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Recording Drums to the MOX Pattern Mode

Recording Drums to the MOX Pattern Mode

You may opt to use PATTERN mode for drum track creation. Pattern mode itself is designed around how old-style drum machines worked.  That is, you have a set number of measures that will automatically loop and allow you add data on each pass. This became very popular as most drum machine purchasers where not drummers, and therefore needed multiple passes to complete a complete sounding drum pattern. Loop recording makes it so much easier to record drum and percussion parts. Also memory on early drum machines was extremely limited. You could record a maximum of 1 or 2 measures at a time… then you linked (chained) those short patterns together to make a drum composition.

You can record by overdubbing (adding while listening to what you have so far) as the phrase cycles around. If you have never played drums before, not to worry… programming drum grooves from a keyboard is not for everyone. But you may find that you have an undiscovered talent for it anyway.

Drummers are not even aware sometimes that they make the best drum programmers, because there is such a thing as “thinking like a drummer”. The most convincing drum grooves are those that sound as if they could actually be played.

The principal keys (notes) for the basic drum kit are found between C1-B2 on the keyboard. There you will find a kick or bass drum, several different permutations of snare (full, sidestick, handclap), toms, high hats, rides, crashes, tambourine, vibra-slap and cowbell. Above this you will get into full on percussion and other miscellaneous stuff. Below C1 you will find alternate kicks, snare rolls, brushes, etc. A list of the drums and how they are mapped to the keyboard can be found in the MOX6/MOX8 DATA LIST (PDF).

The more you listen to good drummers the more you will be able to effectively program convincing drum grooves. One word of advice though, nothing says you have to emulate real drums but remember a drummer has only four limbs that they use for playing the kit. They only use two sticks and have only two feet (in most cases)… so if you have toms rolls, snare hits, high hats, crashes and rides all happening at once, just remember you have created a science fiction “virtual” drummer. Good and great programming leaves the listener unconcerned (and unaware) that it is not a real person sitting behind a real kit.

If you have no talent for programming your own drums, remember the MO-X comes with more than 1900 drum patterns in the arpeggio section. Up to six different arpeggio types (grooves) can be assigned to the [SF] buttons for quick access. You can record while activating the different arpeggios so it is easy to outline a track with fill-ins and transitions.

Go to PATTERN mode and assign a drum kit to Part 1 of a blank pattern.
• Press [MIXING]
• Press [ARP EDIT] - the dedicated [ARP EDIT] button (located to the left of the screen next to the ARP ON/OFF button)
• Press Track [1] to view PART parameters
• Press [F3] MAIN

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• Set the SWITCH = ON
• Set HOLD = ON
• Set CHANGE TIMING = MEASURE

• Press the main [ARP ON/OFF] switch to activate the arps – located to the left of the dedicate [ARP EDIT] button.

This will allow the ARP to play the drums when you touch a key. You will not have to hold down a key manually and when you do change arpeggios they will change at the top of the next measure (quantizing your button selection – making the transition between arp types flawless). 

Press [F2] TYPE – here you can select the different arpeggio types (patterns) by Category/Number.

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In general, the name of the selected ARP TYPE will appear on the top line of the screen. You will see a two-letter prefix (as part of the ARP name) that will give you a clue about what type of drum groove you’ve selected. “MA” for example, is a Main “A” section groove, “MB” is a Main “B” section groove. “M” for main and the letter following is degree of complexity with “B” being more complex than “A”, “C” being more complex than “B”, and so on.

“F” as a first letter is for Fill-in, “I” is for Introduction, and “B” as the first letter is a Break. But this is in general, you can use whatever you want wherever you want – after all, it is your music. Simply pick the drum arp type by ear – not necessarily by is suggested by the prefix.

At the bottom of the screen you can select from the more than 1900 “DrPc” category Drum and Percussion arpeggio TYPE – listed between #3869 and #5804.

As a quick example let’s setup 6 arp types:
• Press [SF1] ARP1 and assign:
Bank = PRE
Category = DrPc
SubCategory =
Type = 3869 “MA_Standard Rock”

In turn assign the following:
• Press [SF2] ARP2
Type = 3870 “MB_StandardRock”

• Press [SF3] ARP3
Type = 3871 “MC_StandardRock”

• Press [SF4] ARP4
Type = 3872 “FA_StandardRock”

• Press [SF5] ARP5
Type = 3873 “FB_StandardRock”

• Press [SF6] ARP6
Type = 3874 “FC_StandardRock”

Activate the main [ARPEGGIO ON/OFF] button

You can hear that #3869 (MA) is like the verse, and #3870 (MB) the drummer opens the groove to the ride cymbal (chorus), and you can use #3872 (FA) as fill-in to transition between the main A and the main B grooves. And you can use #3873 (FB) to transition between the main B and main C grooves #3871. That is how it is designed to work… but you do not have to do this at all – just file that away in your memory banks. There are no rules about using any of this. You can decide to use a Fill-in as a main groove – it’s your music.

When you press RECORD, you record yourself making these types of transitions, you are given access to the [SF] buttons controlling the arpeggio types. You can interactively recall Fill-ins and move from arpeggio to arpeggio.
Before you enter record in Pattern mode, you must set the Length parameter - this determines how many measures will be recorded before it cycles back around to the top. On the main screen of a blank Pattern set the Length to 008 measures (the default is 004)
Press [RECORD]
On the [F1] SETUP screen set the parameters that define your recording
TYPE = overdub or replace
LOOP = OFF (when working with arps you want the recording to automatically stop once the phrase has been recorded)

For example, say you want to create an 8 measure VERSE Section for SECTION [A] where in measure 8 there is a fill-in:

You can accomplish this by starting with [SF1] ARP 1 and record through measure 7… during measure 7 press [SF4] ARP 4. The arp will switch at the top of measure 8 creating the fill-in. It is a good idea and is recommended that you turn LOOP OFF when you record arpeggios to PATTERN mode – this is so that the sequencer STOPS automatically at the end of the LENGTH you have selected. It will automatically loop on playback.

The data generated by the arpeggio pattern type will be written out as individual MIDI events to the targeted track. So rather than just one note-on event being responsible for the playback, every event is actually written to the track (where you can now individually edit each event, if you so desire). And significantly you can assign an arpeggio elsewhere – because the drums no longer need the arpeggiator it becomes available for use on a completely different PART.



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