Tags: posts polarity-music Bitwig Note-Grid Polymeter Polyrhythm Tutorial Bitwig-5.1.2

Creating Mesmerizing Patterns in Bitwig Studio's Piano Roll

Tutorial | Jan 29, 2024

In this video, I share how I created visually pleasing patterns in Bitwig Studio's piano roll. By using note grids, modules, and pitch manipulation, I was able to create interesting polyrhythms and polymeters. I also experimented with randomizing frequencies and converting them into notes, allowing for unique sounds in the piano roll.

You can watch the Video on Youtube - support me on Patreon

In my recent Bitwig Studio tutorials, I explored creating visually interesting patterns in the piano roll using various techniques:

  1. Basic Setup: I started with an instrument track containing a note clip with selected notes. Using the 'Pitch Class' color option in Bitwig, I made the notes colorful for better visualization.

  2. Using Note Grids and Pitch Input: I employed multiple note grids for different patterns. By multiplying each note pitch with 120, I converted pitches to integers, impacting the phase frequency and trigger speed differently for each note. This created unique polyrhythms or polymeters.

  3. Pattern Variation: I experimented with different modules like 'Absolute' to handle negative values, 'Pitch Quantize', and 'Modulator Out' to vary pattern lengths and note gate lengths. This resulted in visually pleasing patterns and even 3D corridor-like visuals.

  4. ADSR Usage: I used an ADSR module to maintain the sustain of notes.

  5. Advanced Techniques: I experimented with inverting piano roll values, using pinch and mirror effects, and scaling to alter patterns. LFOs were also utilized to create complex patterns.

  6. Polymeter and Polyrythm Experiments: Some patterns involved long curves, bipolar to unipolar conversions, and varying pattern lengths for each note to create intricate polymeters.

  7. Randomized Frequencies and Micro Expressions: I created randomized frequencies, converting them into Bitwig notes with micro pitch-bends. These were then fed into synthesizers like Polymer, producing unique sounds.

  8. Additive Synthesis Approach: By recording these notes and pitch-bends, I used them with basic synths to create sounds akin to additive synthesis.

  9. Sharing and Community Engagement: I shared these project files on my Patreon and YouTube community tab for others to explore.

The experiments showcased Bitwig's robust performance and versatility in creating complex patterns and sounds, demonstrating its capability as a powerful music production tool.

Questions & Answers

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

How did the creator create the visually pleasing patterns in Bitwig Studio?

The creator created visually pleasing patterns in Bitwig Studio by using the piano roll and note grid. They applied modules such as pitch input, phase multiplication, and trigger speed adjustments to create interesting patterns and rhythms. They also utilized different settings for pitch quantize, gate length, and pattern length for each note to add variation to the patterns.

What software and techniques were used in creating these patterns?

The patterns were created using Bitwig Studio, specifically using the piano roll and note grid features. The creator applied various modules and settings within the note grid, such as pitch input, phase multiplication, trigger speed adjustments, and pattern length modifications. They also experimented with different techniques such as randomizing frequencies and using micro expressions to create pitch bends.

How were multiple patterns and voices used in the creation of these patterns?

Multiple patterns and voices were used in the creation of these patterns by utilizing the note grid feature in Bitwig Studio. Each note within the piano roll represented a different voice, and the creator applied specific settings for each note to create variations in trigger speed, pattern length, and gate length. By using the note grid and distinguishing between different pitches and notes, the creator was able to create visually pleasing patterns with multiple voices.

Where can viewers access the shared projects and try out these techniques?

Viewers can access the shared projects and try out these techniques on the creator's Patreon page or on the YouTube community tab. The creator provides downloads of the projects for viewers to explore and experiment with on their own.


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 over the weekend I created a lot of nice little short videos on YouTube where I draw
[00:00:05] interesting patterns visually inside of the piano roll of Bitwig Studio and some people
[00:00:10] want to know how I did this and I want to show you this here.
[00:00:16] So in Bitwig here I draw these kind of patterns right into the piano roll and it's actually
[00:00:20] not that hard.
[00:00:22] So I go out here of this, just delete this and I started basically here with just an
[00:00:28] instrument track, this one.
[00:00:32] And on this instrument track there is a note clip actually with all the notes just as one
[00:00:37] note right.
[00:00:38] I selected all notes I want to use and if you ask yourself why is this so colorful,
[00:00:44] I just used here the right click option and used pitch class.
[00:00:48] Normally it looks like this.
[00:00:51] So with these notes I trigger basically on the same channel note grid.
[00:00:56] One note grid here I have a bunch of note grids for different patterns.
[00:01:01] So I use this one here and inside I have some modules applied here and you can see I'm using
[00:01:09] the pitch input.
[00:01:10] So each pitch, each note I multiply with 120 to get an integer for every note raise.
[00:01:17] So C3 is 0, C#1 is 1, D is 2 and so on.
[00:01:25] So I want to get an integer from that.
[00:01:28] And with this integer I multiply here the phase.
[00:01:33] So with multiplying the phase I double basically the frequency of the phase signal here and
[00:01:39] then I go into the triggers module.
[00:01:42] So what it does is basically that I increase the speed or the trigger speed for each note
[00:01:49] differently.
[00:01:52] And then you get kind of an interesting pattern.
[00:02:13] And this is some kind of polyrhythm or polymeter.
[00:02:15] I don't know exactly what it is.
[00:02:17] But you can see you can then create interesting visually pleasing patterns just with the piano
[00:02:23] roll and a bit of note grid magic.
[00:02:26] And you can see the patch itself is actually not that complicated.
[00:02:30] It's just that I use here the note grid and you can see I use 64 voices.
[00:02:34] So we can use 64 notes and each note gets basically its own version of this patch here
[00:02:41] and I distinguish between the notes here with the pitch module.
[00:02:46] Like I said, multiplying and then I apply for different notes, different trigger speeds
[00:02:52] and this results in this pleasing pattern.
[00:02:55] So then I have here this one.
[00:02:58] Looks a bit different.
[00:02:59] There's a different idea here.
[00:03:01] But also here I use 64 voices.
[00:03:04] I use absolute module here to basically turn negative values into positive values.
[00:03:11] I also multiply this by 120 here to get integers.
[00:03:15] And then I use the modulator out to increase the length of this polymeter.
[00:03:22] So each note has a different pattern length basically.
[00:03:25] I also change for each note here the gate length.
[00:03:28] So the length of the note is different.
[00:03:31] And then I go here into pitch quantize.
[00:03:33] I don't know why I did this, but whatever.
[00:03:36] So when you record this note grid here, it looks also almost like a 3D corridor here
[00:04:05] at the beginning.
[00:04:07] So also interesting pattern.
[00:04:09] It's just a pulley rhythm and you can record this easily into a note clip here.
[00:04:16] Then I made this one here.
[00:04:17] It's also an experiment.
[00:04:18] And by the way, I use here this ADSR just to keep the boys alive basically.
[00:04:26] That was the idea behind it.
[00:04:28] Here I do some additional math.
[00:04:31] Here I basically invert the piano roll kind of also turn negative values into positive
[00:04:37] ones.
[00:04:38] I use a pinch here with a 10% pinch.
[00:04:41] But when you change this, basically the pattern or the visual pattern also changes.
[00:04:45] I use a mirror here and then a bit of scaling.
[00:04:49] And I use also here the modulator out and I change here also the length of the pattern
[00:04:55] itself.
[00:04:56] So each note has a different pattern length.
[00:04:59] So this looks like this.
[00:05:01] Let's maybe change this here.
[00:05:21] This creates a different pattern.
[00:05:39] So that's this one.
[00:05:44] Then I have here another one.
[00:05:48] That's quite a bit different here.
[00:05:49] I'm just using an LFO and I think a curve, no a slow LFO here to increase the LFO speed.
[00:06:00] So this looks like this.
[00:06:31] So this writes a lot of notes into the piano roll here.
[00:06:34] These are all working notes with each of them velocity settings and so on.
[00:06:43] So complete real notes that you write into the piano roll.
[00:06:47] Quite interesting how performant actually Bitwig is here.
[00:06:51] I mean I have some lag issues here when I zoom in but there's a lot of notes in this
[00:06:57] note clip.
[00:06:59] But it quite works well.
[00:07:02] It's actually more fluid when you zoom in.
[00:07:05] Nice.
[00:07:06] So this is also something I tried.
[00:07:10] Then I did another one here.
[00:07:11] I'm not sure what this one does but here's also a long curve, 24 bar curve where I increase
[00:07:18] certain things here and you can see I'm using bipolar to unipolar just to turn also here
[00:07:27] negative values and the positive values and then let's see how this looks like here.
[00:07:36] It's quite simple.
[00:07:57] This part here is quite fun.
[00:08:14] But yeah also a polymeter here where I have a different pattern length for each note as
[00:08:20] you can see here that's spread in different speeds apart and then at some point here they
[00:08:25] become again the same.
[00:08:27] Not sure what happens here, why there is here certain things quite off but I guess that's
[00:08:35] how polyrhythms work, polymeters work, I don't know.
[00:08:38] So this was also an experiment I did with this.
[00:08:43] By the way I upload this here on my Patreon so if you want to try out some of these things
[00:08:49] yourself you can just download this on my Patreon post so I share them there.
[00:08:54] Or here on YouTube when you are a YouTube member of course I share them also on the
[00:08:58] YouTube community tab.
[00:09:01] Then another experiment I did was here to use the note grid and create randomized frequencies
[00:09:09] not notes, randomized frequencies and then I turn these frequencies into notes with micro
[00:09:15] expressions which means not every frequency is exactly on a note.
[00:09:21] So some of these frequencies are quite between in notes.
[00:09:26] So in Bitwig these notes are converted into real notes with pitch-bend or with micro pitch-bend
[00:09:34] or micro expressions in the piano roll which is quite interesting.
[00:09:39] And instead of feeding here an oscillator with these frequencies over these notes I'm
[00:09:46] creating notes inside of Bitwig and then send them into a polymer synthesizer here.
[00:09:54] Sounds like this.
[00:09:55] And I trigger this here with this trigger small tool.
[00:10:06] And instead of listening to that you can also just record this into the piano roll.
[00:10:11] So let's go in here.
[00:10:15] Let's use this polymer output here, the note grid output.
[00:10:20] Let's record.
[00:10:24] You can see these are basically all the notes for these sounds here.
[00:10:40] And each of these notes here have micro expressions.
[00:10:44] You can see here these small lines if I enable this that some of these pitch-bend here are
[00:10:50] a bit off to actually represent the frequencies because some of these notes are like I said
[00:10:56] or some of these frequencies are between notes so you need to pitch-bend them.
[00:11:01] It's quite interesting.
[00:11:03] So with this basically with this here you can just put on this channel here where we recorded
[00:11:10] all these notes.
[00:11:11] You can just use here let's say an organ and then you just disable this here or actually
[00:11:26] not this.
[00:11:27] You get sounds out of these notes basically.
[00:11:40] So you use this organ device more like an additive synth and play each of these notes
[00:11:46] and because each of these notes have these pitch-bend you get kind of in between notes
[00:11:51] and frequencies.
[00:11:52] So it's more like an additive synthesizer.
[00:11:54] You can also use here a polymer for that and maybe just use here the sine partial.
[00:12:06] If you select everything pull it down one octave.
[00:12:33] So yeah also a nice experiment here with the note grid where I randomize basically here
[00:12:54] frequencies.
[00:12:55] I randomize also here the velocity and I randomize the pressure and then record everything
[00:13:01] into a note grid to have this represented by notes and pitch-bend and then you can feed
[00:13:07] some normal sine synth or basic synth with this and create sounds or recreate sounds.
[00:13:15] So basically safe presets as notes inside of the piano roll.
[00:13:19] It's quite interesting that you can do this in Bitwig.
[00:13:22] So yeah some experiments I did over the weekend and yeah like I said I share this on my Patreon
[00:13:29] and I also shared here on the community tab so you can try it out for yourself.
[00:13:33] I share this whole project here and you can have fun with this.
[00:13:37] Okay so that's it for this video.
[00:13:41] Thanks for watching.
[00:13:42] Leave a like, thumbs up, leave a subscription and I'll see you in the next video.
[00:13:47] Bye.