Tags: posts polarity-music Bitwig Bitwig-5.1 Generative Note-Grid Preset Sequencer Tutorial Euclidean

Unique Approach to Drum Sequencing in Bitwig

Tutorial | Dec 11, 2023

In this video, I show how to create a drum sequencer in Bitwig Studio using the note grid and various modules. By selecting a drum sampler or VST, creating note clips, and manipulating triggers, velocity, and timing, I demonstrate how to generate unique drum sequences. I also explore features like note stacking, shifting, quantizing, and randomization to create diverse and customizable drum patterns.

You can watch the Video on Youtube - support me on Patreon
Download the preset in the Video here: https://bit.ly/3uW9fcP

I recently created a drum sequence in Bitwig Studio using the Drum Machine VST. Here's a summary of the process:

Overall, this process allowed me to create a dynamic and complex drum sequence in Bitwig Studio, showcasing the power and flexibility of its modulation and sequencing capabilities.

Questions & Answers

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

How do you create drum sequences in Bitwig Studio?

To create drum sequences in Bitwig Studio, you typically start by selecting a drum machine or drum sampler VST. Then, you create a note clip and use the note grid to draw in the drum patterns instead of using the piano roll. This allows for a more intuitive and visual approach to creating drum sequences.

How can you trigger multiple samples in a drum set using the note grid?

To trigger multiple samples in a drum set using the note grid, you can use voice stacking or note stacking. By assigning different pitches to each note, you can trigger different samples for each voice. Additionally, you can use step modulators to modulate the triggers and create more complex and dynamic drum patterns.

How can you modify the velocity of individual drum triggers?

To modify the velocity of individual drum triggers, you can use a step modulator and modulate the velocity parameter of each trigger. This allows you to create variations in the dynamics and intensity of each drum hit, adding more expressiveness to your drum sequences.

What other possibilities and modifications can you make to drum sequences in Bitwig Studio?

In addition to voice stacking, changing triggers, modifying velocity, and using step modulators, you can explore other possibilities such as using dividers to control the timing of triggers, using shift modules to shift the entire sequence, and using chance modules to introduce probabilities to the triggers. These modifications can add more complexity, variation, and musicality to your drum sequences.


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] When you want to create drums in Bitwig Studio, you usually start by selecting some kind of VST
[00:00:06] or drum sampler and we use here the drum machine of Bitwig Studio and we are going to use here some
[00:00:13] kind of random drum set and I'm going to go for something acoustic here.
[00:00:19] And then you usually start to create some sequences by creating a note clip and then
[00:00:29] drawing something in. But we are here on the Polarity Channel so we don't use the piano roll at all.
[00:00:35] We use the note grid. So we switch this here at first to the piano view, right? Instead of this
[00:00:42] drum view here, use the piano roll and we paint in just one note and we use this note actually not
[00:00:48] to trigger something inside of the sampler. We use that to activate or enable the note grid.
[00:00:56] So we create your note grid in front of the drum machine. So in here we just select
[00:01:02] voice's mono, voice checking is off at the moment, note through is disabled, control through, audio
[00:01:10] through is on, device phase length is one. That's these are my in-it settings. Free run when stopped
[00:01:18] is also enabled. You can disable this if you want to but it's enabled at the moment. So in here we
[00:01:23] don't need to actually use the note inputs and what we want to do is we want to create here a select
[00:01:29] in front of the gate out and we use gate in. So every time there goes, there is a note
[00:01:38] coming into the note grid, right? We selected the second input. So when I hit play here,
[00:01:43] I feel I actually have to hit play here on this clip. So every time you hit play and there's a
[00:01:52] note coming in, which is the case because we have your one note in there, right? We selected
[00:01:58] the second input. So that's all. Then we create here a trigger module or triggers module. We go
[00:02:07] to the second input and then we select here a base note of C1 because drum samplers usually
[00:02:18] or drum machines usually start with C1 with the note C1 and then everything is above. So with this
[00:02:25] we trigger here the kick drum four times in one bar. Which is nice. I mean, we stop. Nothing
[00:02:36] is triggered here because there's no note playing at the moment. Okay. So we go down to one
[00:02:47] and we leave it exactly at this position. So now we want to trigger not only the kick drum,
[00:02:52] we also want to trigger all the other samples in here and you probably already guessed that we
[00:02:58] want to use note stacking or voice stacking for this. Sometimes I call it note stacking for some
[00:03:04] reason, but it's actually voice stacking and we use here, let's say 10 voices. So we want to trigger
[00:03:13] trigger 10 samples in here and for that we use here the voice stack modulator called stack spread
[00:03:20] and we switch this here to value and then we modulate here this by exactly one semitone.
[00:03:27] Which means voice one is zero times C1. So we have C1 with voice one voice two is C#1
[00:03:42] voice three is then D voice four is D# and so on. So we basically go up for each voice
[00:03:50] with one semitone to the next note. So now we trigger here probably with this setting here all
[00:03:57] these samples or 10 samples.
[00:04:00] Right. Because we have 10 voices, each voice is a different pitch setting here and this one is
[00:04:10] the same for all these voices. So we want to change now these triggers here for each voice
[00:04:16] differently and we are going to use here a step modulator for that and we switch here the step
[00:04:23] modulator to 10 steps because we have 10 voices. So we have 10 bars here and we switch this to
[00:04:31] hold rate of zero and then we modulate here the face modulation by exactly 10%.
[00:04:39] One 10% and we switch here the step modulator to per voice. So now everything is white.
[00:04:49] Which means we basically step up for each voice with 10% on the face modulation value here.
[00:04:57] So each bar is basically one voice. When we go here to the note grid itself and bring down the
[00:05:03] voice tagging to maybe nine, you can see it just also go down here with the bars.
[00:05:08] But we want to modulate actually 10 samples. So with this step modulator here, we can now
[00:05:17] modulate here this trigger's value by let's say 15.
[00:05:24] Because we have already one and one plus 15 is 16 notes, which makes sense.
[00:05:30] So now we can draw in here actually how many triggers we want for each voice. So we want to
[00:05:36] have here the kick drum trigger a lot. Sounds pretty chaotic, but it kind of works.
[00:05:46] So what we want to do now is that when the slider's here at zero, we don't want to actually
[00:05:52] trigger something. So we bring in here a value and we bring in some logic bigger than this one here.
[00:06:05] So when this value is bigger than zero, then give out a trigger, right? So we modulate here
[00:06:11] the value with also with the step modulator output, which means when this slider here is at zero,
[00:06:18] actually there's no trigger here. When there's something slightly above zero,
[00:06:22] you can see we get the trigger here, right? So now we combine this with an end comparison module here
[00:06:32] and say when there's a note inside of the note clip, this one, when this one is true, okay?
[00:06:42] When there's a note inside of the note clip and the value is above zero, then actually
[00:06:49] switch to the second input and then use triggers here to trigger something. So now when I hit play,
[00:06:54] nothing happens because everything is at zero. So now I can start here and bring in the kick drum.
[00:07:01] [Music]
[00:07:12] And back to normal, right? So this is basically now some kind of
[00:07:18] Euclidean drum sequencer if you want to call it this way. Let's call this here
[00:07:28] Tricks and this one is called Trigas. So now we just duplicate this one here
[00:07:37] and call this Velocity because we want to change the velocity for each step.
[00:07:44] At the moment, everything has the same velocity each sample here. So we bring this velocity down
[00:07:50] to zero and modulate here with the with this step mod actually here, the velocity. So now we can
[00:07:55] say the kick drum here has the most velocity, right? It's the loudest one. Snare drum is not so loud
[00:08:01] and the hi-hats are also a bit quieter. [Music]
[00:08:19] Velocity is zero.
[00:08:20] Actually, velocity zero is actually not completely quiet. Looks like. But it's better than before.
[00:08:31] You can maybe also use here the gain for that if you want to. But I'm just leaving it here
[00:08:36] with the velocity setting. So we can change the velocity. We can also say we want to use, let's say,
[00:08:43] a divider, not the dice, divider, clock divide. So this one basically in this position
[00:08:52] gives out the same result as before. Everything is triggered. But when you move this up to two,
[00:08:59] actually only every second trigger is triggered. So it sounds like this.
[00:09:05] Let's bring up the velocity here.
[00:09:20] So now we use here a third one and call this divider. So this one divides now our triggers.
[00:09:30] Let's go up to five here maybe. I think that's enough. So this sounds like this. You have a kick
[00:09:38] drum. It's triggered all the time, right? So now we bring up the divider.
[00:09:48] So this is, I think, three. So every third trigger is only getting through here.
[00:09:52] And then divider here.
[00:10:12] Okay, so this is one possibility. You can also bring in a clock quantizer here and quantize everything
[00:10:20] to a 16 note grid.
[00:10:24] Put the triggers here. And then it's more musical this way. Kiner.
[00:10:33] So every second snare is only played here.
[00:10:48] So you can create grooves this way. Kiner. So another idea would be to actually bend the face
[00:11:12] signal here in certain ways. We use the face input here. And then we can use a shift module
[00:11:20] basically makes it possible to actually shift certain notes around. So I show you this here for
[00:11:29] a moment on the piano. Also, you can see what's actually going on. So I create another instrument
[00:11:34] track and just record what's coming out of the note grid, right? Node grid output. So just record it
[00:11:40] here. So you can see inside of the note grid here, you have the kick drum down here. And when I
[00:11:51] modulate the shift, this shift value here, what happens is actually that we take the whole
[00:11:59] part here, this whole sequence and just shift it to the right or to the left.
[00:12:08] The same sequence is just shifted to the left or to the right. So this is the idea behind it,
[00:12:13] right? So we can do this here by just modulating the shift with another module. Go to 100%.
[00:12:22] And then switch to the bipolar mode because we want to offset it to the right side or to the left
[00:12:29] side. So we can do this here with the kick drum or maybe with the snare drum. Let's listen to this.
[00:12:35] Let's call it actually here shift.
[00:12:45] Maybe I should record this here.
[00:13:00] [Music]
[00:13:03] It looks like this. Yeah, so shift is also possible. You can implement something like band
[00:13:19] and then kind of bend the whole sequence. Maybe I'll use this here for the clock signal. So it
[00:13:28] sounds like this. So this is basically all samples at once, but you can of course do the
[00:13:47] same thing here with this step modulator and call this band and then only do it for certain samples.
[00:13:55] Won't you let us here by 50%.
[00:13:56] Yes, then only do this for the kick drum maybe.
[00:14:04] So you can hear it here on the kick drum.
[00:14:21] So right it starts basically slow and then it gets faster. So this is what you can do with band.
[00:14:26] Then you can do it only for the kick drum or only for the snares or only for the hi-hats and create
[00:14:31] kind of grooves with that. You also don't need to use your actually triggers or the the clock signal
[00:14:37] for that. So you can leave this out and then only band basically the input signal going into the
[00:14:42] clock quantizer. So it has a different effect. Let's try it out.
[00:14:47] So it sounds more musical because you always quantized to a 16 note grid.
[00:14:55] It gives you a bit of different groove for the kick drum.
[00:15:00] So let's hit randomize. It's also interesting that you can use just randomize here on these
[00:15:08] step mods and you get a different groove.
[00:15:13] All right, let's basically get a groove machine. So you can hit randomize everywhere
[00:15:34] and then you can also just save this then as a preset and it stays persistent because it's a
[00:15:39] step mod which is interesting. And you can save yourself then or explore some grooves and then
[00:15:46] just save this this groove as a preset and then recall it later for something you want to use.
[00:15:51] So that's that. We influenced here the velocity. We influenced shift. We influenced divider,
[00:16:01] band, velocity, triggers. So we can do a lot of things with that.
[00:16:05] Also, if you think these triggers are too short, you can see here when we
[00:16:12] when we record this actually,
[00:16:17] these triggers here exactly 160 note long, right? Because the clock is actually 16 notes.
[00:16:27] So every note in there is exactly 160 note long. And you want to kind of
[00:16:34] pull this more together. You can use inside of this note grid here and use a length module to
[00:16:43] actually shorten the gate signals to make it very short and then use a knot and make it longer.
[00:16:51] So it looks like this now.
[00:16:53] Something like this, right? So you have one note on the other notes. So
[00:17:02] you fill in the gaps basically if you want to do that. It's maybe probably not that interesting,
[00:17:09] but you can do it. So in here, we just removed this again. So instead of the drum machine,
[00:17:17] we can also use, of course, here, let's say addictive drums or we can use XO.
[00:17:21] XO is also a drum sampler which starts at which starts with C1 here at the beginning with the
[00:17:29] kick drum. So it works from the get go. Let's use some different triggers.
[00:17:38] And then use different samples.
[00:17:43] Right. So you can just use some random drum VST and it works exactly the same.
[00:17:55] We can also do stuff like you remember here, the face, right? The face is exactly one bar long.
[00:18:02] So we can say everything in here double time if you want to. So we do like, let's say, select here
[00:18:12] and use select this different input and say note, what's the name? C#1 and then C#1 gives us
[00:18:26] here actually this one. And the second one is just multiply and yeah, constant of two.
[00:18:38] So this one should give us basically the same as before, but we can say we want to actually
[00:18:46] double time here everything.
[00:18:54] Actually makes a bit longer, double content.
[00:18:57] Oh, we need to see one all channels.
[00:19:09] Oh, I see. That's not C1, it's C3, C#3. This one. So when you get basically this note here.
[00:19:23] You would double time basically everything that triggers in here. You can also say three times.
[00:19:35] Or four times.
[00:19:48] Right. So you can increase the speed or the tempo of the sequence pretty easily with this.
[00:20:11] Also an idea would be to use a chance module. Go to 0% and then duplicate this here.
[00:20:20] Call this one chance.
[00:20:28] And you can decide every sample is triggered all the time and then you can say the upper
[00:20:38] samples here only sometimes. So there's a kind of probability here involved.
[00:20:42] Maybe exchange the samples here for a moment.
[00:21:02] Okay. So this is some ideas I had for that. You can save this as a preset, recall it like I said.
[00:21:09] Maybe I put this here in the description below so you can just download it.
[00:21:13] It's actually very simple. It's not that complicated. You basically start simple with a simple idea
[00:21:20] that I showed you in the beginning and then you add to it and to bring in more modifications
[00:21:27] and so on. And then you have this nice interface with these step mods and you can influence everything.
[00:21:32] And you can also just hit randomize and get random groups this way, which is kind of interesting.
[00:21:37] Maybe sometimes. So instead of using XO here, we can also use my auto slicer thing here,
[00:21:46] which I created in some of my recent videos. I think it was three videos ago. I'm not sure.
[00:21:56] So there's a sample in here. We can scan the sample and select certain slices of that.
[00:22:02] And this one triggers actually beginning at C3, not C1. Maybe I should change this,
[00:22:07] but you can easily just go up here to C3.
[00:22:10] And then just trigger here the auto slicer.
[00:22:15] Or we actually need to increase here the chance, of course. So let's hit play.
[00:22:22] So you can kind of fake the functionality of live by XL and audio. We can maybe also hear
[00:22:43] a sample something. You see the quick sampler.
[00:22:49] Just play something.
[00:22:54] Something like this and put this into the slicer.
[00:23:02] And scan it.
[00:23:13] Let's hit play.
[00:23:15] So maybe too many, too many voicetags here. Let's go to five.
[00:23:25] So you can also recreate kind of some features of live with that if you want to.
[00:23:41] And the best thing it's completely, you know, I'll talk from all the other things.
[00:23:47] We can just create your note grid and then put this note grid in front of all kinds of different
[00:23:53] drum samplers or drum VSTs or whatever you want to use to trigger something.
[00:23:58] Okay. So this is my idea here for a simple drum sequencer or Euclidean random drum sequencer
[00:24:06] for Bitwig Studio. I put here, like I said, I put this in the description below so you
[00:24:11] can just download the preset for Bitwig Studio 5.1. And that's it. Leave a like if you liked the video.
[00:24:18] Leave me some questions in the comments below. Subscribe to the channel. Thanks for watching
[00:24:23] and I'll see you in the next video. Bye.