Reason 6: Create Daft Punk Arpeggiations in the style of "Tron Legacy"

The Daft Punk Sons of Flynn soundtrack for Tron was arguably one of the best bits of film music from 2010. G.W. Childs is still rocking to it and shows how to create the arpeggiations in Reason 6.  

Like many enthusiasts of the electronic music genre, I have a huge soft spot in my heart for the classic technological masterpiece known as Tron. Hearing Wendy Carlos' soundtrack for the first time as a child was a defining moment for me in terms of electronic music.

Years later, when Daft Punk picked up the helm of the music department on "The Grid", my faith in Disney held strong. In my opinion, there couldn't have been a better successor for the long-returning franchise.

Granted, the movie has been out now well over a year... I am still rocking the soundtrack, though! Here's The Son of Flynn by Daft Punk: 

The other day, I decided to try out playing that open arpeggiated part that made everyone's heart skip when the first trailer premiered, and I thought I'd share how I made it.

Step 1 - Create a Subtractor

Though Tron: Legacy was made in recent years, remember that Daft Punk spent a lot of time emulating the feel that Wendy Carlos had instilled in the first movie with classic analog synthesizers playing epic parts. As a result, the sounds used in the new movie were quite similar. 

With this in mind, it would be fitting to use a synthesizer like the Subtractor as it's easy to use, and can easily emulate that 'Legacy' sound.

The patch for the Subtractor is quite simple, and only requires that you lower your decay to around 15, completely eliminate all sustain, and set your release to 24 on your Amp Envelope. This sets you up with a very choppy synth that is perfect for arpeggiations. Also, make sure and raise your Filter 1 (set to Type: 'LP 12') all the way up. No filtering needed here.

The Subtractor settings

Step 2 - Create an RPG-8

It is possible to hand draw 8th-note arpeggiations in, but to avoid making this a very lengthy article indeed, let's create an RPG-8 arpeggiator instead.

The settings on this device are to remain as they are when you first create it. No special settings are needed. 

The RPG-8 settings

With the chords below, you'll easily be able to reproduce the Son of Flynn piece:

Chords to help re-create 'Son of Flynn'

Step 3 - Create a Thor

Now, you'll need a pad to go behind your arpeggiation. We'll use a Thor for this, with the settings below:

Thor pad settings

What's taking place is a Multi-Oscillator running through a low pass filter. The Filter Frequency on the Low Pass is set to 1.56 kHz; this gives the oscillator a distinctive mood. You'll also notice that the Low Pass is being routed through a State Variable Filter setup in High Pass mode. I'm using this to cut some of the lower frequencies in case I decide to add a dedicated bass synth later on. The Filter Frequency is set to 946 Hz.

Once you've copied the above settings, copy the notes you played on the first track with the RPG-8 down onto the Thor track as well, so that both instruments are playing the same chords:

Copy the notes to the Thor track

Step 4 - Listen

Okay, if you play it back now, you should hear this:

From here, you can either try to reproduce the original, or just create a new song altogether using these sounds.

If you plan to go further with this arrangement of sounds, I'd highly encourage adding in a bass synth to this arrangement, either using another Thor or Subtractor. The bass will definitely be needed for replicating the original song! Enjoy!

Learn more about Reason 6 here!

Sound Designer, Musician, Author... G.W. Childs has worn many hats. Beginning in the U.S. Army back in 1991, at the age of 18, G.W. began learning electronics, communications and then ultimately audio and video editing from the Department of Defense. Upon leaving the military G.W. went on to work for many exciting companies like Lu... Read More


well, to me the original sounded more like analog synth with some really nice and smooth effects on it. nice try though, but it doesnt sound to me even close to the original by daft punk.
Hi leather_wings. GW's article is intended as a in-the-style-of guide rather than a sound-exactly-like tutorial.

As GW says towards the end of the article:
"From here, you can either try to reproduce the original, or just create a new song altogether using these sounds."

Substance D
Super cool.
Grayson Peddie
The song, The Son of Flynn, inspired me to create a song called "Building a World From a Grid."

The sawtooth came from Obxd. It is a lot brighter and more rapid-fire (sustain not eliminated) compared to the one in the movie. As for the bass synthesizer that go along with the sawtooth, it came from ZynAddSubFX that I created a patch from scratch.

I'm using Linux and used free software to make music.

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