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Creating Cosmic Drift - Generative-2023-04-03 Bitwig Grid Preset

Tutorial | Apr 03, 2023

In this video, I demonstrate how to create a generative music patch in Bitwig using the Polygrid module. I start by generating a melody using a step module and modulating the pitch with the dice module. I also use a quantizer to ensure the melody is played in a specific scale. To create percussion, I use a noise module and trigger it with a step module as well, using a filter and distortion to shape the sound. I then combine the melody and percussion patches together and also add a bassline using a filter and octaver. Finally, I show how to export the MIDI data from the patch and use it in another plugin like Polycent. The patch is available for download in the video description.

Questions & Answers

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

How do you export the melodies from the Polygrid?

To export the melodies from the Polygrid, you first need to connect a note out module to both the triggers and the melody modules. Then, you can use a polysynth with the Polygrid output connected to its MIDI input. You can filter out the desired MIDI channel and route it to a new audio track for recording.

How can you create percussive sounds in the Grid?

To create percussive sounds in the Grid, you can use a noise generator as input and shape it with an envelope and a filter. You can then use a step sequencer to trigger the percussive sounds and add effects like distortion or phaser to shape the sound further.

How can you use the shuffle feature in the Grid?

The shuffle feature in the Grid allows you to add swing and syncopation to your patterns. To use it, click on the global shuffle button in the Grid inspector and adjust the shuffle amount. This will add delayed notes and accentuate certain rhythms based on the shuffle amount.

How can you save presets in Bitwig's Grid?

To save presets in Bitwig's Grid, you can simply right-click on the module you want to save and select "save as preset". You can then give it a name and save it to your desired location. Presets can be recalled by dragging them from the file browser onto a module in the Grid.


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] So after feeling, actually nobody is really interested in new bitwig content at the moment.
[00:07.320] If it's not about the new bitwig version, if it's not about 4.5 or 5.0 or whatever it
[00:14.000] is, I mean, something is coming, probably.
[00:20.280] So I thought maybe I'll give it, yeah, I make some kind of grid patch I haven't made
[00:27.560] in a while, some generative stuff, creating something in the grid to get some music out
[00:32.040] of it.
[00:33.040] Have some fun and, yeah, let's see how this goes.
[00:37.840] So I'm taking here a polygrid, of course, and I'm going down to 85 ppm and the loop is active.
[00:52.080] It also grid patch itself is a mono mode, so this is really important to itself playing.
[00:58.320] So now we can create something in here and I think I'm going for the pitch generation
[01:04.760] or for the melody generation.
[01:06.000] I'm going for a value, nope, this one here, this one gets the pitch else.
[01:15.400] And the pitch is generated by a step mode.
[01:19.200] And the big benefit is that you can use the dice module here, generate new steps and
[01:24.480] also it's safe to the presets over to your project.
[01:27.120] So when you save this project with a file name and you recall it or reload it then it's
[01:33.000] actually the same melody again.
[01:34.880] So it's safe to the project, this is really important to know.
[01:38.920] And then we just modulate the modules with it.
[01:45.480] We get when we hit play, we get different values here over time, bam, we can even go further
[02:00.360] and increase its steps to 64, just randomizes again, nice.
[02:09.600] So now that we have this, we probably also want to narrow down the range with attenuate,
[02:17.640] something like this.
[02:19.440] So right, so we only have a few steps, so it's within one octave maybe, maybe go to 20%
[02:28.400] something like this.
[02:29.400] I mean we could go down here and pull down the amount, which would be the same 20%.
[02:36.240] Yeah, we could do that instead of using this attenuate, it's basically the same thing.
[02:43.720] So the modulation amount is changing and then we go into a quantizer.
[02:53.520] So we end up on a scale.
[02:59.040] And we also going to use it transpose because when we have you all these things selected
[03:09.320] and we actually have everything at zero, everything at zero means we are on the root node, on
[03:18.400] the fundamental node, in this case here it's C. But we want to change the scale to D sharp
[03:26.400] minor, right? So we end up here on C sharp because C is not available, so it switches up
[03:32.920] to the next free slot.
[03:36.480] But we want to start actually on D sharp minor, so we pitch this up by three semitones right
[03:40.400] from C to C sharp D and D sharp then.
[03:45.480] So now zero is basically here D sharp and then every time we have a zero in here probably
[03:51.600] at the start of the melody, we end up with the, or we have at least the root node in there.
[04:00.240] So when we pull down everything here, we bring in off the root node of the scale, which
[04:04.200] is important sometimes.
[04:06.440] Okay, so now that we have this, we use a sample and hold and yeah, we want to create some
[04:15.920] triggers.
[04:18.520] So we trigger this here with the triggers module over two, sixteen node grid, something
[04:28.360] uneven nine and then a clock one t and then we trigger the sample and hold.
[04:37.280] So now we get here some nodes exactly in a nice rhythm and we can also use an AD later
[04:44.520] on for that to trigger that also disable the record, we don't need that and let's try
[04:51.240] it out how it sounds with the sign, sign mode here.
[04:56.280] This is the pitch input, we don't need the pre-cord and this is going to be here the audio
[05:02.520] input and out the out, cool, now we need a mod delay, use a blend, so this is dry
[05:32.160] signal, wet signal and the U meter and let's use a volume knob here, we call it up,
[05:54.720] let's call it up, let's go down minus five, so we already have a nice melody playing,
[06:05.320] we can just here randomize this, maybe do this here a bit shorter, maybe sixteen, so what
[06:21.960] I'm doing here basically is kind of simulating what you do with the vice-meister and steppic
[06:27.920] VST, so steppic also has, when we use steppic, in here you can basically change the pitch
[06:38.920] over here, you can randomize it, there's actually the randomize button here, it's that now,
[06:50.960] we can randomize the pitch here and then you can also randomize the octaves, we have one
[06:56.320] octave down, one octave up and so on, right, so this also this brings in here a lot of movement
[07:02.360] into the melody in my opinion, we do that or simulate that, so this is the second step
[07:09.680] smart here, also go maybe to uneven number five, this one is sixteen and this one is five,
[07:17.880] as you can see it kind of creates some pulley meter, pulley rhythm and we call this octaves,
[07:28.240] and this one here is pitchers, yes, and here we bring in an octave on module, maybe here,
[07:39.200] pull this down to minus one, of course I want to have it one octave lower, and then
[07:52.640] we modulate here the octave of it, so feel like this, and maybe this is not the best way
[08:13.920] of doing it, but I kind of like it, you probably also want to have here a sample and hold
[08:18.320] that some point between the value output and here the modulation target, but for me it
[08:24.260] sounds fine so far, kind of like that you have a pitch modulation in between the triggers,
[08:36.760] we can see here, we have some fluctuations in here, kind of brings in some movement,
[08:52.080] okay, so let's use another one here, let's slow this down 8 notes, because also to uneven
[09:04.680] number 12 maybe, and then use this here to modulate something, you can see or you can hear
[09:19.840] that it brings in a lot of different, different rising into the sound, and also with this
[09:30.360] depth module for the attack maybe, maybe use the smoothing here, we can see here we have
[09:42.040] a glide in the parameters, maybe 100%, randomize, also slow it down, off note, so it moves
[09:53.640] slowly over time, also uneven number maybe 18, so it doesn't overlap all the time, so you
[10:03.000] have different modulations for different pitches, and it kind of overlaps and brings in a lot
[10:10.320] of variety over time, without getting too complicated, too complex, okay, so let's try
[10:26.680] the chorus, slow modulation speed, you want to have this front of the delay, you want
[10:56.440] to have tri-signal and complete separated FX section here, okay, so let's try here, what
[11:12.200] else, let me try maybe XP filter, something a band pass could help, maybe also in front
[11:36.000] like this, so this one here is a tag time, we call it tag, and this one is horse skill, nice,
[11:58.560] and here, 20 steps, randomize, use smoothing, then go from maybe 120 Hz,
[12:28.560] it brings also in a lot of different movements, I kind of like it, so let's make this here
[12:43.640] a bit more compact, nice little melody match, okay, so let's
[13:13.560] try and create some kind of percussion thing, I also want to show you this with the percussion,
[13:21.320] because I really like to use the chorus devices or the phaser device for that, maybe bring
[13:29.480] this down a band minus 8, it's 20 for now, so for the percussion we use maybe noise as
[13:43.640] input, AD, AD, don't need a pre-cord, it's pretty short envelope here, let's use a filter
[14:02.480] here, down key filter maybe, also no pre-cord, band pass, let's use the 8 one here, 2040B
[14:11.320] octave band pass, go in there, use the output, and we probably also want to use distortion,
[14:20.680] with some kind of clipper, it's over sample, and let's do the same trick here, trick us,
[14:40.360] here we trigger this, we want to use different rhythm, I mean 716, so step more to the
[15:06.920] step, so maybe we start with the kick drum at around G0, and this one is drums, let's
[15:27.880] go for 6, 0 is probably the kick drum, let's mute this for a moment here,
[15:58.840] and yeah, let's try out the phaser plus, and what I like to do is to use the value input here,
[16:13.640] for this input check here, so now this becomes disabled, so it's not an adf oh anymore,
[16:19.000] you can choose where to go here with frequency, let's increase the feedback,
[16:30.200] let's try out pink noise,
[17:00.920] it would be nice to have some hi-ads on top of, maybe let's try the different filter SPF,
[17:14.680] so we can use instead of this drums thing here, we use maybe cream, randomize,
[17:44.680] maybe different saturate, I have a different ad clip, sounds a bit different,
[18:14.680] let's try out an ad at the end, let's trigger this with the same output here,
[18:45.640] yeah, I want to have some noise on top, let's see SPF,
[18:55.400] bypass and we just take here the noise and filter this, it's different trigger thing here,
[19:06.200] different ad, maybe faster, this one here,
[19:36.600] got six here, and it's called this phaser,
[19:46.280] and just trying out, I've no idea what I'm doing actually,
[19:50.920] just trying to find some nice sounds, um, heads,
[19:55.080] let's make this faster, let's try six,
[20:25.400] so volume up, let's turn this down,
[20:30.520] make the small compact amp from the melody here,
[21:00.600] so we have not two of these blocks,
[21:07.000] let's, I would be nice to have it in the same, same space,
[21:27.960] nice, that's Tetris,
[21:40.920] so maybe we need some kind of bass sound or something below that,
[22:01.400] we can just pull this down here,
[22:16.200] yeah, let's pull this down and use it also as a bass,
[22:26.360] yeah, 5th and 5th, 5th is enough,
[22:39.320] so now we can play around with this, what's that, that's the, um, trumps cut off,
[22:59.960] oh it's the melody, different pitch, different octaves,
[23:14.920] so more zeros in here means basically the melody has more like more plucks in it,
[23:31.080] you pull up your older attacks, basically you get these,
[23:35.160] longer fade-in sounds with longer tech times,
[23:48.120] let's draw some effect here on the, on the master and let's draw out my fancy auto
[24:07.800] so that we'll plug in,
[24:20.760] so let me think for a moment here, what can we do else,
[24:51.080] let's try out some feedback here,
[24:59.720] maybe it's already complex enough, maybe it could be nice to have some bass in there,
[25:11.320] so let's start with the sign,
[25:27.480] we can use the pictures here, and suppose it would be also nice,
[25:31.160] but to use a different sample and hold, and to use, yeah, we also have to use
[25:40.600] pitch quantizer there, and we need to trigger this, different rhythm,
[25:52.760] so we get the notes here, and we use an octaver, we put this down to the octaves,
[26:03.880] don't need the pre-codes here, we need this,
[26:06.680] this, this, we don't need the pre-codes here,
[26:17.640] we need this and an output, so now we have a nice bass in there,
[26:47.640] maybe a pitch mod, I'll take this, I actually am,
[27:18.440] that's too much, I'll tune you right, let's scale this,
[27:26.600] trot, relative so we can make the bass a bit longer here,
[27:56.920] yeah, yeah, I want to modulate here, this trigger module,
[28:11.720] step mod, base, yeah,
[28:41.800] let's bring some front here,
[28:52.840] so we basically end up with a sample and hold after the octaver,
[28:57.320] but now it's the same thing here, maybe pitch it up one octave,
[29:03.000] like this 15 steps, so maybe 10, so sometimes we end up one octave higher,
[29:15.960] let's see how the sounds with the wave table,
[29:32.920] oh, let's hear this, what a session here,
[29:46.600] it's basically like using this kind of low pass filter here, because only at the attack time
[30:00.440] we have here, we have basically overtones, okay, let's try the different pitches here,
[30:17.080] so nice, here's the ballhalla I put on to a transient split, so we put the ballhalla only
[30:30.760] here, on the tonal part, right, so now we can hear, with all the attack, attacks in there,
[30:46.680] so now we have the ballhalla only on the tonal part, which makes it sound much cleaner,
[31:02.600] nice, kind of like it, sounds funky, and yeah, funky ambience, actually,
[31:19.560] let's see how we can, okay, let's try to do this a bit better,
[31:38.360] let's have fun with bass, because we have actually a possibility to use the
[31:46.200] global shuffle, we can bring in more funk,
[31:57.640] that's actually too much funk, so let's see,
[32:16.680] the new macro here, all different modules, so this is the volume for the up,
[32:28.760] let's see, let's go, let's see, let's see, let's go, let's see,
[32:48.040] These are the cushions.
[33:08.120] Okay, nice.
[33:27.880] We'd be so nice if you actually could use a dice button or modulate dice button in
[33:33.040] a bit quick so you can just press 1 button and it generates all the step modules at once,
[33:38.000] but it's not possible.
[33:39.960] Maybe it's something for the next version, maybe get that.
[34:07.320] Yeah, I like it actually, so the most, yeah, the next question would be probably from
[34:14.000] people in the comments, how can I export this here, how can I export the melodies for
[34:20.480] instance, right?
[34:21.480] So we can take a note out, let's bring this here together, so the melody gets it
[34:37.280] the note out, so we get here the triggers and we get the melody and we also can use
[34:52.960] a different MIDI channel, so melody is channel 1, maybe, or channel 2, cushions are channel
[35:01.320] 1, let's get the triggers here, there's actually no real pitch here for anything, so what
[35:11.800] you get, you get the trigger basically on C3, I don't know what trump plug-ins used
[35:17.480] probably C1 for the kick drum right, and default velocity by 80 here is also nice, and the
[35:30.720] bass also gets here and output, and the melody is, yeah, right, it's actually without
[35:49.320] the pitch mode here, let's only take this one out, and this one goes to 3, right?
[35:57.080] So now we get basically after, we get here, we got all the MIDI data out, and we can
[36:06.400] use, for instance, a polyscent here, maybe mute this, polyscent, and we can, instead of
[36:17.400] using the MIDI input here, we can use the polygrid output, and yeah, put this on, so we get
[36:30.160] all the notes, we need the channel filter, of course we want to only have channel 2, I
[36:36.240] think, actually channel 2, now this channel 2, yeah, channel 2, and this one, it's only,
[36:53.760] now let's channel 2 as I guess, and let's see, channel 2 to 1, no we want to have from
[37:07.680] 2 to 1, yeah, so now we have a mapping basically, using only channel 2 coming from polygrid, mapping
[37:17.400] it to channel 1, so now we have the melody in here, you can also go into the polygrid here,
[37:38.120] and do some of the expression settings, let me see, do we have actually here some, that's
[37:47.600] the pitch, could maybe use this one here, oscq, yeah, we have here the values from that,
[37:54.800] so there's a new values slider, and can take, take this here for the, this is pressure,
[38:11.400] this is tumber, and then put this out here to tumber, it's also on channel 2, and now we
[38:19.760] can use the tumber and modulator, cut off with this, and now it's kind of complicated,
[38:28.880] but you can do it if you want, you know, and then of course you can record the output
[38:40.360] here then, so these are basically the notes, if you want to output here different audio
[38:57.800] signals, then it's a bit more complicated, you have to use modulators and modulators
[39:06.920] here, and then a DC offset device, to modulate that, that's a bit more complicated to show
[39:16.800] the moment here, okay, it's too complicated, it's already too long, it's already for the
[39:31.200] 40 minutes, but you have to basically put here a DC offset device in here, and then you
[39:38.280] take a modulator in here, take the audio output, where is it, this one here, right, you take
[39:48.360] the audio modulation, or the audio rate modulation here, and then you modulate DC offset in here
[39:53.760] and the output, and then you stack it up multiple times, because you have multiple channels,
[40:00.280] and then you can route it to a different audio track, if you actually want to see a tutorial
[40:06.840] about this, I can do one, but it's basically the same as using external VSTs in the grid.
[40:36.400] Maybe the latest here, not delay, by 4 notes, or 4 or 16 notes, let's see how the sounds
[41:03.840] of the kick drum, speed this up, and then choose a side train,
[41:31.280] okay, kick input nice, maybe too fast, so we can go in here and make this a bit longer,
[42:00.000] yeah, it could be nice start to a track, so I'm saving this here as
[42:28.080] I'm saving this as preset, where you download 20-23, and then yeah, you can download it
[42:48.280] in the description if you want to, okay, I think that's it for this video, I hope you
[42:53.600] learned something, at least a little bit, and if you have questions, of course, ask in
[42:59.840] the comments, and you can download this page in the description, of course, and try it
[43:03.920] out for yourself in Bitwig, and thanks for watching, and see you in the next one, bye!