Allow patterns to play in certain orders and certain times - Song Mode

What is the problem?

In the Play’s Song Mode it’s only possible to play individual patterns, or chain them sequentially. This basic implementation of Song Mode misses the possibility to easily create and update song structures.

What do you want to achieve?

Allow patterns to be played in ANY order, not just sequentially or individually. In a true Song Mode it should be possible to play pattern 1 (x4), then pattern 2 (x2), then pattern 1 (x2), then pattern 3 (x4) etc. This would allow song structures to be built, so the producer can just hit play and focus on applying effects in Perform mode.

Are there any workarounds?

Although song structures can be created by copying patterns in a sequence, any changes in a pattern must be then replicated manually in the other instances, which is impractical and prone to mistakes.

Any links to related discussions?

None

Any references to other products?

MPCs, Elektron devices…

22 Likes

Looks good! I have edited the request a bit for completion. If the changes are ok, we can move this draft to the #wishlist.

1 Like

Thank you! Moved to the #wishlist and accepting votes now.

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This is also how Pocket Operators work. Brilliant. Want it as hell. Also, the relatable thing:

Variation/pattern randomizer - Wishlist / Draft wishes - Polyend Backstage

3 Likes

Agree this would be amazing. I’m also finding that because a pattern only plays once it doesn’t adhere to Chance rules you have created because it always retriggers from the start.

So let’s say I have a pattern where parts are on a “play 2, skip 2” setup. If I copy that pattern out to make a chain of 4, it doesn’t actually execute that “play 2, skip 2” rule because every time it plays a new pattern, it starts from 1 again, meaning the skips never happen.

I guess the alternative would be for the Play to recognise when you’re chaining the same pattern and to then adhere to the Chance rules you have put upon that pattern. Either would work.

7 Likes

An idea of one possible method by which this could be simply and seamlessly achieved:

A way to make chaining patterns more creative and flexible would be to allow non-consecutive patterns to be chained by holding shift + the patterns – once you let go, then those patterns play as a chain until you jump out of chain mode or select a new chain.

An option could be pop up in the main menu to “Save Chain” – this could then appear in Pattern Mode as a different colored button. You now have individual patterns in Pattern Mode (white buttons), as well as “Chain Patterns” which hold arrays of different patterns in any order. Then patterns within an array of a Chain Pattern could appear as a third color. For added complexity, Chain Patterns can include Chain Patterns (for arrays of arrays) which would appear in a fourth color (I assume these varying colors are possible owing to the change in colors in Perform Mode).

This would not compromise any current functionality and would be a simple way to add a new creative dimension to this inspiring device.

3 Likes

Love this idea. I think this would solve another inconvenience which occurs when I have a repeated pattern (a verse for example) that I realize needs to be modified, typically a volume adjustment. I then need to identify all the places that pattern exists (not an easy task) and replace it with the updated version.

1 Like

The 64 seq length max is Ok for using the matrix. But as others have pointed out the skip and random functions make a sequence evolve and permutate far beyond 64 steps. Why not make the track length assignable out to 128 (256?). Sure you can only use the matrix within 64 steps but when chaining patterns you can have each play out beyond 64.

3 Likes

Yes, this issue along makes the ‘proper’ song mode the most important thing to be implemented imo.

Or maybe something like a setting on the pattern level called “play pattern N times”. Looks like it’s quite easy to implement and it would enhance current song mode capabilities and also would solve that issue with chance actions. I think recorded automation should also expand to extended pattern length.

Yes! When looking at Pattern view, (long press?) the selected cell will accept data from the Track Length knob. The number displayed will be the number of times the pattern will repeat before proceeding to the next pattern.

There is another possible way: in the Patterns mode, hold Shift and press a pattern pad as many times as the pattern should be repeated. The number of repeats should be reflected in the display next to the pattern name in the top right corner. Also, repeat status should be written in the playback progress bar. Like 3/4, which means it is the third repeat currently being played out of 4 total.
Looks like we have a complete feature idea sorted out here!

And to be clear to those just beginning to think about this:
The current Pattern Chaining allows each pattern to be played with only one iteration.
Repeating a given pattern in the pattern chain isn’t the answer because it resets the chance and random functions.
I suppose if the same pattern when assigned to multiple cells could be prevented from random/chance reset… but what if you do want it to reset?
We really need to assign a number of iterations to each pattern cell.

2 Likes

It’s almost a year old wish, good luck waiting for all those who are still on board.

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I guess they were busy with P+ and its synth engines recently, and now they need to sell it. OG and plus share very much functionality, so maybe some of the top wishes including this one would be adressed finally.

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This is one of the top-voted wishes for Play. I do hope it has a home in 1.5! I haven’t bothered trying to write songs on the Play because this is missing.

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This is highest on my wishlist. Lets hope it´s in the next update on both Play and Play+.

When you really start to work on that, I would like to add a suggestion, something which is really missing in my opinion.

If Transport Out is enabled, make the Poly send out the MIDI Song Position Pointer (which is a System Realtime Message) when you change a pattern in the pattern editor to be able to sync slaved sequencers. And at the same time make the Poly receive and process incoming MIDI Song Position Pointers from some MIDI Master and set the current pattern in the sequence according to that.

Also when pressing Play you always send out the System Realtime Message “Start”, which always make the song of attached slave sequencers start from the beginning. I used my MidiHub to transform Start into Continue so this won’t happen. Maybe add some option to be able to control that too.

3 Likes

I agree that this could work, but I’m concerned about the usability…

Right now, in Pattern mode, you see a left-to-right row of your ‘song’, and you know that it’s going to play from left-to-right, each pattern exactly one time, beginning with the left-most SELECTED pattern.

With this feature, though, that breaks. How would you know which pattern is going to play in which order, and how many times? Would the sequence and repetitions be shown somewhere on the screen?

Play has been my goto sequencer since getting one when first released. I love the simplicity of pattern chaining. My one big desire is to be able to delete, insert and move patterns. E.g. I create a sequence of patterns that really works but now i want to insert an intro, or a breakdown in the middle. Currently, unless ive missed something, i am forced to copy and paste patterns one by one to make room. Tedious and prone to errors.

1 Like