Generative Music with Bitwig Studio Grid
Bitwig Tutorial | Aug 12, 2019
This video covers how to create generative or randomized music with Bitwig Studio’s Grid module. It covers how to create an oscillator, envelope, volume, and gate module as well as using dice modules, a merge module, and a pitch scaler to generate a melody. It also explains how to use triggers, phase signals, and plant modules to randomize settings and create a unique sound.
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[00:00.000] Hey, welcome back to another video.
[00:08.400] On bitwig.community I created the new section which is called Critics, as you can see here.
[00:14.960] And these are all videos from YouTube collected in a YouTube playlist and just scraped in
[00:22.900] and displayed on this page.
[00:24.720] And there's also a separate page when you click here on Watch More.
[00:29.280] Now you are on bitwig.community slash Critics and there are now every video in the playlist
[00:36.160] on YouTube.
[00:37.560] And you can click them and listen to the sounds.
[00:43.920] And if you want to add your own video to it, you can just go here to the playlist on YouTube.
[00:53.960] And this playlist is open for everyone so you can add your own videos to it.
[00:58.800] And when you add it, then it will show up on the bitwig.community page.
[01:03.520] So pretty easy.
[01:05.280] But today I want to show you also how you can create something self running or generative
[01:12.720] or randomized stuff in the grid.
[01:16.600] And yeah, let's try it.
[01:19.680] So the easiest way you can generate a self running patch is by just using an oscillator
[01:28.680] and maybe an envelope and then maybe a volume knob and an audio output.
[01:43.760] And the user may need to pitch this module.
[01:50.440] Ah, yeah, we need the gate.
[02:03.960] So this is the easiest way.
[02:17.160] You can draw in your gate signals here and you can draw in your notes here.
[02:23.760] But this is all pretty static.
[02:26.400] But this is the easiest way you can do this, right?
[02:30.040] I want to show you another way how you can create dynamic or randomized pitches.
[02:37.080] So we have to invent our own step sequencer, basically.
[02:41.800] And to do this, we use the dice modules here, which represent basically pitches for each
[02:50.600] And I duplicate this with three, four, five, six, seven, eight.
[02:55.480] So we have eight steps.
[02:58.760] And we need now something where we can run through each of the steps.
[03:04.840] And I use here the merge module.
[03:07.920] And when you select the merge module, you can change the inputs here on the left side.
[03:12.320] So we choose now eight.
[03:15.520] And we connect this, of course.
[03:22.360] And we use a trigger button and we can connect this trigger button to each dice module here.
[03:35.920] And every time you press this trigger button, the dice modules generate a new value, basically.
[03:44.160] So now we need something like, yeah, face in, face in.
[03:58.880] And we need not a divider, we need an counter.
[04:09.040] The counter goes to here in this one.
[04:12.560] And I choose here eight steps because we have eight steps.
[04:16.320] And we need also a gate in.
[04:18.360] So maybe use the gates here.
[04:24.000] So every time we trigger the counter, it counts up.
[04:27.480] And we choose different input here.
[04:31.680] So this is exactly an step sequencer.
[04:35.960] And with the output here, we have the pitch signal here now from the dice modules.
[04:42.320] You can go into the pitch here and also can use the trigger.
[04:51.000] And we have in all steps the same value because every time you create the dice module, it has
[04:59.000] a default value.
[05:00.000] You have to trigger it once after the creation.
[05:11.280] So we have now values all over the place, pretty high pitches, pretty low pitches.
[05:16.280] So we try to narrow it down to a consistent range.
[05:22.440] And we do this here, I think it should be in the pitches category.
[05:26.240] Yeah, we have a pitch scaler.
[05:28.620] So we go in with the values in this pitch scaler and then into the sine oscillator.
[05:34.720] And now we can choose the range and I choose A1 to A4.
[05:45.880] And with this module we say basically we want a value within this range between A1 and A4.
[05:52.960] And now it sounds more within a reasonable range, right?
[06:04.000] It's still all over the place because some notes are out of the scale.
[06:10.480] And to fix this, we use the pitch quantize here.
[06:14.040] And we hook this up between after the pitch scaler and then in front of the sine oscillator.
[06:19.880] And now we can define some of the notes we want to have in our scale.
[06:43.360] So now we have a melody within a defined set of keys or a scale.
[06:50.480] In this case here, it's A minor.
[06:54.240] And we now have this static trigger signal here.
[06:59.880] We can change this, of course, but sometimes we want to have to change this with random
[07:06.440] values or to randomize this, but you can't automate or modulate the steps here.
[07:12.820] So I'm using the triggers.
[07:17.960] And with the triggers, I can go in here with a phase signal or actually, let's use this,
[07:24.240] the phase signal of the transport.
[07:29.280] And now I can define here how many triggers I want within one phase cycle.
[07:39.240] As you can see on the left side, we have a phase going in.
[07:43.120] It ramps up.
[07:44.600] And then we have a lot of trigger signals.
[07:46.720] And in fact, it's four trigger signals within one phase.
[07:54.080] Can crank this up.
[07:57.840] And this gives us some kind of Euclidean rhythms, I think.
[08:04.160] So we can go in here to the AD with this.
[08:08.480] And let's do it.
[08:28.720] And it sounds a bit strange because the triggers are not matching with the rhythm of the step
[08:34.640] sequencer here.
[08:35.760] So the step sequencer changes with the rhythm of the gates module here.
[08:42.400] So we just delete that and use the output of the triggers for the counter.
[08:49.200] So now the steps changes in pitch with this exact same rhythm as we open the envelope
[09:12.360] So this sounds much better to me, at least.
[09:16.600] OK, now we have a small melody generator.
[09:20.480] And we also can change the rhythm at least a bit.
[09:26.720] And we clone one of these dice modules here.
[09:29.560] We trigger it also with the same trigger button.
[09:32.640] But now we go into a module later out.
[09:37.200] And with this value, we change the rhythm here.
[09:40.960] So we go up to maybe four.
[09:45.360] So now every time we hit this trigger button, we change the pitches of each step.
[09:52.080] And we also change the rhythm.
[10:13.600] But wait, there's more.
[10:14.920] We can even clone this and maybe change some of the sine wave parameters here.
[10:25.320] Because this should be fun too.
[10:37.080] And maybe also change the envelope time, decay time.
[10:54.440] OK, so we are going to add some effects.
[11:14.720] And I'm using a mod delay, of course.
[11:18.160] Delays are always nice.
[11:20.760] I'm going out of the AD here and going straight into the mod delay.
[11:27.640] And then I'm using a plant module.
[11:32.400] And I want to plant the original signal with the mod delay signal.
[11:38.000] We have a try and wet knob basically here.
[12:01.160] And you already know what we can do here.
[12:03.200] We can modulate this too.
[12:09.920] Go for one and go up to maybe six.
[12:16.920] And also randomize the feedback and maybe also randomize the plant just a bit.
[12:46.760] OK, so this is already pretty interesting.
[13:06.080] So every time we press the trigger button, you generate a new melody, you generate a
[13:10.120] new different rhythm, you generate a new different delay setting.
[13:16.400] And it always sounds a bit interesting.
[13:19.240] And you can use this not only to trigger it manually, but you can also maybe use the gates
[13:28.400] here, make it longer and go here for maybe 64.
[13:41.640] And we use one of these phase scalars and we go with the phase out into the scalar.
[13:50.920] So we have the same rhythm basically.
[13:57.760] And go in here, deactivate this, and now we can change the speed or the division of this.
[14:05.360] So go for four.
[14:08.200] And now every time at the end here, we trigger our generation or our randomization of the
[14:17.280] pitches and the settings.
[14:41.440] Or you can make it totally crazy and go just for two steps, something like this and change
[14:50.840] it every time.
[15:06.920] But it's too randomized, I think.
[15:10.560] But you get it.
[15:12.200] I just want to show you what you can do.
[15:18.040] Yeah, make this a bit slower.
[15:31.760] Okay, maybe let's try and add some bass drum to it.
[15:35.640] And then we want to, I want to close down this tutorial.
[15:40.080] I just want to give you some examples how we can create something generative in the grid.
[15:47.120] So we have a sine wave here.
[15:48.960] We need an AD and we need a volume.
[16:01.760] And we need maybe some gates.
[16:16.280] But instead of, yeah, the stone is too high, so to generate the bass drum we have to go
[16:21.560] much lower.
[16:23.520] But instead of fiddling around with the knobs here at the bottom of the oscillator, I am
[16:27.560] going straight for the pitch module and can define which key I want.
[17:06.080] Okay, this sounds fine.
[17:09.160] And maybe also modulate here the pitch a bit so we go for seven semitones.
[17:24.200] And to give it a bit more crit, you can also use some kind of noise.
[17:32.080] I use white noise and go in here and face the start, basically the sine wave.
[17:50.200] Really nice.
[17:52.160] So at the end I am going to create some hi hats.
[18:03.520] And one hi pass would be nice at the end here.
[18:40.440] And one hi pass would be cool.
[19:28.280] Yeah, Stratus is the best for hats.
[20:25.280] Yeah, I think I'm gonna delete this.
[20:28.080] So let's select everything and hit delete.
[20:36.080] And we have to start again.
[20:37.580] So this is just one example how you can create something generative or randomized in the grid.
[20:45.380] So all I want you to do is go into the grid to Bitwig Studio, create something inside the grid, try out some of the stuff I just shown you in this video
[20:55.880] and create a recording, screen recording of your creation, maybe something like 10 minutes or so when it's good.
[21:03.880] Upload it to YouTube and add it to the list.
[21:07.080] And then we have maybe a nice collection of content of Bitwig Studio and the grid playing nice generative music would be pretty interesting.
[21:19.080] So that's it for this video.
[21:21.080] Thanks for watching. Tell me what you think and what you miss, what I didn't explained very well.
[21:28.080] And yeah, until the next time. See you and bye.