How do I actually practise this?

I really want to get into this.

So I have spent hrs skimming youtube but I find most of the videos just go waaaay too fast, I have not bought Omri Cohens courses yet but I am thinking about it as it seems to be the only way into this for a newbie.

I did just buy Syntorial as it has 2.0 coming out. (finished all the demo levels)

I do play the piano and take lessons.

How exactly would a complete novice start to learn how a generative patch is made and do it themselves, i understand this could takes months if not years like a piano.

I would prefer vcv rack as i would want my money spent on other things. (so no to modular)

But i am willing to drop a fw hundred here or there for courses and stuff.

How does someone actually practise this stuff, would you think after i finish syntorial i will be able to approach vcv rack better?

Issue is the amount of modules in vcv rack…so I have to learn and study certain modules I choose and then only work with those?

Somebody help.

While yes I did actually watch many tutorials, these tutorials are useless if you have no idea what he is actually doing…

If a YouTube tutorial is moving too fast, go to Settings:Playback speed and go Hainbach-style: Half speed.

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How to learn? That’s a study on it’s own.

The forum has text and a video link pages aimed at beginners.

Maybe this is a good start, if the videos are too fast (it’s for Rack 1.6 but still a good read):

I wish you a pleasant journey.


Dude, you are going to waste your money on courses and such. If you already understand piano and a bit of music theory, you are already there. Just open VCV Rack and start plugging away. What’s the worst that can happen? You can only learn what works and what doesn’t. Omri Cohen is great at explaining it, and his videos helped me, and inspired me when I started and still does. Just spend some time watching.

I agree that the amount of modules is overwhelming, but start with the fundamental modules and then branch out. There is everything there that you need.

Have fun man, and don’t overthink it. It’s your art and it can’t be wrong.


I am not sure about courses… I think it’s better if it is personalised. So if Omri gives one-on-one lessons - try it for sure. Courses have big disadvantage - as any mass education system - in trying to appeal to the average. And even within this “average” strata people are different. Some remember stuff better, some already know about something, some have a musical background - and some do not. So yeah, take one-on-one lessons (if you really want to). A couple of them should be enough to get started and maybe continue researching stuff for yourself.

As for generative patches - I don’t know much about it, cause it’s not my thing… (I don’t like it, as a joke I call it degenerative). But I use some of generative techniques and that is my advice: don’t try and make like 100% self playing patch. Go with the elements at first: like some primitive 4/4 stuff with a simple sequence and a filter and just animate the filter. So it would do some kind of unpredicted movements here and there. Then try something different and so on and on.

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What @auretvh said. What got me going was really to patch along Omri’s Patch from Scratch videos but deviate here and there. Pick a different scale, tempo, whatever. Make up some What ifs? for yourself. This sequencer instead of that one. So you’ll create small and manageable problems that, by the time they arise, you’ll likely be able to solve. And learn from them.


I agree! But if I understand it correctly, the problem here is not with music, but more with technical stuff and construction of a patch. Like an architecture of a generative patches.

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For beginners to generative, for instant gratification I always recommend Impromptu ProbKey, get a couple of those running at different speeds / lengths driving different voices and you’re off. For some percussion add Valley uGraph & Vult Trummors.

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Depends on how you define generative. I’d say: In a generative patch: a section of the patch generates notes and rhythm rather than notes and rhythm coming from a more defined source such as MIDI input or a predetermined sequence. The modules, techniques and approaches for how to do that generation varies enormously, so there’s no general architecture for that.

I can remember having a lot of fun back in college patching up an ARP 2600 so that it played itself.


Yeah, well… I would define it this way too. And there are lots of ways to achieve that, for sure! But the architecture is basically the same. That’s semantics, I agree, hahaha. To me it’s not the actual modules and paths or routes, but the “functional blocks”. And that’s what I think it comes down to. Like here’s the algorithm, now each block could be built in different ways. Well, that all comes from my limited understanding of generative patches, haha. I mean, I made a couple of them, but my experience is very much… insufficient to give any particular directions to this person, just a general one.

Lucky! I bet it made a good background music source for studying, haha

…I bet it made a good background music source for studying…

Not really that good for study - results were usually nasty, growling, and chaotic - and loved it :slight_smile:

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Way back in the mid-70s I had a roommate who managed to borrow a Mini-Moog, a Moog Sonic Six and an ARP 2600 (from a university experimental music lab) for a long weekend. None of the rest of us had ever even seen a synth up til then, nor did we have much in the way of musical knowledge. Using the ARP he gave us a quick tutorial on the general functions of the VCO, LFO, VCA, VCF, Sample & Hold, control voltages versus audio signals, etc. It only took about an hour for us all to get the gist of it. What a fun weekend that was. What we didn’t know for sure how to do we at least had a notion of what to try.

It might be useful to subscribe to only a few plugins, and to select ones that have good documentation. Check out my thread-in-progress: John's "Gold Star for Documentation" Awards - #20 by john_rose and seek out the plugins I actually award a gold star to. That is not to say that there aren’t many others with excellent documentation, but I just haven’t gotten around to them yet.

Two standouts are Bogaudio and Count Modula, which offer a lot of simple but indispensable modules that are clearly described in their manuals, and are fairly easy to figure out just from looking at the front panels.


Omri Cohen videos, take it slowly, one patch at a time. Be patient with yourself, it will come.

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I use XTRTN’s Hallucigenia for that, if I need a quick & dirty melody generator with gradual randomization.

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long long ago, early in my journey with vcv rack i made a tutorial:

it’s obviously outdated in specifics, but the general principles remain

(and yes, i really should make an updated version)


thanks everyone

Things I’ve done to get better at Rack stuff:

Yuh, watching videos

Kept a notebook of patch ideas

Made flashcards of different modules to memorize what they do

Shared patches with friends, kept diaries of what work we’d done

Made videos explaining things I created

Endless, endless hours of tinkering with hundreds of patches, sometimes with a result in mind, sometimes just playing around


OH and don’t forget

Shared patches publicly on patchstorage and here, and tried to explain them

Asked questions on this forum whenever something baffled me, and got good help (when my question made sense)

The simplest generative patch has a clock, a noise source, a sample & hold and an oscillator. The clock triggers the sample & hold, which picks an instantaneous pitch from the noise. That pitch determines the frequency of the oscillator.

That makes unsatisfying music, so you refine from there. :grin:

To make music that means something one needs a way to inject your conscious intention into the process. Vary the rhythm, constrain the notes to a scale. Generative music is a matter of building a machine that generates musical events independently.

Getting it to make actual music takes practice, but it isn’t like learning violin. You develop mental more than physical dexterity.