To open the Sequencer view, tap on the following icon from the left-toolbar:
This interface provides three different views, SONG, SCENE and PATTERN, which can be toggled by tapping the corresponding button from the top left corner:
Quick links :
1. Sequencer basics
BeatMaker’s sequencer is divided into two modes which can be used together or individually:
- Song view: A classic sequencer where you can compose and arrange your patterns and recordings into a complete song, ready to be exported to an audio file
- Scene view: A performance-oriented sequencer, where you can organize groups of patterns or track arrangements, such as introductions, verses and choruses. It is especially useful as a live performance tool and to improvise and try out patterns and sequences as you go.
Both views share the same tracks and patterns: they are just two different ways of arranging and playing them.
Each bank or audio track can have patterns on the song and scene views, but only one pattern per track can be played at the same time: each track is either playing the content from the song view, or the one from the scene view.
It is possible to switch the sequencer modes for each track by taking-over the playback, which is explained later in this article.
Two important concepts are the Working track and Working pattern. The working track is set by selecting any bank or track within the Performance, Sequencer and Mixer views. When recording on a track or pattern, the current working track or working pattern is used.
A key element in BeatMaker’s workflow is the Track helper button:
It is used to control the sequencer mode and set the working pattern for the currently selected track (the working track). Tap on it to display the Track helper menu:
This menu contains a list of all available patterns for the current track. If you tap on a pattern, it is set as the current working pattern. It is also taking over any pattern currently playing in the song sequencer on the same track: the pattern now loops indefinitely, until you switch to another pattern or go back to song mode.
You can quickly add a pattern to your track timeline by drag and dropping the pattern name from the pattern list onto the desired position.
It is also possible to add audio files to your Audio tracks by drag & dropping a sample file from the Browser onto an audio track timeline.
Patterns can be edited, duplicated, renamed or deleted by pressing the 3-dots icon next to their name.
3 more options are available at the bottom of the menu:
- PLAY SONG: Tap to set the track to Song mode: the content of the song is now played (Song mode is now taking over the playback control for this track)
- STOP TRACK: Tap to stop the playback content from the song or scene for this track. You can go back to playing the song content at any time by tapping the “PLAY SONG” button from the same menu
- CREATE PATTERN: Creates a new pattern and sets it as the working pattern
The track helper button is also used to display several information:
- At the top left corner, it displays the bank letter or track number of the current working track
- If the working track is in Song mode, it displays a preview of the whole song. It also displays either “PLAYING SONG” (meaning this track is currently playing content from the song) or “STOPPED TRACK” (meaning Scene mode may be taking over the playback)
- If a working pattern is set, it displays a preview of the pattern and the pattern length.
Further explanation on taking over track playback is available in the following chapters.
2. Song mode
The sequencer is arranged vertically into tracks, displaying every Bank, Audio track and Aux track created within the current session:
You can mute or solo each track by pressing the corresponding “M” and “S” buttons.
To create a new Bank, Audio or AUX track, press the “+” button located at the bottom of the track list.
At the top of the sequencer, the Song preview lets you visualize the entire content of the song. You can also use it as a scrollbar, to quickly jump to any other part of the song:
The button located on its far right is used to define how the sequencer grid is divided (GRID DIVISION button). By default, it is set to one bar: any action made on the sequencer is quantized to one bar. You can change it to another value, as well as use the AUTO mode: the quantized value is automatically set depending on the current zoom.
Next, we can find the timeline header:
Tap on any bar to set the current play position at this location. By dragging your finger over it, you can also set the loop start and end positions (in that case make sure to enable the LOOP mode from within the Transport).
Located on its left side is the “AUTO FOLLOW” button. By enabling it, the sequencer automatically scrolls the timeline, following the current play position.
On its ride side, you can find the “Play song” take-over button. Each track also has an individual take-over button.
You can zoom in and out at anytime within the interface by pinching outward or inward.
At the bottom of the Sequencer view is located the Pattern menu:
It displays the currently selected pattern within the sequencer. Tapping it brings a menu allowing to modify properties of this pattern, such as its duration or name.
2.2 Tools for editing and arranging
Several tools are available to help you arrange and edit your MIDI and Audio patterns within the song sequencer:
The first tool with the hand icon serves several purposes:
- Dragging your finger over the sequencer scrolls the current display
- Tapping on any pattern selects it. Tapping a selected pattern removes it from the track timeline
- Tapping on an empty zone within the timeline adds the current working pattern at the tapped position
- By dragging over a selected pattern, you can move it along the song timeline to change its position
The second button is the selection tool. When activated, you can make multiple selections at the same time by dragging your finger over the timeline. You can also manually add a pattern to the current selection by tapping on it. Dragging over a selection also moves it along the song timeline.
The third and last tool is the split tool. By tapping on a pattern, it splits it into two patterns, from the tapped position. This tool follows the settings of the GRID DIVISION button.
When one or more patterns are selected, the following toolbar is displayed below the timeline:
Edit: Opens the selected pattern into the Pattern Editor
Repeat: The selected patterns are repeated once along the timeline
Duplicate: Same as Repeat, but instead a new pattern is created for each selection
Remove: Removes the selection from the song timeline. Patterns are not deleted, you can still find and use them within the Pattern menu
Set loop: Sets the sequencer loop start and end positions to the current selection
When multiple patterns are selected, the Edit option is replaced by Merge: the selected patterns are merged into a single pattern.
Automations are used to control a parameter value (such as track volume) along the song timeline. For example, you can create fade ins and fade outs within your song by automating the volume, or apply different amount of an effect through different parts of your song.
To open the automation editor, tap the “TRACK AUTOMATIONS” button located at the bottom-right corner of the song sequencer. The display is now divided into two zones: the classic song sequencer at the top and the automation editor at the bottom.
Tap on the “Create Automation” button to display the list of all available automations for the selected track:
The “Select parameter” menu displays the following types of parameter:
- Volume, Pan and 8 Send parameters for all types of tracks
- If one or more effect is loaded on this track, they are listed with all their available control parameters
- If the selected track is a Bank, all active pads and layers parameters are also available
Once you select a parameter to automate, it is added to the Automation editor. Any number of parameters can be added this way. To remove a parameter automation, tap the “X” button next to its name.
You can draw and edit automations for the currently selected parameter using the tools from the bottom toolbar:
- Hand tool: Moves the current selection by dragging vertically (changes its value) or horizontally (changes its position). If there’s no selection, scrolls within the song timeline.
- Selection tool: Drag along the timeline to select a group of parameter values
- Free draw tool: By dragging your finger along the timeline, it creates automation points following your finger movement
- Line draw tool: Creates a linear automation between two points, following your finger movement
Note that the drawing tools follow the quantize value set by the “GRID DIVISION” button.
On the right side of the Automation editor, the value range of the currently selected parameter is displayed. Use it as a reference to know the value represented by each automation point.
When one or more automation points are selected, the following options are available in the bottom right toolbar of the Automation editor:
- Duplicate: The selected automations points are copied next to the selection
- Delete: Removes the selected automation points
- Set loop: Sets the sequencer loop start and end positions to the current selection
Automation can also be edited within any MIDI or Audio pattern. Patterns created within the AUX and MAIN OUT tracks can solely be used for automations. For more information on creating automations within patterns, refer to the Pattern Editor section.
For more specific information using the sequencer's features, please refer to the following articles:
3. Scene mode
Scene mode allows you to quickly arrange and play patterns on-the-go, while keeping them synchronized and looped at any time. Press the “SCENES” button from the Sequencer view to open it:
As in the Song sequencer, tracks are arranged vertically, while scenes are displayed horizontally. A scene is like a snapshot of your song at a given moment: for each track, one pattern can be added onto a scene. Scenes can represent parts of your song, such as intro, verse, break, chorus…
3.1 Creating and arranging scenes
To create a new empty scene, press the “+” button located on the top-right corner:
Patterns can easily by arranged along your scenes by drag & dropping them from the Track helper menu:
- Select any track or bank from the Scene view
- Tap the Track helper button to show the list of available patterns for this track
- Drag & drop any pattern onto an empty scene slot for this track:
Alternatively, you can add a pattern to a scene by selecting an empty slot, and by tapping on the pattern’s name from the Track helper pattern list.
If you are working with audio tracks, you can directly drag and drop any audio file from the Browser to an empty slot.
When a scene is currently selected, a bottom-toolbar is displayed, providing the following options:
Duplicate: creates a copy of the selected scene
Delete: deletes the selected scene
Clear: removes all patterns set on the selected scene (it does not delete them)
Paste song: copies the current scene content to the Song sequencer timeline. Patterns are added to the current playback position
Rename: prompts to enter a new name for the current scene
< : moves the current scene one step left within the Scene view
> : moves the current scene one step right within the Scene view
3.2 Playing live with scenes
To trigger the playback of a scene, tap on the any scene header button:
The scene is launched whether the song sequencer is playing or not. You can switch to playing a different scene at any moment by tapping on another scene header button.
Scenes and patterns will keep looping indefinitely until you manually stop the playback. There are several ways to stop the playback of a scene or track:
- Pressing the stop icon from the Transport toolbar stops of the playback of everything, from the song timeline and scenes
- Pressing the stop icon from the top-right corner of the Scene view stops all scene patterns
- Pressing the small stop icon at the right end side of each track stops the currently playing pattern on this track
Switching playback between scenes is not necessarily done at the same time: the triggering of scenes and patterns are synchronized to a beat division, in order to keep the playback in time.
By default, the synchronization value is set to 1 bar, meaning a scene or pattern switch will only be effective once the next bar is reached. You can change the synchronization value by tapping the quantize sync button located at the top-right corner of the Scene view:
It is possible to trigger individual patterns within scenes by tapping on their slot: any combination of scenes and patterns are possible in realtime. However, only one pattern per track can be played at the same time: if Pattern 1 from Bank A is playing from Scene 1, and you trigger Pattern 2 from the same bank, it will take over the playback (Pattern 1 will stop playing).
The same behavior happens for tracks and banks playing from the Song sequencer: if the song timeline contains patterns, playing a scene or pattern from the Scene view will take over the playback for these tracks from the Song sequencer.
You can switch between the playback of a track from Scene mode or Song mode by doing the following:
- To give back complete control to the Song mode (meaning all patterns placed on the song timeline will play again), open the Song view and press the play icon at the top-right corner:
- To play back the content of an individual track from the song timeline, press the small play icon located at its right end side. When the content of a track from the timeline is not playing, you can see on the interface that patterns are displayed as disabled:
- Triggering a scene or pattern from the Scene view will take over playback from their respective tracks within the Song sequencer
It is possible to define the take over behavior for any track within a scene. For example, you can decide that when triggering a particular scene, a specific track should keep playing its content from the song sequencer or to stop it. To do so, select a pattern slot on the desired track and scene from the Scene view, and open the Track helper menu:
If you want this track to continue playing its content from the song timeline when this scene is triggered, choose “PLAY SONG”. On the contrary, if you want it to stop the playback from the song timeline, choose “STOP TRACK”. By default, all empty slots within the Scene view are set to “STOP TRACK”.
4. Pattern Editor
The Pattern Editor is used to modify the content of any MIDI or Audio pattern from your current session. Select a pattern from the Song view, Scenes view or Track helper menu and press the “PATTERN” button from the Sequencer view to open it:
A list of all pads from the current bank as well as their corresponding recorded notes are displayed. In the above example, we can see that pad number 11 is triggered every 1/8th of a bar. You can manually add, move and delete notes by using the tools provided on the bottom toolbar:
- Hand tool: Moves the current selection by dragging it vertically or horizontally. It can also be used to scroll within the editor. Doing a long press on the grid adds a new note at this location (keep holding and drag your finger to the right to set the note length)
- Selection tool: Drag along the timeline to select a group of notes. After selecting one or several notes, the bottom toolbar displays further options to Quantize, Duplicate, Delete or Copy & Paste them.
- Draw note length tool: Creates a new note with its length set by dragging your finger over the timeline
- Draw multiple notes tool: Creates new notes by dragging your finger over the timeline. The duration of each note is set by the quantize value, which can be changed at the top-right corner of the editor
MIDI parameters (such as note velocity, pitch bend, modulation…) as well as automations specific to this pattern can also be edited within the editor by tapping their respective buttons:
These two editors works similarly as for the Track Automations.
When editing a pattern which uses KEYS mode (i.e. a full instrument is loaded on an individual pad), make sure to switch the Pattern Editor to keyboard mode by pressing the following button at the top-right corner:
This switches the editing of individual notes for the currently selected pad within the Pattern Editor.
When editing an audio pattern, the Pattern Editor displays its waveform. You can further edit the audio file by pressing the “EDIT SAMPLE” button. Another interesting feature is the ability to LIVE STRETCH the sample to a specific tempo (BPM) and time signature.