Tags: posts polarity-music Arrangement Bitwig Clip-Launcher Polymeter Polyrhythm Tutorial Bitwig-5.1.2

Polyrhythms and Polymeters with Clips in Bitwig

Tutorial | Jan 16, 2024

In the last couple of videos, I discussed pulley rhythms and pulley meters in the Bitwig grid. Today, I want to take a look at how these concepts apply to the Arranger window and Clip Launcher, and share a tip on combining multiple instrument tracks for one synthesizer. By utilizing polyrhythms and polymeters, you can create interesting and complex patterns by varying the subdivisions and clip lengths. This technique can be enhanced further by grouping multiple clips and having them played by a single synthesizer on a group track.

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In the latest Bitwig tutorial, I explored the creation of polyrhythms and polymeters using the Arranger window, Clip Launcher, and grouping multiple instrument tracks. Here's a brief summary:

  1. Polyrhythms in Bitwig:

    • Created two instrument tracks with one-note clips, subdivided into different numbers (three and five).
    • Demonstrated slicing notes into equal parts using "slice at repeats".
    • Grouped the tracks using Control + G, and named the group "polyrhythm".
    • Applied a synthesizer, Polymer, on the group track.
    • Configured the individual tracks to send MIDI data to the polyrhythm group.
  2. Polymeters Concept:

    • Created different clip lengths with the same subdivisions (eight notes) but varying in pitch.
    • Grouped them under "polymeter" and applied the Polymer synth.
    • Demonstrated how different clip lengths loop at different points, creating interesting patterns.
  3. Combining Polyrhythms and Polymeters:

    • Highlighted the flexibility in Bitwig to create complex rhythms by combining different subdivisions and clip lengths.
    • Discussed the advantage of the Clip Launcher for ambient music, using varying clip lengths for evolving chord progressions.
  4. Practical Application:

    • Showed how to create chord progressions by looping clips at different points.
    • Discussed the benefit of using polymeters in ambient music for more interesting patterns over time.
    • Explained the grouping of multiple clips into a single pattern played by one synth.

The tutorial ended with an invitation for questions and feedback. The techniques discussed provide creative ways to use Bitwig's capabilities for innovative music production.

Questions & Answers

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

What is the difference between a polyrhythm and a polymeter?

A polyrhythm is when you have the same clip size but different subdivisions within those clips, while a polymeter is when you have different clip lengths but the subdivisions remain the same. Polyrhythms create different rhythms that loop together, while polymeters create interesting patterns over time.

How can I combine multiple instrument tracks for one synthesizer in Bitwig Studio?

To combine multiple instrument tracks for one synthesizer, you can select the channels and group them together using Control + G. Then, you can insert the synthesizer on the group track and use the output option "Notes to Tracks" to send the MIDI data or note data to the group track, effectively using it as an instrument track.

How can I create a polyrhythm using the clip launcher in Bitwig Studio?

In the clip launcher, you can define the length of each clip in the inspector on the left side. By setting different clip lengths and using different clip subdivisions, you can create polyrhythms that loop at different points in time. This allows you to create interesting and evolving patterns in your music.

What is the benefit of using the clip launcher for polymeters and polyrhythms?

The benefit of using the clip launcher for polymeters and polyrhythms is that you can easily adjust the clip lengths and subdivisions, creating intricate and evolving patterns. This gives you much more interesting patterns and chord progressions that change over time, compared to using the same clip length with the same content looping at the same position.


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] In the last two videos, we talked about pulley rhythms and pulley meters inside of the Bitwig
[00:00:05] grid.
[00:00:06] And today we want to talk about this in the context of the Arranger window and also the
[00:00:11] Clip Launcher and maybe a small tip at the end how we can combine multiple instrument
[00:00:17] tracks for one synthesizer.
[00:00:19] So here we start by creating just one instrument track and we want to create one note clip
[00:00:25] here.
[00:00:26] It's exactly one bar long.
[00:00:27] That's important.
[00:00:29] Right we create one note here on D# and we want to take this note and we want to subdivide
[00:00:38] this note into three equally sized parts.
[00:00:43] We have one note here, here's one note, here's one note.
[00:00:46] So we have one bar subdivided into three equally sized notes.
[00:00:52] We can also select this here, right click and say slice at repeats.
[00:00:58] We have now three individual notes.
[00:01:01] That's important.
[00:01:03] Then we create a second instrument track here, another note clip.
[00:01:07] It's the same length.
[00:01:09] But in here we want to create another note and this note is subdivided into let's say
[00:01:17] five equally sized notes.
[00:01:21] Not three, this time it's five.
[00:01:24] So right click maybe, slice at repeats.
[00:01:26] You don't need to slice it here but I want to show you that it's possible.
[00:01:30] So here we have now three equally sized notes and in here we have five equally sized notes.
[00:01:39] And if you loop this here, you can see that this is now a polyrhythm.
[00:01:47] A polyrhythm is basically when you have the same clip size but within these clips you
[00:01:54] have different subdivisions.
[00:01:55] Here it's five and here it's three.
[00:02:00] And we can now play this on a synthesizer and normally you just put here a synth on
[00:02:05] each of these instrument tracks but inside of Bitwig Studio you just can select here
[00:02:10] these two channels and use control and G and group this together here.
[00:02:17] Maybe call this polyrhythm.
[00:02:22] And on this group track you can insert the synthesizer.
[00:02:27] Polymer.
[00:02:28] And I think this is only possible inside of Bitwig that you actually can use a bus or
[00:02:34] a group track and use it as an instrument track but it's possible inside of Bitwig Studio.
[00:02:41] And then we go to these channels here and say output, notes to tracks, right.
[00:02:48] And then we send it here to the polyrhythm master channel, right.
[00:02:54] So it's important here, it's the output and instead of using here audio outputs or note
[00:03:00] outputs or audio to tracks we can use here down here notes to tracks.
[00:03:05] We can send out the MIDI data or the note data to another track.
[00:03:09] And we want to send it here to the group track which is called polyrhythm and then we just
[00:03:15] send it here to a polyrhythm master, right.
[00:03:19] So now this one is a pure MIDI channel or yeah it's not an instrument track anymore,
[00:03:25] it's more like a note channel or something like this.
[00:03:29] And we do the same here for the instrument channel one.
[00:03:32] We say tracks, polyrhythm, polyrhythm master.
[00:03:35] And now we send both of these notes here from these clips to this group track to this synthesizer.
[00:03:43] And again just hit play here.
[00:03:58] And this is basically your polyrhythm.
[00:04:01] So again, polyrhythm is basically the same clip size but the subdivisions are different.
[00:04:06] Here it's three, here it's five and you create basically different rhythms and just loop them
[00:04:12] together with the same clip size.
[00:04:16] So this is the polyrhythm for you.
[00:04:20] With the, well let's actually add here an instrument track.
[00:04:25] With polymeters it's similar but here the clip size is different.
[00:04:30] So let's say we have here this instrument track and we create here a melody on that.
[00:04:37] And this melody has eight notes.
[00:04:41] Let's go downwards here.
[00:04:45] It's not really important that you have the same subdivisions here.
[00:04:48] You can also use polyrhythms in here if you want to but stick here with the same subdivision.
[00:04:57] Let's go down here actually on the scale.
[00:05:00] So we have here eight notes I think.
[00:05:03] So this is here this clip length.
[00:05:06] Then we duplicate this here and say this is the same thing.
[00:05:10] But here we go to different notes.
[00:05:14] Maybe let's go up or let's go down here.
[00:05:19] Just delete these two and then we use a different size for this clip.
[00:05:24] So this would be now here a polymeter.
[00:05:27] You can see when we loop this here we actually never have the same notes stacking up on top
[00:05:36] of each other.
[00:05:37] Right.
[00:05:38] We have here the beginning.
[00:05:39] So here we stack up with this note from this clip and here we stack up with this note from
[00:05:46] this clip.
[00:05:47] So we have some different overlapping.
[00:05:49] We have the same subdivisions.
[00:05:51] It's all eight notes.
[00:05:53] But the clip length is different.
[00:05:56] So we get interesting patterns over time.
[00:06:00] So let's combine this here into a polymeter group and then use a polymer here on this
[00:06:09] one.
[00:06:14] Solo this and then send this out here to tracks, polymeter, polymeter master, tracks, polymeter,
[00:06:22] polymeter master.
[00:06:24] So this sounds like this.
[00:06:43] So it's basically the same rhythm.
[00:06:45] Everything lines up, right?
[00:06:46] Every note hits on the same grid spacing on the same beat.
[00:06:53] But the notes or the pitches are different and because the clip length is different,
[00:06:58] we loop at different points in time.
[00:07:01] And you can use basically two small clips, right?
[00:07:05] You can see this one here has this size and this one is this size, but they never really
[00:07:12] line up.
[00:07:13] So you actually get a much, much longer time here like this until it repeats and you have
[00:07:21] the same sequence.
[00:07:22] So you can create basically with small, two small or three small sized clips, you can
[00:07:29] create a much, much longer pattern or global pattern or some pattern or however I want
[00:07:36] to call it.
[00:07:38] So the sum of all of that is basically bigger than the smallest parts or something like that.
[00:07:44] Okay, so this is basically polymeter where you have the same subdivisions, but the clip
[00:07:51] length is different and the polyrhythm is basically we have the same size of the clips,
[00:07:57] but the subdivisions are different.
[00:07:59] And of course you can combine these two, right?
[00:08:02] So you can use different subdivisions in here and then use different clip sizes and then
[00:08:06] you have the best of both worlds, maybe.
[00:08:10] So polymeters is actually what I do most of the time when I use the clip launcher because
[00:08:17] in here it doesn't really matter.
[00:08:18] So you can drag this in here and drag this in here and just delete this.
[00:08:23] And you can see here the clips look like they are the same size because it's just an equally
[00:08:31] sized grid in the clip launcher here.
[00:08:33] But you can define here on the left side in the inspector, the length of the clip, right?
[00:08:38] You can see here this is one bar.
[00:08:40] This is only 0.3 bars long.
[00:08:45] And then you can just hit play here on this one.
[00:08:50] And you can see with the play-head in here, they loop at different points.
[00:08:56] When I do ambient, I do this all the time in the clip launcher.
[00:08:59] This is actually the benefit of the clip launcher because you can just go in here and say, "Oh,
[00:09:04] I want to have a different clip length."
[00:09:06] That's what I usually use here the length for.
[00:09:09] Or maybe go to this one, right?
[00:09:11] And then play a different melody in here.
[00:09:16] Maybe go down here.
[00:09:19] And then combine it with a different clip subdivision.
[00:09:27] Just playing here the notes of the scale.
[00:09:32] Right?
[00:09:33] Something like this.
[00:09:37] And then you just...
[00:09:51] And with this kind of trick, you can also create chord progressions, of course.
[00:09:54] So you stick maybe to a certain range of notes in each of these clips.
[00:09:59] And then you use a different clip length.
[00:10:01] And then you use polymeters basically to loop them at different points in time.
[00:10:05] You have some kind of chord progression that changes over time in a certain way.
[00:10:15] So you can say here in this clip, we maybe stick to this note here.
[00:10:23] And then we go down to the fifth maybe here, something like this.
[00:10:28] And then we bring this down and here we go here and here.
[00:10:37] And then we do this a bit longer.
[00:10:41] Say here.
[00:10:42] Something like this.
[00:10:44] Duplicate this here.
[00:11:03] So down here.
[00:11:24] And with this trick, you basically stack up different notes each time you loop at different
[00:11:30] points.
[00:11:31] At a certain point they repeat.
[00:11:33] And you can see this here.
[00:11:35] If you put this on the Arranger.
[00:11:40] And then drag this out.
[00:11:47] You can see here, we never loop at the same position.
[00:11:51] Here we loop basically this.
[00:11:53] Here we repeat at the same position.
[00:11:56] But you get a lot of different patterns out of this over time because you have these different
[00:12:02] clip length.
[00:12:03] This is basically the benefit of the clip launcher, in my opinion, that you can select
[00:12:09] here these clips and then use different clip length and then play in here different notes
[00:12:14] in certain ranges.
[00:12:15] And then you combine these, these polymeters.
[00:12:18] And I do this with ambient all the time because it gives you so much more interesting patterns
[00:12:25] over time than just having the same clip length with the same content looping at the same position
[00:12:30] or the same position in time all the time.
[00:12:35] So this is much more interesting.
[00:12:39] And if you combine this then with the poly rhythms here, it gets even more interesting.
[00:12:44] So this is how it looks like inside of the Arranger window and the clip launcher.
[00:12:49] And also maybe if you didn't notice how you can combine your multiple instrument tracks
[00:12:54] inside of a group for just one synthesizer.
[00:12:58] I think it's also great here for polymeters and poly rhythms where you can stack up basically
[00:13:04] multiple clips and make one pattern out of it and then send it into a group.
[00:13:10] And on this group there's just one synth playing all these clips at the same time.
[00:13:14] It's very nice.
[00:13:15] Okay, that's it.
[00:13:17] Thanks for watching.
[00:13:18] Leave a like.
[00:13:19] Subscribe to the channel.
[00:13:20] Leave a comment if you have some questions.
[00:13:23] and I'll see you in the next video.
[00:13:24] Thanks for watching, bye.
[00:13:25] .