Monday, July 22, 2013

Noatikl for iPad pt. 4

In the last tutorial, we got our Noatikl engine to start playing a beat with some built-in variations. In this part, we will finish out our drums.

Currently, our design window has a kick drum, snare and high hat and looks like:

Just a reminder that since we are using virtual MIDI, the only parts of this screen that are relevant are the voices and the MIDI channel. The other buttons, Synth, effect, etc. are only used when using the built-in Partikl synth.

To finish out the drums, we are going to add a 'shadow kick' drum and some percussive sounds. Let's start with the kick. We want the kick drum two to play one beat behind the main kick drum but only if the kick drum plays (not when it is skipped in a measure). To do this, we will again use a following voice with a delay of one beat. Tap the current kick voice, press copy. Tap it again and press paste. Tap the new voice and change its type to Follows and change the patch to D035-Kick Drum 2.

As before, we need to press the Follows button on the left of the screen, set the follow voice to 'kick', change the delay type to 'Beats ( 60th of a)', and carefully move the slider on delay to 60.


Now if you press play, hopefully you hear a nice shadow kick.

Our last percussion voice will be an electronic sounding percussion hit. We want it to normally be a fixed pattern but with occasional variation. We will use the Fixed Pattern type for this one so copy the kick voice and press paste again to 'prime' the new voice.

Change the voice name to 'Perc'. The design should look like this:


We are going to give this voice a fixed pattern but we are also going to let the voice construct its own pattern 25% of the time. To do this we will go to the pattern window and use <100 R -60 30 30 -60 60> for our pattern ( quarter note rest - 2 eighth notes - quarter rest - quarter note ). We also will change the use percent to 75.

What this means is that roughly 75% of the time, this pattern will be played but 25% of the time, the voice will make up its own pattern using the rhythm rules you provide. So on the Patterns screen you should see:


Almost done! Now press the Rules button on the left of the screen. On this screen, tap the rhythm rules option and select the "Semiquavers Only" option. (Semiquavers are 16th notes - told you a musical background helps!).


Finally, we are done the drums....mostly! All the parts play and they do sound ok together, but if you listen extremely closely, every beat is right on the money and machine-like. Real drummers aren't perfect and vary timing just ever so slightly. I'll show you on one voice but you might want to vary timing on each drum voice.

Taking the kick as an example, press edit and then select the "Micro Delays" button. We will set the Delay range to 2 and the Delay Change to 1. This means that each note may be 0,1 or 2 microseconds off its target. You can play with the range to make it more or less random. This tends to "humanize" the beats.

A lot of work for beats! What is great about Noatikl is that the beats will vary themselves. No need to create lots of patterns and go measure by measure.

Tip: save the project with just the drum kit to use in future projects as a template.

Next time we'll go into the melodic voices.



  1. Thanks again Michael. Getting a drum pattern seemed a bit tricky but this has helped.

  2. It is indeed tricky! There are many ways to do it in Noatikl - this is just one. I like to save the results as a template to start new songs - I then change up the kit, change the patch names and go from there. Another tip is to sometimes just use Noatikl for melodic chord progressions and rhythms. I then later layer in a drum part from a drum synth after the fact. Depends on whether you want the entire song generative or just parts of it.

  3. Yep, that's what have been doing: laying the drums down from DM1 afterwards.