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OMG Polyrhythms and Phasing!

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  • OMG Polyrhythms and Phasing!

    I don't know when these features appeared in the software updates, but they need to be celebrated. Somewhere along the line to version 1.4, Jim added some timing options to the Sequence Control menu (page 4 of the manual for version 1.4).

    I just got my Vector to spit out a proper polyrhythm. I attach a small file for reference. It's not particularly musical, but what you'll hear is a groove in 5 (chord mode on Plaits) with straight pluks in 7 (Rings), and every 8th beat they sync up again. So it's totally workable to do proper polyrhythms. The number next to the divisor appears to be a multiplier, so if you want quarter notes at the bpm divided by 5, I THINK you need to divide by 5 and then set the rate to 5, though I don't know for sure. it's not well documented yet. I am going to experiment the shit out of this, though and would love others to post things as they figure it out.

    The phasing and crossfade options are great for Instant Reich (just add VCOs and VCFs...).

    NB because these get confused in sequencer marketing: polyrhythm and polymeter are two different things. VECTOR CAN DO BOTH. Amazing work Jim!

    Oops. Looks like I can't do attachments. Here you go.

  • #2
    Hey JES! Yes I felt exactly the same way. It is brilliantly implemented.

    If you go here I have written some notes on Polyrhythms on the Vector. Keep scrolling until you find it. If you learn anything that might be useful please tell me and I will add it.

    What do you mean by phasing and crossfade, as in post sound generation adding those dynamics to make the polyrhthms interact in different ways? I have not tried that!

    Also, good demo file!
    Last edited by steve.turner; 05-11-2020, 04:55 PM.


    • #3
      Thanks Steve, much appreciated. By phase, I am not referring to mixing. I'm referring to two parts playing together where one is slightly out of time with another. Phase and crossfade are two other options in the Sequence Control Manual (same page, 1.4 manual) and the only difference between them that I can tell is that the phase control is actually quite subtle, so I'll use crossfade which does the same thing but in much bigger steps. Here's a demo where I have two similarly timed sequences running through two oscillators, I've set the crossfade to X8, and then the amount to 0 to start. Then I bump it to 3 after a couple times through the sequence, and you'll hear the two lines go out of phase with one another. What's interesting is that as the movement continues, interesting melodies, harmonies and even overtones emerge.

      Again, the demo isn't meant to be musical, just to demonstrate what happens.

      I think Steve Reich is the most famous composer who uses this technique, check out "it's gonna rain" or "piano phase." Musically, the technique shares a lot with some African and Asian rhythmic ideas (and was probably "borrowed")e, so it's related to polyrhythm and useful in the same way to modulate rhythms playing over one another. These two ideas together will lead to a lot of interesting grooves that play off one another. Slow timbral modulation is common in Eurorack (insert drone video here); slow temporal modulation much less so. I think you'd need a bunch of modules to accomplish the same thing without the Vector, and with "reset" and other options you can produce interesting grooves.


      • #4
        i just got my Vector Sequencer and after two days of work with it, i ordered the expander. This is what i have been looking for regarding sequencing in euro. I tried Rene. eloquencer and midi to modular with max for live patches/sequencers, KLEE & Cyclic i tried tons of stuff also encoderaudio's M4Ls but this takes the cake. Process/Phase/systems music/Reichian whatever name we agree on It's now represented rather well inside the modular and i am overjoyed too