Tags: posts polarity-music Bitwig Bitwig-5.1.2 Generative Note-Grid Tutorial FromScratch

Music with the Node Grid and Sub Ratios in Bitwig

Tutorial | Jan 18, 2024

In this video, I showcase an interesting technique in Bitwig where I create a musical composition using only a node grid instead of traditional note creation methods. By manipulating pitch ratios, step mods, and triggers, I generate unique polyrhythmic patterns and head sounds. I demonstrate how to use the node grid to control multiple instruments, apply effects like reverb and convolution, and create complex chord progressions using subtract and quantize modules.

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Questions & Answers

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

What is the main tool used in this Bitwig project?

The main tool used in this Bitwig project is the node grid. Instead of creating nodes like traditional methods, the node grid allows for a more visual and unique approach to creating music.

How is the pitch determined in the node grid?

The pitch is determined by using a pitch module within the node grid. In this particular example, a specific pitch (d#3) is selected using the pitch module. Additional nodes are then generated using ratios of the previous nodes.

How are gates detected in the node grid?

Gates are detected in the node grid by comparing the pitch to a delayed pitch using a comparator. If the pitches are different, a trigger is generated. This trigger is then used to create head sounds in conjunction with a node module.

What other effects and techniques are used in this Bitwig project?

In addition to the node grid, other effects and techniques used in this Bitwig project include the use of step mods for creating polyrhythms and polymeters, the addition of reverb and convolution effects for sound shaping, the use of multiple tracks and receivers for layering and manipulating nodes, and the application of quantization and octave shifting for musicality.


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] So let's create something interesting in Bitwig.
[00:00:03] We start by using an instrument track and we insert one Polymer synthesizer.
[00:00:09] Instead of creating nodes like everyone else,
[00:00:13] we just use a node grid.
[00:00:16] Inside of the node grid,
[00:00:18] we delete here the node inputs and the node grid itself is in
[00:00:22] monophonic mode which is important.
[00:00:24] We select here a pitch by using a pitch module,
[00:00:29] and I select here, let's say, completely random node d#3.
[00:00:35] Then we want to generate more nodes.
[00:00:40] Second node here and this one is using a ratio of the first node.
[00:00:52] So I think we stay here on this node d#3
[00:00:56] and this one gets a ratio and then we generate here another one.
[00:01:01] It's also a ratio.
[00:01:02] Maybe use the ratio of the second node for this one.
[00:01:05] So then we use some step mods and we go here to bar,
[00:01:11] go to let's say five steps,
[00:01:14] five steps, randomize,
[00:01:17] and we modulate here the denominator.
[00:01:21] Let's go to three or four.
[00:01:24] Let's go to three here and we start by adding two here.
[00:01:30] Also two here which is already the same node.
[00:01:37] Then we add this.
[00:01:39] Also use here three.
[00:01:42] Here we take a different sequence and we take six steps.
[00:01:47] So we have a bit of a polyrhythm or polymeter going on.
[00:01:52] So then we detect here the gates by comparing actually,
[00:01:59] comparing the pitch to a delayed pitch by using a comparator.
[00:02:10] This one and this one is different.
[00:02:14] Then we have a trigger.
[00:02:15] We can also use this one here.
[00:02:19] Trigger and we want to use here a node.
[00:02:29] Because this trigger is pretty short and we want to generate some kind of head sounds.
[00:02:37] Then we use here trigger module here.
[00:02:42] Just play this back pretty slowly.
[00:02:47] Take a length here also pretty short and a node.
[00:02:56] So now we kind of generate head sounds.
[00:03:07] And we need to play.
[00:03:11] The step mode is actually playing here.
[00:03:29] Something like this.
[00:03:30] Let's use Jonas in here.
[00:03:43] It's maybe a bit too fast so I'm going here for two bars.
[00:04:07] There we go.
[00:04:08] One lower here.
[00:04:10] So the start pitch is a bit different here.
[00:04:21] So let's add here a reverb.
[00:04:39] Okay.
[00:05:05] So the next track we can basically use the same nodes here by using a receiver, node
[00:05:11] receiver, adding an ARP.
[00:05:16] Let's actually just a basic ARP here.
[00:05:20] Use some kind of playback mode.
[00:05:23] We use here the output of the node grid and use a step mode here.
[00:05:31] Some small amount of steps, five steps to change here the octave by just one.
[00:05:39] It's probably only using this here.
[00:05:45] Then here we take six for the node type and you do this a bit faster.
[00:05:54] Also this one.
[00:05:59] And then we need to quantize after this.
[00:06:05] Of course we change here the node type.
[00:06:07] So we quantize everything to 16 out steps.
[00:06:10] Then we take a second polymer here.
[00:06:23] Maybe I use a different wave table here.
[00:06:28] We use some step modes to change here the settings of the polymer.
[00:06:35] Nine steps.
[00:06:38] Randomize.
[00:06:46] Go back to zero here.
[00:07:08] Let's use a root pitch here.
[00:07:15] Okay.
[00:07:20] Then in the FX we use a convolution.
[00:07:27] And delay too.
[00:07:47] This one will go a bit slower here.
[00:08:04] Okay.
[00:08:27] So maybe we can add here another node grid.
[00:08:33] Then we take again the nodes from the first track.
[00:08:42] And here we use subtract and we just invert the pitches.
[00:08:54] So D becomes basically like the G or something on A.
[00:09:04] And because that's off pitch we use a quantize here.
[00:09:10] And we put this into the second mode here, the node input mode.
[00:09:16] And we use here again the chords from the first track.
[00:09:21] So we correct everything to the right scale.
[00:09:28] Let's use a piano tag here.
[00:09:46] So I probably need here multiple voices because we get chords.
[00:10:06] So I go to let's say five.
[00:10:23] Let's use a dice here.
[00:10:37] Okay.
[00:10:53] Let's quantize this here.
[00:11:20] Yeah, that's better.
[00:11:27] And let's say use here octaver.
[00:11:34] Let's pitch this up.
[00:11:55] Okay I think that's it.
[00:11:56] I put this project on my patch and I want to show you this how you can easily generate
[00:12:03] notes here with the note grid without actually playing some notes on the piano roll.
[00:12:09] So I think it's an interesting way.
[00:12:11] And yeah, this basically here is kind of how the subharmonic on by Moog is laid out or
[00:12:20] how it works.
[00:12:21] You have an initial pitch and then you use sub ratios and this is kind of the core idea
[00:12:26] of this, right?
[00:12:28] So this is how you can do something in Bitwig without using notes.
[00:12:32] Thanks for watching.
[00:12:33] Leave a like if you liked the video.
[00:12:34] Subscribe to the channel.
[00:12:35] Thanks for watching and I'll see you in the next video.
[00:12:38] Bye.
[00:12:38] Bye.