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Clapping Music for Modular
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  
Author Clapping Music for Modular
Hey all - new to posting on the forum.

Caught the modular bug last year and have built up a 15u system and am having a blast learning the language of synthesis on the modular level.

I am having a hard time figuring out how to recreate Steve Reich's Clapping Music on my system. For those unfamiliar, basically it's a pair of identical 12 step, 8th note rhythms that become offset an 8th note after 12 bars and continue to do so until they sync back up.

I’m not as interested in the clapping part as i am the rhythmic structure.

regarding what modules i have to work with,

any tips or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Welcome!! I haven't studied Clapping Music in a while, though it would probably be the easiest of Reich's pieces to try to recreate on a modular. But that's not saying it would be easy. hihi

You'd need some sort of 12-stage trigger sequence running, for the pattern. I don't see any trigger sequencers in your system, but you can use a step sequencer set to 12 stages - a stage @ 0% = rest, a stage @ 100% = trigger, and then AND the output with the clock.

You'd then need an analog shift register (ASR) to generate delayed/shifted versions of the sequence with respect to the clock. But because the clock is < 100% duty cycle, you'd need to input the sequence into the shift register, and AND it with the clock afterwards.

But then you also need a way to cycle through the 12 different patterns for that second voice - a sequential switch. And you'd then use something to cycle through them (slower clock, divided clock, keyboard, etc.)

The problem here is that most ASRs only have 3-4 channels, so you'd need either 4 or 3 of them chained. And most sequential switches are also only 3-4 channels, and most of those you can't chain.

. . . .

Alternatively, if you have two 12-stage trigger sequencers (or a multi-row trigger sequencer with independent per-row shifting; or two regular sequencers, and two AND gates; or a multi-row regular sequencer with independent per-row shifting, and two AND gates), you might be able to do the following:

Program the same sequence on both sequencers.
Send your clock to the first sequencer.
Send your clock, via an OR gate, to your second sequencer.
Send your clock to a trigger/gate delay, and then to an AND gate and then to the 2nd input of that OR gate.
Send your clock to a clock divider at some multiple of 12 (or two chained clock dividers), and send that to the other input of that AND gate.

So at every 12*n clock cycle, the second sequenced is pushed forward an extra note. And the two trigger sequences trigger the two different voices.

But... your clock would need to have a sufficiently small pulse width (possibly going through a gate-to-trigger converter), and the second sequencer would need to be able to respond nicely to two quick pulses of the original clock & delayed trigger.

. . . .

The effectiveness of this piece also relies on the fact that the two performers are never in perfect sync. So you'd probably also want two additional voltage-controlled trigger delays, one on each sequencer's output, with just some slight modulation by a couple of random sources. And probably some additional random modulation on the pitch, timbre, and volume of the individual voices.

. . . .

With all that said, it would probably be most sensible to do the actual sequencing of this piece on a computer (or some non-modular digital sequencer), rather than within the modular. And I say that as someone who never brings a computer into the studio, except to upgrade firmware on synths. But, despite the loads of modular I have, in all different formats, I'd be unable to produce 'Clapping Music' on all of them combined. So if you really want to do it, you need to choose some very specific modules.

That is, of course, unless someone comes up with solutions much simpler than mine! Mr. Green
^^^there is the doepfer a-152, 16 channels of track & hold. dont think you can shift between them, but i think the op's modules can be used for another approach

getting the complexity of that reich piece would take practice but to start you could have a melody playing on each rene, clocked from tempi into one rene and multed through a vca/gate into the other

then run a slower division of your clock into brains and set all the knobs on one row all the way clockwise and the last ccw, and run that channel to the vca gating the clock to one rene

that shd get you started at least Miley Cyrus
Want to change every 8 bars?
Reset the second sequencer with a /95 divider.
(12 x 8)-1=95

It's not 100% accurate, but simple.
Wow thanks so much! What generous and thoughtful responses.

This morning I feel like I got somewhere by using moremagics idea of using pressure points, but instead used it to add position to Renés sequence. This worked to a certain degree but was largely random. I’ll try milkshakes idea later tonight or in the morning. Thanks again!
I have nothing to add except that 'Griot' from Possible Musics by Jon Hassell and Brian Eno is my favorite handclapping music and it is live. lx3xsaOGb7jsa&index=3
Montgomery Word
There could be no way to do it with your current sequencer selection, it may be possible, but I don’t know the way after seeing it just now.

But I made this my mission for a while last year in modular.

The easy answer: orthogonal devices er101, Ableton, a midi to cv module with a couple channels of cv/gate controlled by digitakt/opz/elektron...

What you’re going for is a sequencer with lots of steps,variable track lengths (12 step program lol), which the v8+ can do.

But Steve Reich in modular is not super hard, just don’t expect Steve Reich haha. It’ll be fun either way. If you want an example, here.
I was messing around with this a while ago. Kind of cheating but I was able to sequence the shifting clapping pattern using the Beatstep Pro's gate sequencer and the un-shifting pattern with a Varigate 4 (though any 8 step gate/trigger sequencer could potentially do the job.

Like someone else mentioned using the reset might be the way to go. I was going to suggest using a sequencer that has a reset out (Like the Metropolis) and setting it to 7 steps but then that would phase the patterns every bar. Not sure how many bars in the actual transcribed version it shifts. I was learning to play the piece using an official itunes app but the number of bars per pattern seemed different.

At some maffmaticks is involved and that's not a strong point of mine.
The algorithm for this is voice 2 skips a note every 144 beats. Easy to do with (say) two Moog sequencers (+sequential switches) and human intervention, but not what the OP is looking for.

Diophantine's approach would work with the right modules. I could probably have patched this on my old sequencer system (pictured left) which had clocks with pulse length independent of the rate and logic circuits up the wazoo.

The most direct approach would require a digital sequencer with a voltage triggered bank change, but I can't find such a beast on modgrid. An alternate would be a sequentially addressable shift register, which has a lot of cool applications. Also unfortunately unfindable.

Of course you could enter the whole piece into Logic in about five minutes and play it via MIDI. That's why we don't see many elaborate sequencers any more. Except for the simplest cases, they can't compete in cost or real estate with a computer.

Kind of a pity really. As powerful as my MAX/msp driven system is, I miss my big rows o' knobs.
Clapping Music for modular synth.

I didn't use a clap sound but more of a clave sound. Easyer to listen to for long periods of time, it gets quite hypnotic.

Patch is simple, 2 identical voices with sequencers, one resets after 95 clock pulses. Pm for Clavia G2 patch.
snowday hid=ewqv1f8hcnrh
Rod Serling Fan Club
You all inspired me to give it a shot. In Eurorack format, driven by XOR NerdSeq which helps immensely for doing patches like these. Using the advice above I made a trigger sequence with 96 tracks and copied that to a second sequence that reset at 95. I took some liberties. hid=1677bezqos6ph
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