When producing sequenced patterns for any style of music, one of the main challenges is introducing perceived pace and energy to your work. Luckily there are a few simple tricks we can use here, a few of which we’ll take a look at now.
Step 1 - Adding ‘Accent’ and Transposed Notes
One of the easiest ways to add energy to your sequences is to inject extra notes. This may sound simple but you have to ensure it’s done correctly so that you don’t end up with a confusing mess!
The original un-altered pattern in Logic
The un-altered pattern plays back:
If your pattern consists of a combination of long and short notes adding very short notes on the off beat and in relevant ‘gaps’ can really work wonders, giving your new sequence and jacking feel.
Another trick can be to add notes an octave above or below in these gaps. This tends to work very well at the end of phrases and just a few additions like this can totally transform a sequence. The example below should demonstrate this quite well.
The extra notes are added in Logic
The pattern with extra notes:
Step 2 - Layering and Doubling
Another quick energy building technique is layering or doubling up your sequences. By copying your MIDI sequence onto a new track and adding another sound you can really make things more exciting.
I find that motion based patches or sequenced sounds played using the original MIDI work very well here. Even if they are they only very low in the mix you should find that it gives your sequence a different feel.
A second synth is added and layered with the original.
The new synth sound in isolation:
You can also try copying the original part or exporting it as audio, this can then be pushed by a 16th or 8th so that you have a repeating, staggered version of your pattern. Again, mix this relatively quietly and you could add the pace you are looking for.
The two synths are mixed:
Step 3 - Using Delay Effects
In the last step we looked at copying duplicate sequences to add more notes and therefore perceived pace to your parts. Although this is a great way to work you might prefer to try adding a stereo delay line instead.
This is a much faster way to create cross rhythms and add more notes to your sequences. Saying that you may find that using a delay plug-in doesn’t give you as much control as the manual duplication method. Experiment with both techniques to find out which works best for you.
Extra effects are added
The final mixed pattern is mixed with a simple drum pattern: