Using Gross Beat as an “On the Fly” Genre Changer: Part 1 of 3

Much has been made about the utility of Gross Beat as a Glitch plug-in for producing, but its uses are much more expansive than applying Glitch effects in a production environment.  Using Gross Beat in live performances can be very useful in changing the genre/rhythm of the playing track in a live set.  For instance, if you are playing in the 135-145 range you can change between, Dubstep, Breaks and House rhythms.

Each Gross Beat preset features 36 Time Slots and 36 Volume Slots that allow manipulation of up to a bar length. You can alter the genre of a track/loop by making a preset of “Time Slots” that alter the pattern of a bar in line with typical kick and snare patterns in the respective genres.

GB-GUI

NOTE: In the current state (which is preferred for this tutorial), the grid portion of the GUI shows 1 bar divided into 4 beats (i.e., the alternating shaded columns).  You’ll notice the negatively numbered horizontal dark lines, which indicate the amount of time in beats you are resetting the sound to. The dark  diagonal line divides sounds from the current bar (above the line) and sounds from previous bars up to 8 beats back (below the line).

For example, say you are in the middle of a Breaks set and want to change it up by mixing into a Dubstep track.  This isn’t always the easiest transition to make unless you own a track that has that transition already in it, because the snares typically hit at different times.  However, with Gross Beat you can manipulate the current track to play that snare in a Dubstep-like pattern at the press of MIDI controller or mouseclick, or vice versa (i.e., the cued Dubstep track to play a Breaks-like pattern). Check out this tutorial on how to get Gross Beat to work in Ableton using the Trigger Finger as a MIDI controller.

The following tutorial is focused on changing genres between Breaks, House, and Dubstep.  However, the information in this tutorial can be used to transition from Drum and Bass  at 170-180 bpm to something like Rap (slowed down a bit) at 85-90 bpm.

STEP 1 – SETTING UP THE GROSS BEAT PRESET

We need to define the patterns in each “Time Slot” that we want to trigger in Gross Beat.  These are really shifts in the pattern of the current bar playing.  Lets go with some wide ranging definitions of the genres we are going to transition to and from (you may disagree with my definitions, but ridiculous sub-classification and genre snobbery is the enterprise of pretentious dullards):

  • House is typically defined by its evenly spaced kick pattern, namely, a kick every beat (4 beats per bar), and snare every other beat (the beginning of the 2nd and 4th beat of the bar).

GenreBar-H

  • Breaks are typically defined by an unevenly spaced kick pattern with the snare typically hitting at the beginning of the 2nd and 4th beat of the bar.GenreBar-B
  • Dubstep is typically defined by one snare at the beginning of the 3rd beat of the bar, and a spattering of kicks somewhere within the bar.

GenreBar-DS

With these definitions, we see that the genres share some similarities.  Breaks and House have snares hitting on the 2nd and 4th beat, while Dubstep and Breaks have unpredictable kick patterns.  We usually know where the snare is hitting in these genres, so the best guide to making a pattern emulate a particular style is to plot the position of the kicks and snares.

EXAMPLE 1: BREAKS TO HOUSE

In this example, we are taking the Breaks waveform and turning it into a house rhythm (without snares), and plotting the kick at the beginning of every beat.  Looking at the “Original” waveform in the center of the image, we can see that the kick segment in pink/purple is repeated using Gross Beat by triggering the first half-beat by plotting along the dark diagonal line at the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th beat.  The second half of each beat returns to the original position (i.e., the top of the grid).

Break2House

Looking at the “Altered” waveform (at the top) – you see the representation of what Gross Beat is doing to the waveform.  I created the “Altered” waveform using the time intensive cut and paste method of beat mangling that many of us know all too well.

EXAMPLE 2: DUBSTEP TO HOUSE

In this example, we are taking the Dubstep waveform and turning it into a house rhythm (without snares), and plotting the kick at the beginning of every beat.  Looking at the “Original” waveform in the center of the image, we can see that the kick segment in pink/purple is repeated using Gross Beat by triggering the first half-beat by plotting along the dark diagonal line at the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th beat.  The second half of each beat returns to the original position (i.e., the top of the grid).

DubStep2House

So you can see that the same “Time Slot” pattern can alter both Dubstep and Breaks into House rhythms.

Again, looking at the “Altered” waveform (at the top) – you see the representation of what Gross Beat is doing to the waveform.

EXAMPLE 3: DUBSTEP TO BREAKS

In this example, we are taking the Dubstep waveform and turning it into a Breaks rhythm by plotting the kick at the beginning of 1st beat and at the half-way position between the 3rd and 4th beat (i.e., the 11/16 position of the bar).  We then plot a snare at the beginning of the 2nd and 4th beat.  Notice that the envelope on the Gross Beat GUI representing snare at the beginning of the 2nd beat is below the dark diagonal line.  This means that the snare is originating from the previous bar at -3 beats back (represented by the “-3” labeled horizontal line).  Likewise, the snare at the beginning of the 4th beat is plotted -1 beat back (represented by the “-1” labeled horizontal line). Looking at the “Original” waveform in the center of the image, we can see that the kick segment in pink/purple is repeated  and the snare segment in teal is repeated to create the Breaks rhythm.

DubStep2Breaks

The “Altered” waveform represents the output of Gross Beat using this pattern.

 EXAMPLE 4: BREAKS TO DUBSTEP

In this example, we are taking the Breaks waveform and turning it into a Dubstep rhythm by plotting the kick at the beginning of 1st and 2nd beat.  We then plot a snare at the beginning of the 3rd beat.  Notice that the envelope on the Gross Beat GUI does not have a node at the beginning of the 3rd beat to represent the snare.  Instead we are letting the loop progress for a beat and a half at the “-1” beat position, beginning at the second bar – this will trigger the snare at the beginning of the 3rd beat.

Break2DubStep

Looking at the “Original” waveform in the center of the image, we can see that the kick segment in pink/purple is repeated at the beginning of the 1st and 2nd beat, and the snare segment in teal is moved from the beginning of the 2nd beat to the beginning of the third beat to create the Dubstep rhythm.

EXAMPLE 5: HOUSE TO DUBSTEP

In this example, we are taking the House waveform and turning it into a Dubstep rhythm by plotting the kick at the beginning of 1st and 2nd beat.  We then plot a snare at the beginning of the 3rd beat.  Notice that the envelope on the Gross Beat GUI does not have a node at the beginning of the 3rd beat to represent the snare.  Instead we are letting the loop progress for a beat and a half at the “-1” beat position, beginning at the second bar – this will trigger the snare at the beginning of the 3rd beat.

House2DubStep

EXAMPLE 6: HOUSE TO BREAKS

In this example, we are taking the House waveform and turning it into a Breaks rhythm by plotting the kick at the beginning of 1st beat and at the halfway positions between the 2nd beat and 3rd beat, and between the 3rd and 4th beat.  Notice that the envelope on the Gross Beat GUI is at the original position for the snare sounds because the House and Breaks tracks have snares at the same position usually.

House2Breaks

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION OF GROSS BEAT CHANGING GENRE

Here is a download of a genre changing Gross Beat preset.

You can buy Gross Beat (VST for Windows) at the Image Line shop – present the code HDIBEGH491 and get 10% off (or follow this link to go directly to the Image Line shop with the code already applied).

Read Part 2Read Part 3.

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Posted in Gross Beat, Music Performance, Music Production, VST Patches, VST Plugins, VST Plugins
2 comments on “Using Gross Beat as an “On the Fly” Genre Changer: Part 1 of 3

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