Phrase editor polyrhythms

This is probably an obvious tip to many, but something I discovered for myself today with the help of the IRC channel:

The phrase editor has an LPB setting that is independent from the LPB of the overall track. This means you can divide the beats into quarters, 12th’s 20th’s etc on separate phrases and layer them all together to create polyrhythmic patterns. I find this a lot easier to manage than the quantize settings on a sequencer, and it has opened up a whole lot of possibilities.

I guess the old way to do this woud be the delay and ticks pattern commands, but it is quite easy to layer up some fun rhythmic things now.

Here is an image of the golden setting:

1 Like

Ohhhhhh it’s at the bottom! This entire time I didn’t realize that was there.

Thanks for the tip, I was making things difficult for myself, when really it was that simple.

xrns polyrhythm example.

16LPB 9:7:5 against 37/64.


Here’s an example using the phrase editor. This is to show creating a phrase of a different length than the main pattern.

The main pattern is 16 lines. Kick and snare tracks simply there to keep standard beat which the poly tracks can butt up against.

The clap has a phrase which has a length of 7 lines with 3 notes programmed. To trigger the phrase there is a note on the first line of the main pattern. Since the main pattern is looped at 16 lines, the note causes the phrase to retrigger, not allowing it to continue - you will see the phrase plays twice, then on the next pass it plays the first and second line, then resets back to the first line. Bummer (unless that’s what you wanted).

The open hat also has a phrase with length of 7 lines. Same notes are represented in the phrase editor. But, notice on the main pattern, the note to trigger the phrase sets a glide with GF. Setting the glide causes the 7 line phrase to not get reset when the main 16 line pattern loops and retriggers the phrase. Now I have a phrase playing a loop not constrained by timing of the main pattern (wahoo). You can hear that the clap and OH triggers fall apart into separate beats.

The second open hat is just like the first OH except the notes are one octave higher and offset by one line just to let the two hats play with each other.

Play around with some simple offset Euclidean patterns and have some fun.

phrase editor poly example.xrns

1 Like

Clever trick!

Thanks for the Glide command tip, I would have never thought to have used that.

The method I use for polys is confusing because I use 16LPB (64th notes) as my standard resolution.

I’ve tried tried to simplify it.

To place something like 7 beats, without resorting to delay column, against something like 37/64…

…in the phrase editor, I use 16 lines for one beat and place 7 of them,
then “guess” the LPB by moving it until its sounds close enough to loop against 37/64.

I usually have the loop setting on or use 8 beats instead, so if I hear the 8th beat, the LPB setting needs to be lowered down.

When I use the Glide command, the 7 beat pattern will drift away, thanks again.

Hey man,

thx for the example. But couldn’t you just make a 112 lines long pattern and copy n paste the 7 line-hihat-subpattern 16 times ?

When you encapsulate a sequence within a phrase you can treat is somewhat like a sample loop and, as example, use the backwards and trigger slice effects. In the attached example you can see me using those parameters where the slice sets the note in the phrase to start with for the clap, then I use the backwards effect to change the direction of the sequence of the hat phrase loops.

phrase editor poly glitch example.xrns

Okay, nice one man. Thanks for the explanation of the advantages of that method. What now would be great as a feature, is granular pitching of samples (so that samples keep the length regardless of transponation) instead of just shrinking it in the time domain. I know, that the rubberband tool does that for you semi-automatically but the lazy me would like to have it fully automatically. :panic:

Yes, I have an Elektron Octatrack I like to do this type of sample madness on. It is pretty flexible, but of course was quite an investment.

Speaking of which, that’s also a part of the answer to your question of why I prefer to use the phrase editor, since I do quite a bit of sequencing on that piece of hardware, it seems more translatable when I’m playing in Renoise vs. 112 lines. On the Octa I can setup each track to loop a different number of steps and flow unconstrained by any main pattern. So, I’m basically making Renoise act the same way.

Also, I tend to vision geometric spirals for rhythmic patterns. Sort of like what is shown here with this Euclidean Rhythms MIDI Pattern plugin:

Tends to at least get me where I can quickly lay out something fairly workable and tweak it to taste.

1 Like

Experimenting with this a bit more, its possible to let the 7 beat pattern against 37/64 not to drift.

I just minutely tweaked the 7 beat pattern length and LPB setting…

played back the phrase with the GF (glide command),

then deleted the Glide command during playback, before it loops again…

if its not in sync, then the loop will drift or be offbeat (Euclidean).

If its synced, then it will not drift or be offbeat.

Also, the reason I use 16 lines in the 7 beat pattern is because I want this phrase to have a resolution of 64th notes.

Typically when I hear or see something like 3 against 4, with 4 being the main beat,

there is usually no mention as to what the resolution the 3 beat is. Its just 3 against 4.

Being able to have a choice as to what the resolution is in this poly madness, to me, means more room for MaYbe command madness.

Having different LPB setting for each phrase opens a whole new world for live playback, this is really awesome. I figured that i can create drum fill variations with triplets and play around with them. It’s also great for basses.