Strategies to add dynamics into modular music

Cwejman, Livewire, TipTop Audio, Doepfer etc... Get your euro on!

Moderators: Joe., lisa, luketeaford, Kent

User avatar
Yes Powder
Powder that makes you say "Yes"
Posts: 1343
Joined: Thu Sep 03, 2015 2:23 am
Location: Albany, New York
Contact:

Post by Yes Powder » Fri Dec 13, 2019 9:54 am

The Metasonix R52 is great for this. The Resonance control has a significant effect on the output volume (without ever cutting it off) and its CV input is vactrol-coupled, so you can ping it for an easy accent effect.

For a less module-specific way of doing this, I've also had decent results by adding some offset to the CV of a passive LPG so some signal always gets through, and then sending the ping only on notes I want to accent. Works decently well, though requires some dialing in.

EdJ
x => { wiggle(x); }
Posts: 146
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 12:18 pm
Location: Copenhagen

Post by EdJ » Fri Dec 13, 2019 11:00 am

Wait, you guys actually make music? I thought this was just a collectors' forum. :guinness: :75:
off hiatus

User avatar
chachi
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 451
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:50 am
Location: north portland, OR

Post by chachi » Fri Dec 13, 2019 12:01 pm

“soggybag” wrote:Seems the problem could broken up into two areas VCAs and envelopes, and clocks, triggers, and gates. The first to control variable output the second to control or generate timing events.
i like to think of it this way, and for the second part, I use an NLC wangernumb to distribute random-ish clocked gates to the envelopes. if you take a couple sources and pan them, maybe have short AR times, they’re popping off at random in each ear, but on beat.

User avatar
lightworks
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 278
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2010 4:02 pm
Location: portugal

Post by lightworks » Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:52 pm

The ADDAC 506 Stochastic Function Generator for envelopes with subtle nuances to "humanize" attacks and decays might also come handy

EDIT: You can also use the addac 506 expansion to get random voltages that are associated with each individual envelope and modulate the amplitude of a VCA, VCF or what ever.
Last edited by lightworks on Fri Dec 13, 2019 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

zerodivide
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 310
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:05 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Post by zerodivide » Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:54 pm

another idea -use a Low Pass gate and trigger it with gates from something like Pamela's new workout's where you can set the gate Level amount. In Pam's set it to CV1 and send in random voltage to CV 1 or whatever you choose

User avatar
JES
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 565
Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:03 pm
Location: Montreal

Post by JES » Fri Dec 13, 2019 5:51 pm

Lot of cool ideas. +1 on adding something human playable like a pressure points. I play a Linnstrument into my modular, and the Y axis and aftertouch modulation can be a ton of fun. I can do things like vibrato and PWM at the same time, which involves volume variation as well.

Also another great trick is modulating amplitude of an envelope (or multiple simultaneously triggered envelopes to multiple destination). On acoustic instruments, usually the timbre of a note varies with loudness. So for instance, if your envelope varies how far it opens a VCA AND a filter, you’ll get a brighter sound as it gets louder, which is also what happens when someone hits or plucks a string harder on a piano, bass or guitar. You can also invert it for equally musically interesting results.

In fact, an envelope changing multiple things at once that’s modulated in intensity is a great way to emphasize dynamics.

LunaticSound
Common Wiggler
Posts: 104
Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2018 3:50 pm
Location: Hamburg

Post by LunaticSound » Fri Dec 13, 2019 6:15 pm

Further thinking about this made me realize, that there is also a conceptual difference to keep in mind:

On the one hand, there is small scale dynamic sounds, which you could achieve by shaping envelopes, pinging Vactrols, making sounds that reach a loud peak and then become a lot softer again, all that stuff.

On the other hand, there is the grander scale song dynamics, which have a huge impact on how much feeling a track can evoke. For these, you would need macro controls, manual manipulation, slow LFOs or modulators or something else, that builds up, or suddenly ramps up the volume. Or you could also tackle this with sequencing, switches and the like. Make a drop, or a quiet break.

These are two quite different scales to take care of, and in the end I would assume, that the latter is the somewhat more difficult one to achieve, but possibly also the more satisfying kind of dynamics in music...

User avatar
Chartreuse-J
Ultra Wiggler
Posts: 760
Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 10:45 pm
Location: State of Malpas

Post by Chartreuse-J » Fri Dec 13, 2019 8:13 pm

Here is a quick dirty thought, :hmm: layer 2 samples upon each other using a envelope follower 2 vca's, 2 samplers, and one envelope follower and probably an attenuverter and a buff mult. Use the negative signal into the vca and the positive to another, tweak to liking.

ricko
Common Wiggler
Posts: 185
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 5:36 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Post by ricko » Sun Dec 15, 2019 7:02 am

Check out the Elby Design module called the Velocitizer. It lets you add dynamics to a CV.

The dynamics coukd come from keyboard velocity, drum machine accent, an LFO or an EG clocked from a sequencer.

User avatar
b9
Common Wiggler
Posts: 113
Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:04 am
Location: TX/RX

Post by b9 » Sun Dec 15, 2019 8:50 am

insert silence between the sounds

ricko
Common Wiggler
Posts: 185
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 5:36 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Post by ricko » Sun Dec 15, 2019 5:47 pm

Two kinds of dynamics which dont get enough attention are pulse and articulation.

The pulse is a regular emphasis, regardless of how many notes are played. It is very related to danceability. Lack of pulse is why so much EDM does not make you feel like dancing. It is the difference between great Tangerine Dream sequences and the later boring ones; it is why Subotnic's Sidewinder is so good; it is why Timesteps works. It is what Kraftwerk pays a lot of attention to. Some of the severe sidechain compression in EDM acts to give a better pulse. Pulse in music is the control voltage for your feet, hips, shoulders and head.

Articulation allows notes to be more like speech in how they hang together and get emphasis. Humans are hardwired to hear speech, and the less some music (by monotony) acts like speech, the more it stimilates those parts of the brain. when you make soundz without articulation, you are sending ghe besin a message "thus is background noise, dont pay attention to it"; if this flat sound is then comparatively loud, the mysic is more taxing gecause your brain sends more effort trying to hear the details underneath, unless it has been anaesthetized.

Pulse and articulation are not only the result of how loud a note or part of a note is. They also relate to how long notes are, and how each note connects to the next: our monoculture of ADSR is not serving us well, as far as dynamics go. The big strategy is just to have modules that allow convenient control of these kinds of things. When looking for a DIY VCA recently, I chose one (Majella) that had actual suport for dynamics built in. I mentioned the Elby Velocitizer earlier (based on a public domain design of mine, I get no royalties or freebies). My DIY site has a couple relevant products, Clean and Blat for different articulation, and some more coming in 2020, God willing.

Rick
fricko.home.blogs

Bishop Dust
Ultra Wiggler
Posts: 790
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:39 pm
Location: Belgium

Post by Bishop Dust » Sun Dec 15, 2019 6:50 pm


User avatar
Funky40
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 5654
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 7:08 pm
Location: on a big voyage

Post by Funky40 » Sun Dec 15, 2019 7:49 pm

b9 wrote:insert silence between the sounds
you won !
Buuut: thats NOT a module ! :lol:


AND: learn to patch.
There is so many modulation possibilities within modular !
aynthing "can" help to give a feel of a greater dynamics.
And yes, VCAs anyway !
the other thing: kind of Ghost Notes. Delays work great for that.
Add low level or dull tones to the regular ones. Those will make the others shine out more.
Its like the stars just shine in the night. ( at least for our eyes).
I´d say, there is a similarity to how we listen ;)


and another thing, not directly related:
have a Good Reverb
For sale / reduced prices ( swiss (we are NON-EU)/ in case it makes sense_ EU/WW)(CHF +- = $):
lowered prices: Dotcom Q960: 650.- / Q119: 420 / ( i also have one or much likely two 19" Frames)
ATV A-Frame incl. Accu and Bag: 830.-, like new, quasi unused.

User avatar
soggybag
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 280
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2017 2:57 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by soggybag » Sun Dec 15, 2019 8:04 pm

ricko wrote:Two kinds of dynamics which dont get enough attention are pulse and articulation.

The pulse is a regular emphasis, regardless of how many notes are played. It is very related to danceability. Lack of pulse is why so much EDM does not make you feel like dancing. It is the difference between great Tangerine Dream sequences and the later boring ones; it is why Subotnic's Sidewinder is so good; it is why Timesteps works. It is what Kraftwerk pays a lot of attention to. Some of the severe sidechain compression in EDM acts to give a better pulse. Pulse in music is the control voltage for your feet, hips, shoulders and head.

Articulation allows notes to be more like speech in how they hang together and get emphasis. Humans are hardwired to hear speech, and the less some music (by monotony) acts like speech, the more it stimilates those parts of the brain. when you make soundz without articulation, you are sending ghe besin a message "thus is background noise, dont pay attention to it"; if this flat sound is then comparatively loud, the mysic is more taxing gecause your brain sends more effort trying to hear the details underneath, unless it has been anaesthetized.

Pulse and articulation are not only the result of how loud a note or part of a note is. They also relate to how long notes are, and how each note connects to the next: our monoculture of ADSR is not serving us well, as far as dynamics go. The big strategy is just to have modules that allow convenient control of these kinds of things. When looking for a DIY VCA recently, I chose one (Majella) that had actual suport for dynamics built in. I mentioned the Elby Velocitizer earlier (based on a public domain design of mine, I get no royalties or freebies). My DIY site has a couple relevant products, Clean and Blat for different articulation, and some more coming in 2020, God willing.

Rick
fricko.home.blogs
I think you have a couple good points. Overall music dynamic is really important.

I’ve been fixed on tying to build a 3 minute modular piece with a pop song structure. It’s really difficult. The modular is so lock step and on the beat you lose a sense of time. Live musicians make many changes in dynamic/volume through out a measure that really layout audio signposts that cue the listener to changes.

User avatar
trickness
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 512
Joined: Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:08 pm

Post by trickness » Sun Dec 15, 2019 8:18 pm

[/quote]I’ve been fixed on tying to build a 3 minute modular piece with a pop song structure.[/quote]

With respect....why?

You could put together a 3 minute pop song in Ableton in....3 minutes.

Why not come up with some interesting unique beats or melodies on your modular, sample them into a DAW and then build your pop song? Modular frees you from pop, loops, or any other constraints. But it also comes with a few hurdles.

You can buy a cow, raise it, slaughter it, put it into a meat grinder and cook it, OR you could just buy a hamburger and eat it.

Jaypee
Ultra Wiggler
Posts: 984
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:46 am

Post by Jaypee » Mon Dec 16, 2019 12:38 am

Great post Rick.
"Those aren't your daddy's waveforms " Cynthia Webster

User avatar
soggybag
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 280
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2017 2:57 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by soggybag » Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:35 am

Delete
Last edited by soggybag on Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
soggybag
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 280
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2017 2:57 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by soggybag » Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:36 am

trickness wrote:
With respect....why?

You could put together a 3 minute pop song in Ableton in....3 minutes.

Why not come up with some interesting unique beats or melodies on your modular, sample them into a DAW and then build your pop song? Modular frees you from pop, loops, or any other constraints. But it also comes with a few hurdles.

You can buy a cow, raise it, slaughter it, put it into a meat grinder and cook it, OR you could just buy a hamburger and eat it.
Because. It’s my thing I should be allowed to do it. It’s also challenging.[/quote]

User avatar
trickness
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 512
Joined: Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:08 pm

Post by trickness » Mon Dec 16, 2019 7:23 am

soggybag wrote:
trickness wrote:
With respect....why?

You could put together a 3 minute pop song in Ableton in....3 minutes.

Why not come up with some interesting unique beats or melodies on your modular, sample them into a DAW and then build your pop song? Modular frees you from pop, loops, or any other constraints. But it also comes with a few hurdles.

You can buy a cow, raise it, slaughter it, put it into a meat grinder and cook it, OR you could just buy a hamburger and eat it.
Because. It’s my thing I should be allowed to do it. It’s also challenging.
[/quote]

Cool. When you figure it out please post your workflow.

User avatar
Pictus
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 5:29 pm

Post by Pictus » Mon Dec 16, 2019 12:55 pm

ricko wrote:Two kinds of dynamics which dont get enough attention are pulse and articulation.

The pulse is a regular emphasis, regardless of how many notes are played. It is very related to danceability. Lack of pulse is why so much EDM does not make you feel like dancing. It is the difference between great Tangerine Dream sequences and the later boring ones; it is why Subotnic's Sidewinder is so good; it is why Timesteps works. It is what Kraftwerk pays a lot of attention to. Some of the severe sidechain compression in EDM acts to give a better pulse. Pulse in music is the control voltage for your feet, hips, shoulders and head.

Articulation allows notes to be more like speech in how they hang together and get emphasis. Humans are hardwired to hear speech, and the less some music (by monotony) acts like speech, the more it stimilates those parts of the brain. when you make soundz without articulation, you are sending ghe besin a message "thus is background noise, dont pay attention to it"; if this flat sound is then comparatively loud, the mysic is more taxing gecause your brain sends more effort trying to hear the details underneath, unless it has been anaesthetized.

Pulse and articulation are not only the result of how loud a note or part of a note is. They also relate to how long notes are, and how each note connects to the next: our monoculture of ADSR is not serving us well, as far as dynamics go. The big strategy is just to have modules that allow convenient control of these kinds of things. When looking for a DIY VCA recently, I chose one (Majella) that had actual suport for dynamics built in. I mentioned the Elby Velocitizer earlier (based on a public domain design of mine, I get no royalties or freebies). My DIY site has a couple relevant products, Clean and Blat for different articulation, and some more coming in 2020, God willing.

Rick
fricko.home.blogs
Thank you for the explanation!
I check your https://fricko.home.blog/
Very interesting stuff there!! :tu:
I did not found your modules at https://www.modulargrid.net/e/modules/browser
Only the https://www.modulargrid.net/e/elby-desi ... elocitizer

User avatar
hel1
Common Wiggler
Posts: 59
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2018 6:31 am
Location: Netherlands/Italy

Post by hel1 » Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:58 pm

EdJ wrote:Wait, you guys actually make music? I thought this was just a collectors' forum.
:grin: to be more precise: hoarders, that's what we are

User avatar
c0rpse
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 271
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:54 pm
Location: Denver, Colorado

Re:

Post by c0rpse » Thu Jan 02, 2020 9:38 pm

ricko wrote:
Sun Dec 15, 2019 5:47 pm
Two kinds of dynamics which dont get enough attention are pulse and articulation.

The pulse is a regular emphasis, regardless of how many notes are played. It is very related to danceability. Lack of pulse is why so much EDM does not make you feel like dancing. It is the difference between great Tangerine Dream sequences and the later boring ones; it is why Subotnic's Sidewinder is so good; it is why Timesteps works. It is what Kraftwerk pays a lot of attention to. Some of the severe sidechain compression in EDM acts to give a better pulse. Pulse in music is the control voltage for your feet, hips, shoulders and head.

Articulation allows notes to be more like speech in how they hang together and get emphasis. Humans are hardwired to hear speech, and the less some music (by monotony) acts like speech, the more it stimilates those parts of the brain. when you make soundz without articulation, you are sending ghe besin a message "thus is background noise, dont pay attention to it"; if this flat sound is then comparatively loud, the mysic is more taxing gecause your brain sends more effort trying to hear the details underneath, unless it has been anaesthetized.

Pulse and articulation are not only the result of how loud a note or part of a note is. They also relate to how long notes are, and how each note connects to the next: our monoculture of ADSR is not serving us well, as far as dynamics go. The big strategy is just to have modules that allow convenient control of these kinds of things. When looking for a DIY VCA recently, I chose one (Majella) that had actual suport for dynamics built in. I mentioned the Elby Velocitizer earlier (based on a public domain design of mine, I get no royalties or freebies). My DIY site has a couple relevant products, Clean and Blat for different articulation, and some more coming in 2020, God willing.

Rick
fricko.home.blogs
These are very interesting insights! Can you suggest any further reading on these subjects?
VINO MALO | Designer and Software Developer for WMD

User avatar
JES
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 565
Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:03 pm
Location: Montreal

Re: Strategies to add dynamics into modular music

Post by JES » Fri Jan 03, 2020 12:20 am

One error in Rick’s great post: speech and music address different parts of the brain. Dan Levitin’s This is your brain on music is a good intro, except for the last chapter which gets evolution completely wrong. Gary Tomlinson’s A Million Years of Music is better on that front but less readable. YMMV.

I really like the Vector Sequencer (and the Elektrons) because velocity is baked in.

User avatar
Daisuk
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 3829
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:16 pm
Location: Oslo
Contact:

Re: Strategies to add dynamics into modular music

Post by Daisuk » Fri Jan 03, 2020 10:33 am

JES wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 12:20 am
One error in Rick’s great post: speech and music address different parts of the brain. Dan Levitin’s This is your brain on music is a good intro, except for the last chapter which gets evolution completely wrong. Gary Tomlinson’s A Million Years of Music is better on that front but less readable. YMMV.

I really like the Vector Sequencer (and the Elektrons) because velocity is baked in.
Can only echo this recommendation - having the velocity built in to the sequencer is excellent - the Vector sequencer is awesome.

I used to have 3 or 4 Penta sequencers that I used for accents/velocity. Basically I just patched whatever gate signal was gating the sound I wanted to modulate the volume of into the penta, routed that sound through an extra VCA, and had the Penta vary the velocity of that sound by patching its output into the "extra" VCA.

Streams is also great for dynamics. I quite like to just put some sort of droning/pretty/chord/pad sound into it and make it duck to a regular gate chucked into the excite input (usually just 4/4 stuff) to create a pulsing effect. Works great if you set the shape and envelopes right.

Shakmat Modular has just come out with an interesting take on a dynamics module that deserves some more attention - Gemini's Path. Looks really interesting.
viewtopic.php?t=201431

Dynamics is everything in music! I sometimes forget as well, and listen back to some of my stuff where I haven't paid attention to any dynamics - things just sound so flat and lifeless and boring.

ricko
Common Wiggler
Posts: 185
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 5:36 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Strategies to add dynamics into modular music

Post by ricko » Wed Mar 25, 2020 2:27 am

@JES: I am not sure it is so clear, you may be right. But see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4321131 There is neural sharing and perhaps neural overlap as well as distinct regions.

For a start, studies about pitch and repetition are maybe not as relevant as we might hope, it seems to me: articulation just as much about one-off "musical taste" emphasis as much as emphasis that establishes or breaks a rhythm, so I think the research on our brains on the non-repetive, non--pitch, non-rhythmic aspect of music is excluded if you use studies that define music against speech by limiting music to pitch, repetition and rhythm.

Post Reply

Return to “Eurorack Modules”