Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Noatikl for iPad pt. 3

In the last tutorial, we got as far as attaching Noatikl to Sampletank via virtual MIDI and actually getting our kick drum working. To do that, we created a fixed pattern voice and provided a pattern for the kick drum which has two lines. In this post, we'll go into explaining the pattern a bit more in depth. See links on right for other tutorial parts.

If you listen carefully to the kick drum pattern, you may notice a few things:

  • Obviously there is some variation in the rhythm since two patterns are used
  • The volume of each kick varies somewhat

Let's start with the first pattern: <50 R 60 -180>

All patterns in Noatikl appear between <> brackets (which is a pain to type on an iPad!). There are several types of patterns supported by Noatikl - this pattern is a rhythmic pattern as indicated by the "R". For a drum part, the note pitch isn't usually important since you just strike the instrument. Each beat in Noatikl is represented by 60. For a rhythmic pattern, positive numbers are notes, and negative numbers are rests. The initial number (50) is used as a weighing factor determining the probability that the pattern gets played assuming you have more than one pattern.

For the kick drum, our other pattern is : <50 R 60 -90 30 -60>. Following the logic above, you can see that this pattern will play a kick on beat 1 and the 2nd half of beat 3. The total of the numbers is 240 or 4*60 which is 4:4 time. Intermorphic has more documentation on patterns here.

Using what we already know, we are now going to add a sort of high hat part to the drums. We could add a new voice from the design page by clicking + and selecting another voice type, but to save time, we will copy and past pe our kick sound. Tap on the kick and press the copy button to put it in the clipboard. Tap kick again and press paste. This gives us another voice connected to MIDI channel 10.

Tap the new voice, press edit and rename it to "hh".

We need to select another patch to get our desired sound. Bring up the voice edit screen for the hh and experiment with different patches (use the patches starting with "D" for drum sounds. I found that for the drum kit we selected in Sampletank, patch D047 sounds good even though it isn't labeled as a high hat.


When you have a pattern defined, I like to hit play and then audition different patches to pick one I like. For our pattern, press the pattern button on the left of the voice edit window and enter the following 2 patterns:


The first pattern plays a series of 8th and 16th notes and the second pattern is silence! Th 75/25 numbers mean that 75% of the time, the notes will play. 25% of the time the hh will not play. This provides some variety but we want to hear a bit more syncopation. We could create a number of alternate patterns, but there is another way to provide variation.

In the Voice edit screen, select the Basics button on the left and move the slider for "Notes rest %" to 10. This will randomly replace notes with rests 10% of the time which makes the hh tapping more interesting.


We're starting to get a beat going. Next we want to add a snare sound between the kicks. We could create another pattern on alternate beats but this time we are going to use a different voice type. The voices we have so far are "Fixed Pattern" voices. For the snare we are going to use a Following voice. Basically, we want the snare to follow the kick drum one beat behind the rhythm.

To create the snare, let's copy the hh and paste it like before and edit the name to "snare". While on the Basics edit screen, we will change the voice type to "Follows" and we will select patch D045 - I happen to prefer its sound to the snare patches.

Next, we need to select the Follow button on the left and tell the voice which voice it should follow. We will also change the Units selection to Beats (60th of a) and will set the delay slider to 60 to give a one beat delay. We will also change the Percent to 80% so the snare only plays 80% of the time for more variety. Note- setting the delay to 60 is difficult! Get a number on the slider that is close and then press the + or - button to get the value.

This is closer and closer to a full kit! Next post, we will finally finish off the drums. Often, the drums in Noatikl take me the longest to set up.



  1. Thanks Michael. Great tutorial.
    You can assign the < and > to a keyboard shortcut on the iPad. Just go into Settings/Keyboard/Add Shortcut. I use 'lt' for < and 'gt' for >
    Then all you have to do is type lt or gt.

    1. Very cool! Did not know the iPad had shortcuts - makes life a tiny bit easier for Noatikl patterns. The other frustration is when you enter the numbers and hit space. Everytime you hit space, the keyboard reverts to letters and you have to reselect the numeric keys.