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How do I organize a song with my completed patterns?

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I just purchased a moxf6 and it is confusing with the manual.

Posted : 07/03/2016 4:29 am
Bad Mister
Posts: 12304

As a composing tool the MOXF sequencer provides two modes: Pattern and Song. Patterns are cycling musical sections that represent the composition broken down into verse, chorus, interlude, solo, bridge, etc., Musicians often speak in terms of a composition in letters for example, a simple tune might have a form that is AABA where "A" is a verse section, and "B" is the chorus. The Pattern sequencer has 16 Tracks, each track represents the data for a different musical instrument. A Pattern Section can be from 1 to 256 measures in length. This Length setting is fairly easy to understand; we mentioned that Patterns cycle (loop) so the Length is how many measures you are going to record before the section begins again.

The cycling or looping of the Pattern Section makes it easier to construct. You can work exclusively on a single section of the composition at a time... Much like a band rehearses, you work on the single section until you have it perfected, then you work on the next section. Orchestras, large and small work out the form of their music in this fashion. Once you have the section together, you work on the next... And once you have all your sections rehearsed and ready, you string them together into a single long composition. In the MOXF this involves creating a Pattern Chain and converting that Chain to a linear SONG.

A Song, as defined in the MOXF, is a linear structure that plays back from the 'top' to the 'end' of the composition - during which time the measure counter advances continually... Starting at measure 1 and counting up from there. Much like the linear nature of a tape or a vinyl record, the playback is linear.

If your "A" Section is 8 measures, and your "B" Section is 8 measures, a composition that has an AABA structure could be made by allowing Pattern Section "A" to play through twice before advancing to Section "B", which plays through once, then back to Section "A". In Pattern mode you can create this playback scenario by starting with Section "A", pressing the play button, while listening to the playback you would allow Section "A" to play through two times: 1-8 and then measures 1-8 again... Some where during measure #8 the second time through you would press the Section "B" button. At the top of the next measure the Pattern Sequencer will switch and playback your Section "B". Some where in the 8th measure of Section "B" you press the Section "A" button - at the top of the next measure it would begin playing back Section "A"... Thus outlining the AABA structure.

This is exactly how you can have the MOXF sequencer assemble your composition. If you do that above button-pushing construction scenario while the PATTERN "CHAIN" function is active you will have "taught" the MOXF the playback order of your musical Sections. You will wind up with a Chain that is linear in nature, counting from measure 1 through measure 33... Thirty-two measures of music and a stop command executed at the top of measure 33.

The Pattern Chain can then be edited (if necessary) and then converted to a linear SONG location where your Sections disappear and the music is simply written out into one long (linear) composition. The measure counter will now advance from 1-33... Instead of 1-8, 1-8, 1-8, 1-8 stop, it will count 1-32 and a Stop command will be issued at the top of measure 33. It is at this point you overdub (add) you lead sounds or overdub those musical parts that continue or overlap the musical section changes...

Those are the fundamentals. You are given 16 Pattern construction Sections, A-P, so your compositions can be quite complex. And as mentioned, the construction Sections can be as long as 256 measures, so you have lots of flexibility for long solo sections or interludes etc. Or if you want the second verse to be slightly different from the first, you can use the Sections as YOU see fit. They are completely user definable as to their roles in YOUR composition.

The manual gives you this same story (with pictures) about where to find the buttons you need to press. But from this scenario you can construct a composition. You do not "have to" work as outlined above, but it is available to you, if you wish. An alternative method would be the original Les Paul invention of "linear multi-track recording" ... This is where you lay down each track one at a time, from start to finish. While listening back to your original recording you "overdub" a second track from start through finish. And as you listen to playback of the first two tracks you add a third, again from start to finish, and so on. This is how recording has been done since the middle of the last century on multitrack tape recorders.

You can combine workflows to suit your needs. The important thing to know is: there is not one single method to work. And you're not "supposed to" work any particular way. It is completely up to you. It's your music, you create it your way.

Hope that helps. Do not convince yourself that manual doesn't describe this well. It's just that it may be new to you, that's all. Read it again now with some of the overall concepts I have attempted to describe in your pocket. Experiment with a simple tune, one you 'know' really well... The mistake MOST new users make is they start by attempting to record an unwritten or unfinished composition... So when confronted with so many choices they cannot just proceed... They instead bog down, caught between what they *should do* next and what they *want to* do next.

If you experiment with a simple, well known (to you) tune first while you are learning the tool, you will have a goal in sight and can easily proceed to that goal, rather than sitting there scratching one's head about what to do next. Don't start with a blank canvas without an idea of what you want to paint (not the very first time) learn the tool - learn how the brush works by painting something specific. You can concentrate better on learning when the music you are recording is already known to you.

Make sense? Let us know how you make out.

Posted : 07/03/2016 11:13 am

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