Tags: posts polarity-music Bitwig Arrangement Micro-Arrangement Global-Modulators Workflow-Tips Modulation

Creating Micro Arrangements with Bitwig Studio's Global Modulators

Tutorial | Apr 27, 2023

In this video, I recap my previous videos on replacing VST plugins and efficient clip launcher workflows. I also share my tips on using the clip launcher and global modulators for micro-arrangement. By extending the life cycle of clips with operators and modulators, I demonstrate how to create interesting arrangements without having to draw everything in the arranger. I recommend creating a template with pre-set global modulators for easy use in future projects. The core idea is to make more out of one bar loops and to use modulation to do the heavy lifting in arrangement.

You can watch the Video on Youtube - support me on Patreon

Questions & Answers

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

What is the mindset behind micro-arrangement in Bitwig Studio?

The mindset behind micro-arrangement in Bitwig Studio is to make more out of a clip than there actually is. It's about extending the loop time or loop information of a clip, or to make it interesting for the listener for a longer time. The core idea is to create an arrangement in the clip launcher before arranging in the main arranger using global modulators to create interesting modulations and device chains.

How can you extend the loop time of a clip using operators in Bitwig Studio?

By using operators in Bitwig Studio, you can extend the loop time of a clip. For instance, when using the inspector, you can select certain notes and extend their life cycle. You can also add global modulators to the clip to keep it interesting for a longer time. This way, you can make more out of a clip than there actually is.

How can you use global modulators in Bitwig Studio for micro-arrangement?

The global modulators in Bitwig Studio can be used for micro-arrangement by attaching them to the device chain of a clip. For instance, you can create a curve curve modulator, pull it up, and reset the curve. Then go to the bar subdivision and select the last quarter note, and use it to bring in a riser at the end of every bar. You can also use global modulators with longer cycle times of 4, 8, 16, or even 32 bars, and attach them to different parameters to create a variety of modulations over time.

How can you make your life easier with arrangement using the clip launcher in Bitwig Studio?

You can make your life easier with arrangement using the clip launcher in Bitwig Studio by creating a preset or template with all the global modulators in place. This will allow you to extend the lifetime of clips in the clip launcher and make more out of 1-bar loops, with modulators for interesting device chains and modulations. This way, you can create a micro-arrangement in the clip launcher before arranging in the main arranger, making your workflow more efficient and less time-consuming.


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] Hey folks, welcome back. I want to recap first at the start of this video the last two videos
[00:06.800] because also in this video it's about arrangement or micro arrangement. I don't know how to call it.
[00:12.800] So here are my recent videos. The last two, right, replace these plugins in Bitwig. It's about
[00:18.240] replacing endless smile and final boost these kinds of VST plugins where you can create sweeps
[00:27.040] at the end of maybe of 16 bars or 32 bars to have these kind of transitioning sounds into a drop maybe.
[00:36.400] And then it's here efficient clip launcher workflow tips and tricks and so on. It's about my clip
[00:42.640] launcher workflow, how I use the clip launcher here, some tips and tricks for hotkeys. Now I want to
[00:48.560] add something to this video. So here in on the last video in this video I showed you basically that I
[00:55.680] can select your clip and then I hit tap and then I see basically here my note information. I also
[01:03.200] have here the modulation inside and also I can see the device chain down here, right. And the
[01:12.080] problem was that I needed to use page up, page down to switch to the right or to the current
[01:18.800] chain of the clip here, right. So there's a trick to that. There's of course in the settings and
[01:23.920] option here if you go to settings then behavior and then you can see down here select tracks when
[01:29.920] selecting clips in clip launcher. So this means if you put a check mark on here every time you select
[01:37.680] the clip the device chain changes to this track, right. If you switch this off like I did in my last
[01:46.480] video, you can select here all the clips and nothing happens down here, right. You have to
[01:51.760] switch the track separately from selecting here the clips. So this is important for this workflow,
[02:00.560] I think. So using this check mark here selecting clips in clip launcher and the settings behavior,
[02:06.640] it's pretty nice actually to use to just select your clip and then it select automatically
[02:12.080] also the track. Sometimes it's not, it's actually a bad workflow. I don't know which circumstance,
[02:20.160] but sometimes you don't want to do that, but for editing here all the clips in the clip launcher,
[02:26.720] it's pretty nice to have. Just a tab, have everything notes related in here, also automation down here
[02:33.040] and the device chain on here. So it's nice all of you actually. Okay, this is what I wanted to add
[02:39.760] basically to the chips tricks video. I also put a comment under this video and yeah, pinned comment
[02:46.880] basically tell you exactly that. So the information is also in here under this video in the comments.
[02:54.880] Then also here about this final boost and endless smile, it's basically about arrangement in the
[03:02.320] clip launcher. Also using the clip launcher here with automation in here, it's also about
[03:08.800] arrangement. It's about micro arrangement. You create an arrangement in the clip launcher before
[03:14.400] you even start to arrange in the main arranger. And I know that a lot of people have problems with
[03:20.880] arrangements. So I thought or think about creating easy arrangement workflows for these kind of
[03:30.320] people and also for me because I'm super lazy. And I want to give you in this video some ideas
[03:36.560] what you can try out to do. So first to get you into the right mindset for this. In some of the
[03:44.720] last or recent updates of Bitwig Studio, we've got these operators in here. So let's say you have
[03:54.080] this one volume here, right? So there are two chords in there. And this one volume is pretty short.
[04:02.560] But with the operators, when you select for instance here these notes, you can say down in the
[04:07.840] inspector here, you can say I want to only want to play these three notes here on the first iteration
[04:14.480] and on the last iteration of three iterations. So basically with this operator, you extend the life
[04:23.360] or the life cycle of the clip to three bars, even though you have only one bar loop in here.
[04:30.880] So it's about extending the loop time or the loop information of this clip
[04:37.040] or to make more out of this clip than there is. So this is the mindset to make more out of a clip
[04:46.240] than there actually is. So with this mindset, you can use now the global modulators for that.
[04:55.120] So let's say you have this beat running here or this track running and you can see it's just
[05:00.160] just a loop, right? We have only here one bar loop and this is even shorter. It's a quarter note,
[05:05.760] I think that's looping here and this is also one bar. Yeah, let's also quarter loop or yeah,
[05:11.920] it's a quarter loop. So that's not much to it. And the most interesting thing that happens over time
[05:19.600] is basically this generative patch here. I also created in some of my recent videos,
[05:27.200] but there is so much step sequencing here going on changing this loop over time. It sounds like
[05:35.600] the loop is much longer than it actually is, right? So the modulation brings in a lot of
[05:42.080] quality or a lot of interesting things over time to extend this loop to make this even longer.
[05:47.360] So in some way, this is kind of a micro arrangement, right? Because it makes it interesting to
[05:53.520] listen to this one bar loop for much, much longer. And this is probably also what's all about
[06:01.280] or what what arrangement is to make actually make the listener keep listening to the track because
[06:07.440] something happens all the time. So with this mindset, we can now attach a lot of things to the
[06:18.720] global modulator panel. And the thing about this is I'm staying pretty generic. So I say I want
[06:27.440] to have a curve curve modulator on here, pull this up and just reset the curve, do this. And then
[06:36.080] I go here to bar, right? So I have one bar. So now this cycle here is just one bar. I also switched to
[06:46.720] unipolar mode. And I have now these segments here or these subdivisions. And because this is one
[06:55.360] bar, we know exactly here. This is one fourth node and so on, right? So we can say I want to
[07:05.200] have only the last fourth node here. I want to have this riser in there, right?
[07:11.040] So I can do something with this. It stays complete. Oh, I have to switch this here to sync or to
[07:17.040] groove. I go to groove. So now it stays completely in sync with the track itself with the PPM and
[07:23.600] also with the arrangement itself. So now you can do something at the end of every bar. You can
[07:29.600] rise something, right? So we can go here to the policing, maybe. And they want to open up here,
[07:35.680] the filter a little bit, just a tad. We can also call this here maybe one bar loop.
[07:42.640] We can duplicate this here and say this is, let's say, four bars, right? So we type in four bars.
[07:51.280] So now we have here, let's go to four. So this is one bar now here. Maybe go eight.
[08:01.040] So now we can do something at the end of four bars, right? This is kind of a micro-amange
[08:07.920] arrangement already. So you can bring in here things, maybe the hi-hat here, open the hi-hat.
[08:12.800] Bring this up.
[08:27.520] Maybe it's a bit longer.
[08:33.440] Okay. So you bring in basically a four bar curve or much related loop here.
[08:40.560] And even though this is only one bar or looping one bar, this modulator is much, much longer
[08:46.560] for bars. So we extend the loop, the loop time of this small little one bar loop here.
[08:55.760] Maybe we also bring out, bring in here the mix of that.
[08:59.520] Maybe the kick here, do we have here, maybe at the lathe?
[09:30.000] Okay. And you can also do something like eight bars.
[09:41.440] Something should happen at the end of eight bars. And if you actually fear that you
[09:47.440] add up on top of these modulations, so let's say you modulate your the same thing for mix
[09:53.920] for eight bar and four bar. Then at some point, four bar and eight bar basically add up a modulation
[10:00.400] value. You can do things like, let's say here, see your eight bars modulating four bars
[10:06.800] modulating and then you modulate the mix basically the double the amount.
[10:12.080] So this can be a problem sometimes. So what I do in these cases, I just use eight bar.
[10:18.320] I pull down here the modulation amount of the four bar. And with four bar, I'm modulating the
[10:25.440] amount of one bar. So they don't add up over time when they occur at the same time, right?
[10:33.280] So this way, eight bar is only modulating alone and killing basically everything that four bar
[10:40.480] does in this occasion. Now this makes sense for you.
[10:49.360] So now when we get here to the end, it's now modulating the mix, but only eight bars modulating
[10:55.120] the mix. You can see more bars basically disabled because we pull it down here the modulation
[11:01.840] amount. So now we have eight bar loop basically and we can also extend this here to 16 bars.
[11:13.200] Of course, 16 bars.
[11:19.920] So now again, we pull down eight bar here on another cent.
[11:24.560] And now we can bring in here something at the end, maybe a chain.
[11:35.600] And this is also a solution I want to give you. Let's say you want to try out what happens
[11:40.880] when 16 bar here brings in the modulation value, right? You have to wait until the dot is
[11:47.360] basically at the end and brings in the modulation value. What I do then is using just a macro here.
[11:53.520] Using 16 bar to modulate this macro knob here calls also 16 bar.
[12:01.280] But now I can dial in here manually modulation value and you can try it out.
[12:06.480] But here I want to modulate the chain. In here I create a phaser.
[12:15.360] Let's make this a bit slower.
[12:17.200] Yeah, let's bring this here to manual mode or bar.
[12:25.200] And then use the modulation value to bring this up.
[12:35.040] And let's see, big limiter here to bring up the volume and maybe an EQ one.
[12:56.880] Switch this on.
[13:05.360] You need to bring up hit the volume a bit.
[13:24.000] Maybe a bit of blur here.
[13:34.240] And see how the frequency shifter sounds.
[13:55.120] I think we have to bring up hit volume more.
[13:57.920] Right, so now we can try basically out here what we do.
[14:03.840] And then we pull the spec and then leave it up to the curves here to modulate 16 bar.
[14:16.560] Right, so you can create kind of these risers here every 16 bars.
[14:34.560] Let's put this at the end maybe.
[14:36.080] So let's call this driver.
[14:56.880] Okay, so you can do this here basically to create a kind of a microarrangement.
[15:03.760] So you don't have to do that much anymore at the end in the arranger window.
[15:09.040] And if you save this here as a preset or not as a preset as a template,
[15:13.840] if you basically create an empty project, attach here 1 bar, 4 bar, 8 bar, 16 bar,
[15:18.320] and maybe also 32 bars, if you want to go long, all right.
[15:27.280] Then you can save this as template, save as template.
[15:30.960] Then every time you create a new track where you know you want to stay in the clip
[15:34.960] launcher as long as possible. And you're lazy with arrangement and stuff like this,
[15:41.120] right. You can load up this template then. You have all your global modulators ready.
[15:46.720] And all you have to do is create tracks, go to the track, pull up the project panel here,
[15:52.560] and then modulate all the things on these devices.
[15:55.520] So the core idea of this is basically to extend the lifetime of the clips in the clip launcher.
[16:01.280] To make more out of these 1 bar loops, right, with modulators.
[16:06.080] Having these modulators already in place on the project maybe with the template.
[16:10.560] And then making your life a bit easier with the arrangement instead of you know drawing
[16:14.800] everything into the arranger here. So the heavy lifting is done via the modulators.
[16:20.800] This is some kind of inspiration I want to give you. So thanks for listening.
[16:25.120] Thanks for watching. Leave the thumbs up and I see you in the next video. Bye.