety make for endless generative fun
I can’t find them. Do you have a link or something I should specifically look up?
One idea might be ProbKey, there’s a lot of modulation potential, specially the Lock feature in order to control the amount of change/repetition in the patterns.
If spending $15 on a module is in your price range I have a paid collection that includes Quantum Compass which genrates a sequence based on the notes you select and then lets warp it, including accidentals which would get you dissonance. Path Set Infinity - Dev Blog - #2 by Patheros
I also have a free network sequencer which lets you make some pretty interesting sequences that can self self modulate. Omri Cohen recently made a video that just scratches the surface of it: