Global Transposition in Bitwig
Tutorial | Dec 18, 2023
In this video, I demonstrate different methods to transpose tracks in . I start by manually transposing individual clips, then show how to use the note transpose function on each track. However, the most efficient method is using the node grid with a pitch quantizer to easily transpose tracks globally, allowing for experimentation with different keys.
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In this video, I'm discussing a track I'm working on in Bitwig Studio, which includes drums, pads, bass, and chords. Here are the key moments and ideas I explore:
Transposing Tracks: Initially, I consider manually transposing each clip in a track up by semitones, but this becomes tedious with multiple clips.
Using Note Transpose on Each Track: Another approach is to use a note transpose in front of each device on the tracks. However, this also gets tedious, especially with many tracks.
Global Modulators and Unit Mapping Issue: I introduce the concept of using global modulators, like macros, to transpose by up to 12 semitones. However, the modulation system uses percentage values instead of semitones, making precise transpositions challenging.
Desire for Unit Selection in Macros: I express a desire for future Bitwig versions to allow selecting the unit type for macros, easing the process of precise transpositions.
Using the Node Grid for Transposition: To overcome the limitations of global modulators, I suggest using the node grid. This involves creating a global instrument track and using a node of C3, which equates to a value of zero, allowing for easier transposition.
Pitch Quantizer Technique: I use the pitch quantizer in a novel way to transpose notes from a global track, achieving precise control over the transposition by semitones.
Suggestion for Grid Improvement: I propose that Bitwig should include a note input option in the grid, allowing users to select from which track the notes are taken.
In conclusion, I demonstrate how to use the pitch quantizer and node grid for effective transposition across tracks, and I suggest potential improvements for future versions of Bitwig Studio. This exploration helps me experiment with different keys and transpose tracks efficiently.
Questions & Answers #
Maybe you dont watch the video, here are some important takeaways:
What is the main problem the video addresses? #
The video addresses the issue of transposing multiple tracks in a project, which can be time-consuming and tedious when done manually. It explores different methods to transpose tracks and suggests improvements that could be made to Ableton Live's modulation system.
What are some potential solutions proposed in the video? #
Two potential solutions are discussed in the video. The first is using global modulators in Ableton Live, but this is limited by the lack of unit mapping options, making it difficult to precisely transpose by specific intervals. The second solution involves utilizing the node grid and pitch quantizer to create a global instrument track that can transpose multiple tracks simultaneously.
What are the benefits of using the node grid and pitch quantizer method? #
Using the node grid and pitch quantizer method allows for precise transposition of multiple tracks and the ability to sequence transpositions. It provides more flexibility and control compared to using global modulators, as well as the ability to easily manipulate transpositions without needing to manually adjust each track individually.
What improvements are suggested for the node grid? #
One suggested improvement for the node grid is to include a note input option where users can choose which track to grab notes from. This would allow for bringing in nodes from different tracks and expanding the possibilities of the node grid. It is mentioned that this feature is not currently available in Ableton Live.
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.
So sometimes you have a track like this here in Bitwig Studio.
It sounds like this.
So it's some drums.
There are some pad sounds here, bass sound, and some chords.
And let's say you want to transpose this up one
semitone, two semitones, right?
The first straight forward idea would
be to actually go into the clips, select all notes,
and move them up one semitone, two semitones, or whatever.
But then you have to do it for all clips manually, right?
And if you have a lot of clips, it becomes tedious.
So the next idea would be to actually go to the tracks,
to the chain itself, and use a note transpose
in front of the device.
So you can just say, just pitch everything that
comes in two semitones up.
But then you have to do it also on each of these tracks, right?
So you have to clone these note transposes
here, too, in front of all the tracks.
If you have 20 tracks, it becomes tedious.
But now everything is like transpose two semitones up.
So really perfect.
So sometimes you want to experiment with different keys.
So you want to pitch it up or transpose it up or down one
semitone, two semitone, three.
Maybe try it out and experiment with it.
But it becomes tedious to more tracks you have, right?
So you have to go into each track here
and pull everything up or down to this for each track,
and so on.
So then we have global modulators, OK?
So you put in a macro here and put this into bipolar mode,
and then maybe modulate here everything
by, let's say, 12 semitones.
That should be enough.
But then we have the problem with the modulators here,
with the modulation system that we have not
this kind of unit mapping.
So here we have now a percentage.
And here we have the units of semitones.
So 100%, it's actually 12 semitones.
So it becomes dependent on how many semitones
you want to move this kind of complicated to take the math.
So six semitones would be easy because it's exactly half of 12.
So it's 50%.
And now we basically push this up here by six semitones.
So this is easy.
But then if you want to go up, actually, let's say one semitone,
then it's, I don't know, 8.33% or something like this.
So it's not that easy anymore.
And there's no option in the modulation system
to actually map these units or select a unit for a macro,
what kind of unit you want to use.
And I get that this is complicated to actually develop
because you not only can modulate one target with a unit,
you can also modulate different targets with different units.
So it becomes harder, right?
So maybe there should be an option where you can make
a selection on the left side, what kind of unit you want to use,
what's important to you, and the rest is not so important for you,
or maybe some kind of expression, math expression,
where you can calculate something and combine different values.
I don't know, I have no idea.
But sometimes I want to use you instead of percentage,
I want to use actually the unit of the target I'm modulating.
So I think this would be a nice thing to have in some future versions.
So this is my first idea for the future I want to have.
It's just a small thing.
It's not something big, right?
So this is one idea, you use a global modulator here.
You can then do it here, let's say for every track.
So we have to just remove this and choose this here and then move it here.
And then also move it here.
But this is exactly what I want.
So I want to have just one modulator and then modulating a lot of things
on different tracks and experiment with different keys
and just transpose it around and try out some different ideas.
So then I thought maybe instead of using global modulators
because we don't have here this unit mapping,
maybe it's a better idea instead of using no transpose,
we can actually use the node grid.
So let's use the node grid for that, right?
So why not create here an instrument track, move this up
and call this maybe global.
And in here we use just a node of C3
and if we use the node of C3 and bring it into the grid,
it's actually the value of zero.
I show it as a minute.
So here I go to the pads in front of the
synth I'm using here a node grid
and I'm using this in polyphonic mode.
Let's let's say 12 voices.
I don't think I need more.
And in here there's actually no module that you can use to pull in nodes
from a different track.
There is the audio sidechain where you can bring in
audio signals from different tracks, right?
But there's nothing for nodes,
which is I don't know why this is not in there yet.
I have no idea.
In my opinion, there should be actually here on the node input
some kind of pull down to select a different track
and then use multiple of these, right?
And bring in nodes from different tracks
or maybe the pitch in should be have some kind of drop down
or something like this.
So the only device that actually allows you to bring in nodes
from a different track is actually the pitch quantizer here.
When you switch this here to use node input,
then we can say let's use global.
And usually you use this to actually select nodes
in the pitch quantizer to quantize nodes to this.
We can bring in chords from different tracks,
select multiple keys in here
and everything that you pass basically into the pitch quantizer
then gets corrected to these nodes, which is interesting.
But here we want to use it differently.
So I'm using read out here.
So you can see what's happening.
Put this into a semitones mode here.
So now we receive basically here C3
from the first track from here, right?
And we have to play here.
Right, so we get here node uses inside of the pitch quantizer
and then we get also here at the end
some kind of node out of this.
And you can also see here with the integer
by how many we push this up by how many semitones.
Now you can see now it switches from +5 to -5.
So we have +6 and then we go one up.
And then it goes to -5 because this is here
in distribution mode nearest by pitch.
So it selects basically the next nearest node
which is -5 instead of +7, right?
So what we do here is we switch this to nearest by octave.
Now we have +7 here and we can go up to +11.
And then +12 is actually just back again,
C3 which is 0.
So we can only use this for transposing up one octave up
and one octave down.
But for me that's still fine.
I usually don't want to push it any further.
So one octave is pretty fine.
So we get here basically the value out of this
and all we have to do now is to use an add.
And add basically this node we get here
and add it to the node we're receiving on the track itself.
And because C3 is actually 0,
we actually don't transpose anything at all
if we use choose here in this clip C3, right?
So this is the base idea.
So let's actually try this out here
and use this not only on the pads,
but also on the base and the chords, okay?
And because it's the same patch,
we still receive everything here for the global track.
So now we can precisely pitch or transpose the nodes
by a certain amount of semitones from a global track.
And this is precise and the benefit of this
is that you can also use the sequence stuff.
So if you do some, let's say,
90s vapor wave drum based stuff,
you usually just plain, what's the name,
planing when you just pitch up and down the same chord type.
So you can do this here pretty easily.
So you can say, I want to go from here,
one, two, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven,
go right here.
Then you say make this longer, 20%
and then double the content.
And then you go here,
back to the original transposition thing.
So you can sequence actually the transpositions.
One, two, three, four, five, let's see all the sounds.
Something like this.
So that's just an idea.
So in my opinion, the grid here actually needs
some kind of note input where you can choose
with the dropdown where you want to grab the notes from.
So this is the second feature I want to have inside of the grid.
So it's actually nothing complicated at all.
But sometimes I want to do exactly this
and you have to take some different routes.
You have to misuse some modules.
It's not a big problem, but maybe it would be nice
to have this in some kind of future versions.
It's actually not a complicated patch.
It's just a pitch quantized.
You select here the global instrument track
and then you can transpose everything around.
You have to select your nearest by octave
and that's basically it.
That's it for this video.
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