How to add variation to Digitakt patterns: Probability

Keeping tracks interesting over minutes is a big challenge for each performer, especially when using grooveboxes like the Elektron Digitakt with limited pattern length.

Luckily, there are many methods and techniques to counteract this and keep the track moving over a long time.

I wrote down some of the techniques I'm using to add variation to static patterns on the Digitakt and will share them with a little series of blog posts. Some of these techniques apply to other grooveboxes as well - the Teenage Engineering OP-Z offers Trig Conditions as well, for instance, so you might wanna use these with your gear too.

This time I wanna talk about "Probability".

The Digitakt Probability Setting

This is a new setting that was introduced with Digitakt Firmware 1.20. It plays trigs, as the name indicates, by probability.

Beside Trig Conditions (covered in one of the next posts), the new "Probability" setting plays a huge part in many of my patterns. I often use it to generate random melodies or random percussion tracks.

This jam is a good example. The synth that's playing here is basically a 64 step pattern where each single trig plays a note in the range of the base chord of this track.

I started with a 16 step pattern here and put a note trig on each of the 16 steps. Then I slightly modified more or less each trig by changing volumes, shifiting microtimes, raising the octaves and so on.

Next I copied the page and pasted it to page 2, 3 and 4. Lastly I've set the "Probability" to 10% as I want the melody to start inconspicuous and playing in the background.

While I perform the track, I'm slowly increasing the amount of "Probability" in the middle of the track to intensivy the mood to nearly 60%. More notes are being played. And I'm taking the amoung slowly back when the track is coming to its end. On top, the filter is opened and closed.

The melody that comes out here is a never-repeating pattern that's getting contentrated in the middle of the track. I use the same technique with percussion sounds or hats. It gives the track something unpredictable and surprising moments.

Do you use the "Probability" setting as well? Put your experiences in the comments below!

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59 Perlen was born in Gemany and lives nowadays in Zurich, Switzerland. Producing electronic music is his passion since 20 years. He performs Digitakt dawless tracks, scores ambient music for contemporary art projects, teaches music performances and co-hosts the monthly podcast "The Life Of Music".

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