Synchronizing Melodies to wonky Drum Grooves in Bitwig
Tutorial | Nov 20, 2023
In this video, I show you a simple way to synchronize melodies or bass lines to a sloppy drum groove using Bitwig. By using a note grid and the audio signal from the drum channel, I demonstrate how to use an audio follower and delay to detect the transients in the drum loop and use them as a clock signal to synchronize the arpeggiator. This technique allows you to apply a custom groove to your melodies while maintaining the swing feel of the drums.
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Syncing Melodies to Drums
Hey everyone, welcome back to my latest video. Today, I'm diving into the process of synchronizing melodies or bass lines with a sloppy drum groove. Here are the key points:
- Background Drum Loop: I've got a z-gest drum loop running in the background. It's got its own unique, slightly off-grid groove.
- Synchronization Challenge: Matching other elements to this groove can be tricky, and I'll show you a quick method in Bitwig to tackle this.
- Using Bitwig Tools:
- I started with a basic polymer and a multi-note to create a chord.
- An arpeggiator was added, which initially sounded quite straight compared to the sloppy drums.
- Synchronizing Techniques:
- Instead of straightening out the drums, I used a note grid for synchronization, preserving the drum's swing feel.
- I set up an audio side chain from the drum channel, added an audio follower with specific settings, and then applied a delay and subtract method.
- This setup helps detect the drum transients, effectively creating a transient detector.
- Application and Adjustments:
- I used the transient detector as a clock signal for the arpeggiator, synchronizing it with the drum groove.
- The result was a custom groove on the arpeggiator, though some refinement was needed to catch more transients like kicks or snares.
- Further Refinements:
- I suggested adjusting the fall setting and using high and low cuts to fine-tune the detection of specific drum elements.
- For jazz loops, focusing on hi-hats might be more effective, capturing the essential groove elements.
- Trade-offs and Manual Tweaking:
- There's some manual decision-making involved, particularly in matching the arpeggiator groove with the drum groove.
- The method has its limitations, like only triggering notes without note-offs, but it's effective for certain applications like bass lines.
- My solution involves using a follower with delayed signals to create a clock signal, which then synchronizes everything in the note grid with the drum groove.
If you have any questions, feel free to drop them in the comments. Don't forget to like, subscribe, and watch out for my next video. Bye!
Questions & Answers #
Maybe you dont watch the video, here are some important takeaways:
How can I synchronize melodies or bass lines to a sloppy drum groove? #
To synchronize melodies or bass lines to a sloppy drum groove, you can use Bitwig's note grid feature. By receiving the note input from an arpeggiator, you can use a side chain input to get the audio signal from the drum channel. By using an audio follower, delay, subtract, and seal, you can detect the transients in the drum groove and use them as a clock signal to synchronize with the note input.
What are some tips for adjusting and fine-tuning the synchronization? #
To adjust and fine-tune the synchronization, you can play around with the fall setting to detect more or fewer transients. Additionally, using low cuts and high cuts can help filter out unwanted clicks and pops from the audio signal. Amplifying the signal with an amplifier can also be useful if it becomes too quiet. It's important to manually make decisions and tweak the settings until the arpeggiator groove matches the drum groove in the best way.
How can I optimize the synchronization for bass lines? #
For bass lines, you may want to detect only specific elements of the drum groove, such as the hi hats, to capture the true groove and have more possibilities for note placement. By filtering and adjusting the force setting, you can focus on detecting the desired elements and minimize or enhance the number of 16 notes. This can help optimize the synchronization specifically for bass lines.
What is the overall process for synchronizing melodies or bass lines to a drum groove? #
The overall process involves receiving the note input from an arpeggiator, using a side chain input to get the audio signal from the drum channel, and using an audio follower, delay, subtract, and seal to detect the transients in the drum groove. This detection is then used as a clock signal for the note input, which is synchronized using a clock quantizer. By adjusting settings and fine-tuning, you can match the arpeggiator groove to the drum groove and achieve synchronization.
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.
[00:00:00] Hey folks, welcome back to another video.
[00:00:02] Today it's about synchronizing melodies or bass lines or anything to a sloppy drum groove.
[00:00:10] So here in the background we have some kind of a z-gest drum loop running.
[00:00:21] You can hear there is some kind of groove to it, some kind of custom groove, a bit of
[00:00:25] sloppiness, it's not exactly on the grid and when you want to place something to it, you
[00:00:32] need to actually to match the groove.
[00:00:34] And sometimes this is a problem and I want to show you basically a quick thing you can
[00:00:40] do inside of Bitwig.
[00:00:42] So let's add here something straight.
[00:00:45] So I use a polymer, I use a multi-note dial in here, maybe just a chord.
[00:00:55] So we can use actually an arpeggiator on that and we want to create you of course a new
[00:01:05] audio clip.
[00:01:07] Let's put the note in there.
[00:01:17] So you can hear the arpeggiator is pretty straight and the drums are pretty sloppy and
[00:01:22] you know we have to match these two.
[00:01:25] And you can of course straighten out the drums here, put everything on the grid but
[00:01:29] then you lose of course all the custom swing feel of these drums.
[00:01:35] So we want to synchronize actually the straight groove to the drum groove and a super easy
[00:01:42] way of doing this is actually to use a note grid here.
[00:01:48] Note grid and inside of the note grid we receive of course here the note input from the arpeggiator
[00:01:56] and then we put it straight out here.
[00:01:59] But we can just use here in the middle something to synchronize everything.
[00:02:03] So what we do here is we use a side chain input, audio side chain and we get the audio
[00:02:09] signal from the as a jazz drum channel here, maybe post.
[00:02:15] And then we use and follower, audio follower, put this to zero here, maybe 200 milliseconds
[00:02:26] and then we use delay.
[00:02:27] So we delay the signal, the output of the follower and use a subtract.
[00:02:33] When we subtract you basically the output of the follower with the delayed signal and
[00:02:39] to use a seal.
[00:02:40] It's basically the same thing I did inside of the auto slicer or sampling slicer video
[00:02:47] I made recently.
[00:02:50] So then we get basically here all the transients from the drum groove.
[00:02:58] You can see here it's flashing basically in red every time we get the transient.
[00:03:04] Then with this we can kind of use a clock one ties on now and put this here into the
[00:03:12] gate signal, put this into trigger mode and then use the output of this.
[00:03:17] So this is basically our transient detector that detects the transients inside of the
[00:03:23] drum loop.
[00:03:25] And then we use this as a clock signal for our media input or note input here.
[00:03:31] So the arpeggiator goes into the clock one ties are one ties are uses here basically the
[00:03:35] transient is a clock signal and then we synchronize everything.
[00:03:39] So now it sounds like this without.
[00:04:01] Okay, so you have basically kind of now a custom groove applied to this arpeggiator.
[00:04:07] It's maybe not not 100% correct and there are a lot of 16 notes missing because we only
[00:04:13] detect basically the kicks maybe in the snare, you know, some of these percussion elements
[00:04:19] Then try and play around a bit here with the fall setting.
[00:04:44] So with the fall setting going down, you kind of detect more and more transients inside
[00:04:50] of the material.
[00:04:52] You can also play around in here with low cuts and high cuts just to, you know, get some
[00:04:58] clicks and pops out of the audio signal and just really detect only the kick drums, the
[00:05:04] snare drums or the hi hats and then use that for the drum groove.
[00:05:09] Because if you have some jazz loops, you probably want to detect only the hi hats because that's
[00:05:16] where the real groove is.
[00:05:19] And it's also where you get all these 16 notes that you probably want.
[00:05:23] So you want to have as many notes as possible to have more possibilities to, you know, play
[00:05:28] these notes on.
[00:05:30] So these are basically just my tips here for that.
[00:05:33] So maybe put your hi pass on that.
[00:05:39] Sometimes you probably also want to use here and amplify, you know, to amplify the signal
[00:05:46] if it becomes too quiet.
[00:05:48] So you can play around with this until you think it sounds the best.
[00:05:54] So there's a bit of, you know, manual decision making in there and you can tweak a bit here
[00:05:59] and there until the arpeggiator groove matches the drum groove the best in the best way.
[00:06:06] So you have a lot of options here just by filtering, playing around with the force setting
[00:06:11] and then use that here for the clock quantizer.
[00:06:15] There's a bit of trade off here because this is a trigger or the note offs are basically
[00:06:23] So you're only trigger basically something.
[00:06:26] But I think sometimes for bass lines, you only need to trigger and then you have to
[00:06:29] manually set the release and the decay time anyway.
[00:06:34] So it's not a super sleek, super nice, everything fits all solution.
[00:06:39] But it kind of works and it's nice to play around with and, you know, get grooves out
[00:06:43] of drum loops.
[00:06:45] So this is my solution for that.
[00:06:49] Actually pretty easy.
[00:06:50] Just get in the audio signal, use a follower here with delayed signals, subtract everything
[00:06:54] so you get a clock signal, use the clock signal, the clock quantizer and then synchronize
[00:06:59] everything that goes into the note grid and goes out of it and then you have it synchronized
[00:07:05] to the drum groove.
[00:07:06] So that's my solution for that.
[00:07:09] If you have some questions, let me know in the comments.
[00:07:11] Leave a like if you like the video.
[00:07:13] Subscribe to the channel.
[00:07:15] Thanks for watching and I'll see you in the next video.