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Welcome to the support section.

MOTIF: Mode Definitions and Concepts

SONG; 64 total
A Song is a linear structure with 16 tracks plus a BPM (tempo) track and a SCENE track (records Scene and Mute changes). A Song will document a musical recording including changes in tempo and changes in sequence/sound data. Song Scenes are snapshots of all current parameter settings – those that effect the sequence data itself and those that effect the synth sound – voice data. Scenes also memorize BPM, mute status and current program change. A Song uses Song Position Pointer which allows your music to synchronize (as slave) via MIDI TIME CODE (MTC) with external Multi-track recorders that generate MTC, like the AW4416 or AW2816. A Song will be able to chase/lock (auto-locate) a time location or measures and beats when slaved to a device that is sending MTC. Being a linear structure this allows for various time signatures and BPM to be used and manipulated at particular measures within the composition. This is contrasted to Pattern mode, where shorter cycling segments of music are used – [Pattern mode does not follow Song Position Pointer (by definition) and therefore the synchronization of location to precise measure and beat is not automatic.] Maximum length of a Song is 999 measures. The Motif Song mode is able to cycle loop tracks along side of linear tracks. In other words, there is a loop function designed for people that like to play along with a basic looping structure while they compose their linear tracks.

Pattern data can be converted to Song data via the Pattern Chain function. This lets you intuitively record the order of Pattern Section playback (PATTERN TRACK), tempo changes (BPM TRACK) and the track status (SCENE) in separate passes. You also can create/edit this list via PATTERN CHAIN EDIT mode. Once you have recorded and/or edited your Pattern Chain you can execute the JOB function CONVERT TO SONG. Which will write the data out on linear tracks into a Song location, complete with Program Change and initial settings. The feature is designed to work with a single PATTERN STYLE per Chain. If you use data from more than one PATTERN STYLE in the creation of your PATTERN CHAIN, the results may be unreliable, here’s why: your MIX settings can be unique per Pattern. The MIDI setup, can be unique to a Patten Style. Also knob assignments can be a problem if not the same. This is not to say that you can’t use multiple Pattern Styles to make up your chain, however, just be aware of how much data is being changed and which data is not being changed, when you switch between Styles. The Motif has a parameter that allows the MIX setting of one Pattern Style to be fixed so that you can utilize more than 16 Sections (you turn the UTILITY Load Mix parameter to OFF. If you are going to break the rule, know the consequences.

At the top of the Pattern mode hierarchy, the ‘Pattern Style’ should be understood as the components that will become a Song (the linear structure). The advantage of having the Song divided into this form is so that you can rearrange the order of playback intuitively in real time. A Pattern Style is a collection of up to 16 musical segments, called Sections. Musicians will refer to these as Intro, Verse, Chorus, Fillin, Solo, Ending - they are user definable. It is the habit of jazz (and other) musicians to refer to a section of a song by a letter, ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, etc. This is how the sections of a Pattern Style are referred to when constructing your song. A Pattern Style has 16 Sections. It has a basic BPM (tempo) shared by all Sections. Although you can do other things with it, a Pattern Style represents a Song broken into its component sections. Each Pattern Style can also store with it a basic MIDI track transmit configuration, a complete MIXER configuration (this includes setups for the system/insertion effects, 16 sounds and their edits, etc. All of these things are recalled when a Pattern Style is recalled.

SECTION; 16 per Pattern Style
A Section is defined as one of sixteen musical segments that make up a Pattern Style. It is user definable as to content, purpose and length from 1 to 256 measures. Each Section has coincidentally, 16 tracks (one for each part of the multitimbral tone engine), one per MIDI channel, initially. You define a Section by how you want to arrange your composition. In other words, if you divide your song into A= Intro, B= Verse 1, C= Chorus 1, D= Solo, and E= Vamp out, you can intuitively restructure the arrangement as it plays back. ‘ABBCBDABBE’ could be your arrangement this time and ‘ABCCBDECE’ the next time through. Sections are lettered A through P. Sections can be recalled while in Pattern mode at any time via dedicated buttons when the [SECTION] button is illuminated. You do not need to re-record a Section to make it repeat – you simply select it to play in real time. Not only does this save memory but allows for audible ‘try-outs’ of the song arrangement. You can later document this in a Pattern Chain, which in turn, can be converted to a linear Song.

TRACK; 16 Per Section
A Track is defined as one of sixteen locations to store MIDI channel data. Each track is assigned a MIDI channel from 1-16 to transmit on. Any channel message that appears on a track will effect all connected MIDI devices on that MIDI channel. For example, if you set the Reverb Send, control change message 91, to a value of 55. It will be set the reverb send to 55 for this track in all Sections of the current Pattern Style. If you set the volume for Track 1 to 123, it will set the volume for this track in all Sections of the current Pattern Style to 123. Tracks always contain MIDI data, even when that MIDI data is controlling the playback of audio samples. Audio samples are assigned MIDI notes and the data to control them is recorded on a specific track. Yamaha Pattern mode automatically places your recorded data in a namable, numbered entity called a Phrase. So behind the scenes when you place a track in record, the MOTIF will place that data in a user Phrase – this will allow you to recall the note data and the current settings as one unit. Tracks can contain a Phrase per Section. For example, you record a piano part by placing Track 1 of Section A in record, the MOTIF will automatically place this data in USER Phrase 001. That Phrase will ‘remember’ what sound was called at the time you recorded. While in RECORD Standby, you can press [F2] to see the Voice and other setup data that will be associated with this phrase. Motif will recall the sound whenever the phrase is recalled (unless you override this in the MIXER). When using internal sounds, you never have to worry about inserting program changes in the pattern data – the phrase ‘remembers’ this data in a header.

PHRASE; 1 Phrase per Track per Section
The “Phrase” is what separates a Song Track from a Pattern Track. Any data recorded to a Track in a Pattern mode Section gets stored in a namable, recallable and numbered User Phrase. In addition to the 256 possible User Phrases in each Pattern Style (16 Sections times 16 Tracks = 256 User Phrases), the MOTIF gives you access to 128 Preset Drum Phrases. Preset Drum Phrases can be offset in real time via the PLAY FX and other knob functions. However, Preset Phrases can be permanently event edited only after copying the data to a User Phrase. Each Phrase will recall the original sound or kit that was used, unless you override it in the MIXER. As mentioned earlier, each Pattern Style has a MIXER for settings (MIXING mode). From the main Pattern mode PLAY screen you can select [F5] TR VCE or TRACK VOICE. This parameter lets you turn ON or OFF the Motif’s ability to recall the Voice associated with the Phrase. If OFF you are free to revoice (select any other sound for the entire track) and if ON the Motif will recall the Voice that was used to record the Phrase. The Phrase concept makes it possible to activate a musical passage in a Section without having to copy or replay the data. It also does not use additional memory, either MIDI or sample. This is accomplished in what is called a Pattern Patch – press [F4] PATCH to view the PATCH screen. Although you do not have to name each phrase, you can. If you want to make a copy of the data, you can freely do so. It is also possible to export (from Pattern to Song) and/or import (from Song to Pattern) any musical passage up to 256 measures in length. These Pattern mode jobs are called PUT PHRASE and GET PHRASE. They allow you to move seamlessly between Song mode (linear mode) and Pattern mode (loop based sections). Creatively speaking, Phrases within a Section can be of various lengths. In other words, not all Phrases that are activated in a Section need be the exact same length. This allows for Pattern
Sections to evolve as they play back. A 12 measure bass line playing alongside an 8 measure drum part, with a 6 measure piano part will create a special 24 measure cycle of their own.

All that said, nothing says you can’t bend these structures to your needs. But an understanding of how it works musically can only help. Talking as a musician you can understand the words used in the MOTIF interface. A “Pattern Style” – used like in the sense that all sections of a Pattern Style will be related – most likely as a part of the same song – but calling it song would be confusing because of the other Song mode. The word Style from the use, “style of music”, like Bossa Nova, or Detroit Techno or House. In general, all parts (Sections) of a PATTERN STYLE share the same tempo and probably instrument layout (MIXER) settings. A “Section” – the word is used just as musicians would use it – a section of music – verse, chorus, intro, solo, etc. A “Track” is just what you have always known it to be – a place to store MIDI data. Remember even ‘audio’ tracks contain the MIDI data that controls their playback.

The “Phrase” is a recallable bit of data – it is the data on a track. This allows you to recall your own recordings from a phrase data base – you have 256 phrases per Pattern Style and access to the units 128 Preset Drum Phrases. The “Phrase” innovation is what is new to many. It is like a computer librarian approach to all your MIDI recordings – it automatically remembers (writes to a header) what sound is selected, what the length of the Phrase is, what the time signature is, and whether or not the Phrase will transpose when that PLAY FX is applied. You never have to insert Program Change events in looping patterns because the PHRASE concept memorizes the Voice used. Placing Program Changes in the event list would only cause timing errors, especially if you are recalling 16 sounds every cycle. By placing this setup data in a header that accompanies the phrase, the MOTIF is able to recall internal sounds without any timing glitch. Once understood you will love phrases. Importing (GET) and Exporting (PUT) Phrases to and from Song Mode is also very cool. Things like Twiddly Bits and any SMF data becomes data you can import and use. In fact, it doesn’t matter what sequencer was used originally to create the data, if there is a way to save it as a Standard MIDI File (SMF) you can import the data to the MOTIF. Once in the MOTIF you have all the control and functionality. You can create your own drum patterns/grooves and export them as SMF, as well - market them, trade them with friends.

Tip: When using Pattern Chain mode’s CONVERT TO SONG Job, it may become necessary for you to move (or remove) Bank Select/Program Change events to musically convenient clock pulses. If you use several different sounds on a track (changing from Section to Section) the MOTIF will place the Bank Select and Program Change event on the first clock tick of the measure where that Section is to begin playback. Moving the event a few ticks early will normally take care of any glitch problems. When converting a PATTERN CHAIN to Song – start it at measure 2: M002. That way you can move all the initial program changes back to measure 1 – this ensures a glitch-free start. Actually, when you convert the data to Song the MOTIF automatically stores the initial mix. So the data is redundant – it is included because you may wish to export the Song data as a SMF for use elsewhere.

Pattern > Pattern Chain > Song
How you use the MOTIF will be determined by your goal as a finished product. If you are into ‘live’ performance, you may find PATTERN mode as the perfect vehicle with all of its real time arranging functions. If you are linking the MOTIF to MTC via an external MTR (multi-track recorder), you will need, at some point, to convert your Patterns to a SONG. SONG mode has the distinct advantage of being able to sync with chase/lock auto-locate. Pattern mode can follow MIDI clock but it cannot, by definition, follow Song Position Pointer.

This means that because Patterns are usually short cycling segments it is not suitable to chase (find the measure-beat-clock location within a linear structure, like a song recorded on a MTR). This is a principal reason to convert to SONG: ‘intelligent’ synchronization with external MIDI devices. Pattern Chain is the intermediate step that allows you to either record your Section changes intuitively in real time, or via an event list. There are 3 tracks in Pattern Chain Mode: one to record Pattern Section changes, a second for BPM (tempo) changes and the third for MUTE activity. Once you have performed and edited your Pattern Chain, you can use the CONVERT TO SONG job to create a linear event listing of your data. The MOTIF will not only convert the note-on and controller data but it will recreate your complete mixer settings. It will also place the necessary Bank Select/Program Change data in the event list. You may find it necessary to move these events if they interfere with the timing of playback. If you use lots of program changes within your data, recognize that the MOTIF is able to embed its own bank select/program change data per Phrase while in Pattern mode. This is handled in a system exclusive header since it is talking directly to the internal tone generator. When this data is converted to a linear structure, the SONG, the bank select and program change information is inserted in the track data as standard MIDI events. Normally, one does not want to insert Bank Select/Program Change messages in Pattern mode because it would interfere with the playback timing – besides who wants the program change event happening every time the pattern cycles? You can use the EDIT VIEW filter to isolate just the program change events so that you can easily move them to an appropriate clock pulse so that they do not interrupt smooth playback.

You may find it prudent, for example, to start in Pattern mode, convert to Pattern Chain, then to Song. When you get to Song mode, you can ‘overdub’1 your audio tracks, vocals, guitars etc. When all of your audio overdubs are complete you can return to Pattern mode via the SPLIT SONG TO PATTERN job or leave the Song in linear mode. Of course, you do not have to convert the entire Pattern to Song. The MOTIF has job functions to PUT PHRASE data into a linear Song and to GET PHRASE data from a linear song. The PUT PHRASE job lets you move pattern data (phrases) into a Song. Then you can cut and paste it and take advantage of the obvious advantages of Song mode (MTC, chase/lock auto location, automated time signature and tempo changes, etc.) The GET PHRASE job allows you to “sample” MIDI phrases from any SMF. The potential is awesome.

The Mute concept is probably not new to you if you have been around any digital mixers or recording gear in the last 15 years. The Pattern Chain and Song modes will allow you to record track MUTE status directly to the SCENE track – you can document when a track is to play or be muted. There are 5 SONG SCENE MEMORY locations per SONG for instant changes. A Scene is a ‘snapshot’ of all the real time parameter settings, including the MUTE status of the track, the tempo, transpose, Groove and current Program Change information. They can be stored with the Song and can be updated while the unit plays back. Scenes are a concept from our digital mixers and are available in the Motif in Song mode only. Artful use of Scenes can greatly increase the sonic possibilities within your Song.

Mute experiment
If you are in [SONG] or [PATTERN] mode, press the [MUTE] button – all 16 track LEDs will illuminate. You can mute data (stop from sounding) on any of the 16 tracks by pressing a button [1] – [16] – the muted track LED will go out. This is literally stopping the signal from leaving the Multi-track recorder (sequencer). Therefore, nothing after this will receive the data, including the MIDI OUT. However, you will notice that if you now press the [TRACK SELECT] button and select the track you muted, you can still play and hear that sound on the Motif keyboard. Okay, that is observation number one. Please return all muted tracks to normal before proceeding. Press [MUTE] and un-mute any tracks you muted.

Now, try pressing the [MIXING] button for the Song or Pattern you are in and then press the [MUTE] button. This time mute that same track, then go to [TRACK SELECT], select the track and attempt to play the keyboard. It does not sound. Instead of muting the multi-track recorder, you have now muted the musician (like putting a bag over the guitar player – how many times have you wished to do that?). You have muted the PART! You cannot play that sound on the keyboard anymore. This is observation number two. Please return all tracks to normal before proceeding.

So here we have learned about two kinds of muting. File that in your memory banks. What is happening OUT via MIDI during these two mute operations? Good question. Can you guess? In the first
scenario, from the main Pattern or Song screen when you mute a track during playback, the sequencer will mute, but you will still be able to communicate with
sounds both internal and external via MIDI by playing on the keyboard. However, if you enter mute from the MIXING mode, you will be able to mute the internal part and have the external MIDI part continue to play as before and you will be able to play the external sound without the internal sound.