Five12 Vector Sequencer - Polyrhythms



Polyrhythms 

The below exercises demonstrate how to create polyrhythms using the Five12 Vector Sequencer.  There are other ways, but you can work those out yourself.  


 

Getting Started

The below instructions lead you through setting up 2 PARTS and work through how to vary them to create polyrhythms.   

  • Set up two PARTS to trigger one percussion voice each.  
  • Make sure they are short notes so you can hear the spaces between everything.   
  • Configure PRESETS in the two PARTS as follows: 
    • Configure PART 1 as eight notes with hit one per step, and a LEN of 4.   
    • Configure PART 2 as eight notes with hit one per step, and a LEN of 8.  
  • Go to PART 1 and make sure MODE is MDV and dial RATE to 1/4 (default is 1/16th) 
  • Go to PART 2 and scroll MODE all the way to the right until you reach /1 and leave RATE as 1 
  • Hit RUN and you should hear sounds for each PART simultaneously.  

If you have followed the above instructions correctly, then you have created two parts that achieve the same output as a basis to create a polyrhythm. 

 


 

What are we hearing? 

  • In PART 1 which is set to MDV 1/4, each pulse (a single BPM count) is heard as a quarter note, so four notes make up one beat. 
  • In PART 2 each sound you hear is 1 step fraction of 1 pulse (where pulse is a BPM increment).  So, 1 step/1 pulse 

The point of the above was to show two different ways to configure the same thing and how they relate 

 


 

Evolving what we have built 

  • We have created a 1/1 fraction for PART TWO 
  • The points of interest here right now are RESET, RATE and MODE. 
    • RESET is the beat count at which a RESET to STEP 1 will occur (assuming your START is 1)  
    • RATE is step quantity you are using, and is the below the line variable in your fraction (eg RATE is Y in a fraction that looks like X/Y).  
    • MODE is the number after the slash (eg MODE is X in the X/Y fraction).  
    • So you have X/Y, MODE/RATE, 1/1 
  • Let's double time it by changing Y to 2 so change MODE to /2.  Now you are hearing MODE 2 over RATE 1 so 2/1 
  • Now change RATE to 2 and what you are hearing is 2/2 and it is back in sync with the PART ONE trigger again.   
  • You are hearing 2 notes played as equal halves of 2 pulses, so that would be 1 hit per pulse, sounding identical to 1/1. 
  •  

 

And now... A polyrhthym 

  • Change MODE to /3 and keep RATE at 2 
  • You should now be hearing notes that are divisioins of two pulses into three equal steps 
  • So, you are hearing 3 steps over 2 pulses where MODE is /3, Rate is 2 and X/Y is 3/2 

Armed with these basics (and preferably your significant feline), you are ready to experiment with the RATE, MODE and RESET variables.  Don't forget about PART 1 though - have a play with the MDV settings there, as well as change it to fractional rates, just to get a feel for how it all works.   

 


 

Using RESET correctly 

If you are doing this and the pulse is not occuring as you would predict it could be due to the RESET variable.  It can mess up your polyrhtym, but at times will do it in very musical ways.  The best way to avoid RESET screwing you over is make sure the RESET value is the same as your RATE value.  You could set it as ANYTHING else but unless it is a factor of your RATE value you will get occasional RESET commands executed which are in less predictable places and will create a cool kind of offset for your rhythm.  It can be used in a very musical way if you get it right. 

 

4 comments

  • Alex
    Alex Ukraine
    Hey Steve, Thank you for your work and clear explanation. I have an idea to expand/combine your approach with other great Vector features. I do not have an expander yet, but I've explored the idea using midi with VCV Rack So. Lets assume that we are using 4 different parts to sequence only triggers. And another part for chord sequence. Output of 4 pitches from chord part can be splitted to 4 different outputs on expander. Each pitch value can control different voices, same or different sources. Trigger from chord part is ignored, instead we can use 4 polyrhytmically connected trigger parts (prepared previously), to animate each "voice". This way we can have 4 different voices, each of own "transposition" based and connected by chord sequence. Steve , I would like to hear your feedback on that idea, cause virus stuff is delaying my expander for infinity =/

    Hey Steve,
    Thank you for your work and clear explanation.
    I have an idea to expand/combine your approach with other great Vector features.
    I do not have an expander yet, but I've explored the idea using midi with VCV Rack
    So. Lets assume that we are using 4 different parts to sequence only triggers.
    And another part for chord sequence. Output of 4 pitches from chord part can be splitted to 4 different outputs on expander. Each pitch value can control different voices, same or different sources. Trigger from chord part is ignored, instead we can use 4 polyrhytmically connected trigger parts (prepared previously), to animate each "voice". This way we can have 4 different voices, each of own "transposition" based and connected by chord sequence.
    Steve , I would like to hear your feedback on that idea, cause virus stuff is delaying my expander for infinity =/

  • Steve Turner
    Steve Turner
    Hi Alex. Let me write back to you what I think you are saying. 1. Custom Chord setup on PART6 (for example) 2. The four voices of PART6 are output via 4x PITCH outputs via the Vector and Jack Expander (JX). Let's say PITCH1 and 2 on the Vector, and 3 and 4 on the JX. They connect to 4x VCO 1v/o inputs. 3. Four parts could be used for gate outs. You could use GATE1 through GATE4 to outs and connect them to 4x envelopes. 4. PITCH1 to 4 are ignored, gates on PART6 are ignored. 5. VCOs receive pitch from the 4x voices on PART6 6. Envelopes receive gates from 4x GATES on PART1 through 4 In essence you are decoupling the gate and pitch signalling to separate parts, and then allowing all kinds of polyrhythmic exploration via the decoupled gates. It is a great idea! Might need to try it out. Good thinking Alex.

    Hi Alex. Let me write back to you what I think you are saying.

    1. Custom Chord setup on PART6 (for example)
    2. The four voices of PART6 are output via 4x PITCH outputs via the Vector and Jack Expander (JX). Let's say PITCH1 and 2 on the Vector, and 3 and 4 on the JX. They connect to 4x VCO 1v/o inputs.
    3. Four parts could be used for gate outs. You could use GATE1 through GATE4 to outs and connect them to 4x envelopes.
    4. PITCH1 to 4 are ignored, gates on PART6 are ignored.
    5. VCOs receive pitch from the 4x voices on PART6
    6. Envelopes receive gates from 4x GATES on PART1 through 4

    In essence you are decoupling the gate and pitch signalling to separate parts, and then allowing all kinds of polyrhythmic exploration via the decoupled gates. It is a great idea! Might need to try it out. Good thinking Alex.

  • Alex
    Alex Ukraine
    Thank you for fast reply, Steve. It would be awesome to see some kind of video on it, if you dare. You've got it just right

    Thank you for fast reply, Steve.
    It would be awesome to see some kind of video on it, if you dare. You've got it just right

  • Steve Turner
    Steve Turner
    Definitely keen. I have a bunch of work to get these HOW TO documents in to shape prior to the next major firmware update and will fit it in somewhere between. It is a great suggestion Alex.

    Definitely keen. I have a bunch of work to get these HOW TO documents in to shape prior to the next major firmware update and will fit it in somewhere between. It is a great suggestion Alex.

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