Randomized pitch sequencing with Vox Digitalis and Mimetic Digitalis
Last week, we shared a post about creating quantized pitch sequences with the Mimetic Digitalis. A few people asked if it was possible to create randomized sequences that are also pitch quantized, and the answer is yes! In fact, it’s not the only sequencer in our lineup that can create randomized melodies. Today, we’ll explore a few ways to create randomized sequences with Mimetic Digitalis and Vox Digitalis.
Mimetic Digitalis: all the ways to random
There are a few ways to randomize, or partially randomize, a sequence on Mimetic Digitalis while keeping things quantized to the chromatic scale.
Randomizing a single step
Sometimes it’s nice to create a variation of an existing sequence. If you’d like to randomize an individual step in a sequence, navigate to it using the direction buttons, then select the track you’d like to edit by pressing the numbers. If you were to simply press “Shred” here, you’d get a random value from 0v to 5v. However, if you press Zero+Shred at the same time, you’ll get a random quantized value within one octave. This keeps things melodic and in a usable range.
Multiple tracks can be randomized simultaneously, too: just tap the ones you’d like to randomize then use the same button combos. You’ll get different randomized values on each track!
Randomizing a whole sequence
If a single step isn’t random enough for you and you want an entirely random sequence, that’s easy, too.
Select the track(s) you’d like to randomize. Pressing Load+Shred will randomize the entire sequence from 0v to 5v, but pressing Load+Zero+Shred will randomize the entire sequence within a single quantized octave.
And again, these can both be done to multiple tracks at the same time. You want random? You’ve got random.
Random for variation: using Undo
A useful technique for jamming and live performance is randomization combined with the Undo button. Tapping Undo takes the sequence back to its saved state, so if you save a pattern, you can randomize (or Zero) things as much as you want, and then tap Undo to jump back to your initial sequence. This is a nice way to create variations without losing any data, and it can be a musical way to create recurring motifs in your patches.
Another way to approach randomized sequences is with the R trigger input and Rand button. Every time a trigger is received at the R input MD will jump to a random step in its sequence. This is a great way to randomize a pre-programmed sequence, especially when using MD for melodic sequencing. The Rand button can also be used to jump to a random step, which can be a useful performance tool to quickly create a variation in a sequence. Unlike the previous options where you could choose the tracks you want to randomize, this option will always affect all tracks.
Vox Digitalis: it can be random, too
Vox Digitalis was designed to be a compact and simple pitch sequencer, but, of course, we added two useful randomization features in, too. We love random here at NE.
Random sequence generation
The note values of an entire sequence can be randomized by pressing Load and tapping the encoder. The handy thing about VD’s randomization is that it respects the programmed sequence length, so your pattern will stay musically relevant to how you originally programmed it. Saving and loading is also easy on VD, so if you randomize your way into a pattern you like it can be saved into a new slot, or the original pattern can be restored by loading it again.
The middle switch position on VD will jump to a random step each time it receives a trigger at the Beat input. I often use this with short sequences – 3-5 steps at most – to create random key changes over a whole patch. It’s a useful way to create variations that are repeated but don’t always happen in the same order.