Tags: posts polarity-music Bitwig Note-FX Chords Synthwave Automation Polysynth

Creating Unique Chord Progressions with NoteFX in Bitwig Studio

Tutorial | Mon Dec 20 2021 00:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

In this video, I showed some ways to create court versions with the NoteFX devices of Bitwig Studio. I demonstrated how to use the diatonic transpose to bring chords to a certain scale, and how to use the octave wrapper to move notes within an octave range. I also showed how to use the multi note to create chords with different amounts of modulation and how to mix major and minor chords together. Finally, I showed how to use a macro knob to create inversions with one knob.

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Questions & Answers

Maybe you dont watch the video, here are some important takeaways:

How can I create court versions in Bitwig Studio?

You can create court versions in Bitwig Studio using the NoteFX devices and by experimenting with the Multi Note tool. You can also use the Octave Wrapper to pitch notes up or down to get a more interesting chord progression. Additionally, you can use macros to modulate notes and create inversions, or use the Key Filter to mix major and minor chords together.

What is the Octave Wrapper?

The Octave Wrapper is a NoteFX device that allows you to define a target octave (between C3 and C4, for example) and pitch any notes outside of that octave up or down by 12 semitones. This is a useful way to create more interesting chord progressions.

How can I use macros to create court inversions?

You can use macros to modulate the notes of a chord to create court inversions. First, create a macro knob and assign it to the first note in the chord. Then, assign the same macro knob to the second note, and so on. Finally, save the macro settings as a default preset so that the same knob settings are applied


This is what im talking about in this video. The text is transcribed by AI, so it might not be perfect. If you find any mistakes, please let me know.
You can also click on the timestamps to jump to the right part of the video, which should be helpful.

[00:00.000] Welcome back to another video on this channel.
[00:03.020] Today it's the same topic as the last video.
[00:05.380] It's about court versions and how you can come up
[00:07.880] with some court versions at all
[00:10.040] with the NoteFX devices of Bitwig Studio.
[00:12.760] I also got a lot of nice comments on my last video
[00:15.640] and also some new ideas maybe for how you can create
[00:20.960] inversions for some of these courts.
[00:23.360] And I want to share some more tricks.
[00:25.440] So let's start the video and have some fun.
[00:27.800] Okay, so let's say we have an instrument track
[00:30.920] here with the polysynth on it.
[00:32.720] And we can create here a, yeah, note clip.
[00:37.520] And we can create some notes in here.
[00:43.360] Maybe.
[00:47.720] Okay, like this.
[00:53.000] Maybe you make this a bit shorter and it's too long.
[00:55.640] And then we use a moody note
[01:01.200] and create a chord out of it.
[01:02.840] For instance, three, seven.
[01:09.400] And then we use the diatonic transpose
[01:11.080] to bring this all to a scale, the sharp minor.
[01:18.440] Okay, that sounds nice.
[01:19.760] And when we add here a new instrument track
[01:21.800] and record everything we basically create here
[01:24.600] with the moody note and record this to a separate track.
[01:27.960] So input here, polysynth,
[01:29.600] polysynth, output, record.
[01:36.240] You will see that we have here basically created
[01:39.640] a chord progression.
[01:41.920] But the chord shape is always the same, right?
[01:45.200] Of course, we transpose to the root note down
[01:47.840] and the diatonic transpose
[01:49.600] or transpose some of the notes to the grand scale.
[01:53.600] But besides that, not much happened.
[01:56.680] So sometimes you want to step in here
[01:58.880] and use the recorded version of this chord progression
[02:03.960] and just move certain notes, maybe an octave lower.
[02:09.600] Bring all the notes closer together.
[02:12.080] So this would sound like this here.
[02:13.800] If we bring this up here, let's see what this is.
[02:18.320] Right, it sounds much different than this version here.
[02:31.320] So to do this programmically inside the pane here,
[02:35.200] basically the note effects device is a bit hard
[02:38.320] or is, yeah, a bit harder.
[02:40.360] Maybe you can step in here and use a macro
[02:42.800] and then pitch some of the notes here,
[02:47.040] 12 semitones up or down, right?
[02:49.480] This is one possibility.
[02:52.280] What you also can do is you can use a note wrapper
[02:55.480] and I use most of the times one by its isle.
[03:00.120] You produce one and you can change here
[03:02.680] which octave you want to have active
[03:05.680] or the target octave as it says here.
[03:09.240] And this basically means that we have probably,
[03:13.680] I think this means here C3 if I'm not wrong.
[03:20.040] We have only the octave between C3 here and C4 active.
[03:25.120] Every note that is outside of the scale
[03:28.600] or out of this octave here gets either pitched down
[03:32.520] when it's above or pitched up when it's below C3.
[03:37.240] So this means when we create your subcords
[03:40.000] and some of these notes, as you can see here,
[03:42.920] are outside of the target scale or target octave,
[03:48.960] these notes are getting moved up or down by 12 semitones.
[03:54.000] And so this sounds like this now.
[04:00.160] Sounds different, right?
[04:01.080] Then instead of this.
[04:05.400] Okay.
[04:09.880] And this sounds, of course, much better if you use more notes
[04:12.720] so the possibility that some of these notes
[04:16.560] are out of the scale are much, much higher.
[04:18.640] So for instance, if I go for 10 here.
[04:20.720] Okay, so when we record this here and compare it to this.
[04:45.240] Okay, so now here,
[04:46.400] which to track the both together.
[04:52.400] So this is a bit different.
[04:53.840] As you can see here, this note here
[04:56.720] in our first code is now pitched up to this position, right?
[05:00.880] To get into the octave between C3 and C4.
[05:07.240] And this one is also pitched up here in this version.
[05:12.440] And this one also.
[05:13.640] So we create basically some kind of inversions
[05:18.160] for some of these chords just by using octave wrapper
[05:21.680] and having just basically nailed down
[05:26.000] the target octave to just everything between C3 and C4
[05:31.280] and everything that's outside of it
[05:32.960] will get pitched down or pitched up.
[05:35.880] So it's an easy way of creating kind of inversions
[05:40.880] or more interesting chord progressions
[05:44.160] by just using an octave wrapper.
[05:46.000] And I put the link to the octave wrapper into the description
[05:49.760] below so we can download it, of course, it's for free.
[05:52.840] And also a link to X-Isles YouTube channel.
[05:59.160] Another interesting way of creating some chord progressions
[06:01.960] is sometimes you can just go here with the multi note,
[06:06.680] completely nuts and say,
[06:08.640] this from here to here are three semitones.
[06:12.480] From here to here are four semitones.
[06:15.240] And here we go back to three again.
[06:17.680] So 7 plus 3 is 10.
[06:20.200] Then four again, we are now on 14.
[06:23.880] Then three again with 17.
[06:29.000] And then four again, we go here to 21.
[06:33.920] And then three again, which then was 24.
[06:40.440] So now we have to remove to the octave wrapper
[06:42.840] because we don't need it.
[06:44.200] And this is how it sounds now.
[06:49.440] And when we record this, it looks like this.
[06:57.320] We have a lot of notes and it's probably way too much
[07:01.000] for chord progression.
[07:03.120] But what we can do now is we can just remove unused notes
[07:07.920] by using a note filter like this.
[07:16.880] And now we allow only notes between maybe C3
[07:21.200] and let's see here, A sharp three, okay.
[07:30.360] Okay, and we keep these notes.
[07:32.560] Everything else above below gets removed.
[07:37.360] It looks like this.
[07:44.160] So we get basically here notes that are close together
[07:48.760] because they are on the same space.
[07:52.040] Everything between C3 and A sharp three.
[07:56.640] So you can use this basically to create
[07:59.520] chord progression with notes that are way closer together.
[08:04.520] We also, also something, a record, something like this.
[08:35.320] Yeah, and it's open for experimentation.
[08:37.480] So it's not like you can only use C3, A sharp three
[08:42.040] can also make this way bigger
[08:45.920] or different region like this.
[08:51.720] Right, you get different cutouts from these chord shapes.
[09:05.880] You can also change the chord shapes.
[09:07.520] You don't need to use this approach that I used here
[09:11.520] with three, four, three, four, three, four.
[09:14.040] You can also use a complete scale.
[09:16.960] For instance, C minor scale or C major scale
[09:20.960] and then go from that or use your own scales.
[09:25.880] Something I mentioned already in the video before
[09:28.320] is that you can create some macros here
[09:33.080] and maybe make it as a default preset if you want to
[09:36.800] and insert maybe here this as a bipolar macro knob
[09:43.000] and then add this here to the first note
[09:48.600] plus 12, which is one octave.
[09:50.360] So you pull this all the way up here.
[09:53.160] Basically this note, one octave higher.
[09:55.200] If you pull this down, you have one octave lower.
[09:58.680] So you can create inversions with this.
[10:02.720] So maybe call this note one.
[10:06.640] Make it same with this knob here.
[10:13.440] Same with this knob.
[10:14.880] And yeah, all this note two, all this note three.
[10:23.520] Of course, we don't need all the notes.
[10:25.520] Maybe the first three is completely fine.
[10:29.040] And then say save this as a default preset.
[10:31.600] So you have it basically every time you load this device
[10:37.160] up, you have the same mapping
[10:39.880] and then you can modulate this here.
[10:41.880] And yeah, you can switch between the octaves.
[10:49.880] Let's see.
[10:53.480] Oh, we have to remove this here first.
[10:55.560] We can modulate this here while these thoughts are changing
[11:09.360] and then get different inversions for these notes.
[11:16.360] So another strange way of doing chord progressions is
[11:21.360] maybe you create here instead of using notes as root notes
[11:29.000] you may be starting with just using the same note
[11:32.640] over and over again.
[11:33.880] You don't need to, but you can.
[11:36.360] And using your multi note starting maybe
[11:40.840] with the chord shape of a minor chord,
[11:45.680] something like this.
[11:47.280] And using one macro knob here,
[11:51.080] when you turn this macro knob up here to 100%,
[11:55.560] each of these notes change,
[11:57.760] but in a different rank or amount.
[12:02.000] For instance, maybe you go with the root note here,
[12:05.160] one up and this one goes down maybe by eight.
[12:11.840] And this one goes down by maybe five.
[12:16.280] It's one goes down by 12.
[12:22.520] So I feel like this.
[12:25.880] And then you can change this here, maybe with the timbre,
[12:31.560] chord so you can dial in here with the timbre settings
[12:37.840] each note differently, right?
[12:41.440] And then we use the diatronic principle here
[12:43.720] to bring this down to a scale that makes sense.
[13:05.600] Okay.
[13:06.360] And maybe when we, to audio track to MIDI track,
[13:10.720] and we record this here,
[13:12.040] you can see how it looks like.
[13:22.080] Right, so we have more like
[13:25.240] these unusual chord shapes here that are more like based
[13:28.800] on mathematical ways of creating
[13:33.000] because we're just using a multiple
[13:35.600] different amounts of modulation for each of these notes.
[13:38.800] And when we turn this macro knob up here,
[13:41.560] each of these notes travel in different speeds
[13:44.920] or in different amounts over the piano roll
[13:49.440] and you get these unusual chord shapes, right?
[13:52.480] So we still have here a minor chord, minor seventh chord
[13:56.120] and we have here D sharp minor for the key filter, right?
[14:00.280] So we play completely diatonic to the scale of D sharp minor.
[14:05.280] So we can do this here and maybe start instead of D,
[14:12.440] we start on the fifth here.
[14:23.480] Maybe super simple.
[14:24.800] Oh, maybe we use an operator.
[14:40.440] So this is diatonic, right?
[14:41.760] So kind of boring.
[14:44.480] It's okay.
[14:46.080] What you can do is you can disable here the root note
[14:49.480] and play this in minor,
[14:53.800] put this here into a note of X layer,
[14:56.560] but also here the key filter in there.
[14:58.960] And then we duplicate this layer here
[15:01.040] and this time we disable the rest of the notes
[15:03.800] and enable here the root note again,
[15:06.160] but this time we pitch it to D sharp major
[15:10.800] and also maybe use here one octave lower for the bass
[15:15.800] so it sounds like this.
[15:32.720] We'll get something like this.
[15:36.080] Maybe I record this here so we can compare it.
[15:39.120] So input, Polysent.
[15:54.840] But this is something and then we go here
[15:58.040] and switch this to major and this to minor
[16:01.760] and then record again, right?
[16:13.320] This is now a different chord version here.
[16:18.160] And some of the notes are different in here than in here.
[16:21.960] So this is here C sharp four, this is D four, right?
[16:26.640] Here we have D sharp four, we have here F four.
[16:31.080] So it's also a different field, you can hear it,
[16:35.400] but we basically mix major and minor together here.
[16:53.920] Don't feel like this so we can also go in here
[16:57.000] and use the octave wrapper from the first example.
[17:01.880] Let's listen to this.
[17:16.920] So it's also something you can do,
[17:19.560] just mix major and minor together
[17:21.680] and see what comes out of it.
[17:23.400] Maybe you can also hear it's able to seventh for instance
[17:29.400] and use the tier, right?
[17:31.760] So mix different things here for major and minor.
[17:42.560] It's also a different field.
[17:43.880] That's it for this video, thanks for watching.
[17:46.520] Please if you like, if you like the video, subscribe to the channel,
[17:58.240] click the small bell icon and I see you in the next video.
[18:01.720] Thanks for watching and bye.