The Arpeggiator is a classic synthesizer effect which modifies the incoming notes and plays them in a programmable pattern to create a dynamic sequence.
- Let’s start by loading the Hybrid Piano program from the Falcon Factory soundbank.
- In Edit mode change the play mode to Poly Portamento.
- Switch over to the Events tab, hit the + button and select the Arpeggiator > ARP Basic > 2 Octave Up preset.
Since the Arpeggiator is always tempo-synced, the number of steps is often set to a multiple of the number of beats in the current time signature.
However, especially when layered, non-multiples can result in interesting patterns without obvious loop points.
- Let’s slow the Speed down to 1/8 and add a few more steps to this pattern. Change NumSteps to 9 and enable step 9 by clicking the Step State box underneath it, so that steps 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, and 9 are On and steps 5 and 7 are Off.
- Now let’s customize the value of these steps, adjust the Velocity amount by click-dragging in the graph, and modify the Gate by shift-click-dragging.
- To give the pattern a more defined groove let’s change Num Strike to 2 and shift-click the Step State button on step 7 to merge it with the step before it.
The number of notes played is a combination of the Octave, Repeat Top, Repeat Bottom, and Num Strike parameters. The Octave parameter takes each triggered note and adds octaves of the same note above or below it. Repeat Top and Repeat Bottom will repeat the lowest or highest played note an additional time. Num Strike sets the number of consecutive strikes for every note.
The play Mode determines how the arpeggiator cycles through the played notes (and any repeated notes and octaves). For example, if the play mode is “Up & Down”, the lowest note will be played first and cycle up to the highest, then cycle down to the lowest. So if C2, F2, and G2 are held, they will be played as C2, F2, G2, F2, C2, F2, and so on.
The “Chord” play mode is notable because all held notes are played at once, rather than cycled; the on/ off state, velocity, and pitch values are still applied.
- The Arpeggiator has three layers: Velocity and Pitch for notes, and MIDI CC for generating a MIDI CC as an additional control signal. Right-click the step grid to change which layer is displayed. The step state (on, off, or merged) is shared between the three layers, but the velocity, pitch, and MIDI CC value for the step is independent.
The Pitch layer has a range of ±48 semitones (4 octaves), with zero in the center. The pitch value of each step is also displayed above the step grid, as is always visible regardless of the layer you’re currently viewing.
The MIDI CC layer is useful for generating an additional modulation source, especially one that is also cyclical. For example, you could modulate the cutoff frequency of a filter in sync with the note pattern of the arpeggiator; in this way, the MIDI CC
layer can be thought of as a kind of user-defined LFO. To choose which MIDI CC is generated by the Arpeggiator, set the MIDI CC menu.