PHRASE FACTORY: Recording Arpeggio MIDI data to external sequencers
Phrase Factory is our pet name for the musical content that is available within the MO. Specifically, this includes the more than 1700 musical arpeggios (with tons of guitars and bass data played by actual players), nearly 700 drum grooves (played by real drummers) and the endless variations possible with the Real Time Loop Remix function. This short article will be on using the arpeggios and recording the MIDI data from them to an external sequencer. Five different arpeggio patterns can be associated with your Song or Pattern Mix. This article assumes you are using a Song or Pattern MIXING setup to house your multi-timbral/multi-MIDI channel setup – as recommended when working with an external sequencer. And although our example uses a MO6/MO8 connected via USB-MIDI to a computer running Cubase AI4.5.
In our example, PART 04 of the MIXING setup is an electric guitar. I have already laid down several tracks in Cubase (drums, bass and a clavinet) – I decide as my fourth Part, I want to use the funk guitar arpeggios associated with VOICE User 1: 044 (C12) Funk Star
• Place the Voice in Part 04 of the MIXING setup
• Press [MIXING]
• Press [JOB]
• Press [F3] COPY
• Setup to Copy the Arpeggios associated with the Voice currently in PART 04 to the current MIX
• Press [ENTER], [YES] to execute
This will copy the five arpeggios associated with this Voice to the current MIXING setup. I will be able to, in real-time, switch between the arpeggio patterns as I record the output to Cubase AI4.5. Pressing the Sub-function [SF1]-[SF5] buttons while Cubase is recording will allow me to dynamically move between the 5 arpeggio patterns. This kind of “live” performance will add spontaneity and life to your recording. The advantage of using the Phrase Factory (arpeggios) is that much like handing a musical chord chart to a guitar player, the MO’s arpeggios are interpretations that add real guitar articulations and gestures to our recording. Each Arpeggio comes to life when you feed it chord progressions. How you voice a chord and when you let go of particular notes can make a huge difference in how the pattern “plays” – with guitar arpeggios it is important to use chord inversions to vary the patterns. When doing funk guitar use principally 4 and 3 note chords to outline the chords you need for your composition. You may even want to reduce the number of held notes to a single note at times.
Setting up to record arpeggio MIDI data Cubase and MO6/MO8
This short tutorial is in two sections:
1) Record the arpeggio data from the MO to Cubase as MIDI data.
2) Playback the MIDI data to the MO from Cubase
RECORD: MO > Cubase
Background: Local Control – determines if your key presses go directly from the keybed to the synthesizer Tone Generator (local control = ON) or if they go OUT via MIDI to the computer or external device (local control = OFF). When working with a computer sequencer it is pretty standard to work with Local Control = OFF and use the track of the computer sequencer to “echo back” (sometimes called THRU) to the tone gnereator.
On the MO, when attempting to record arpeggio data, Local Control must be set to ON. In order to properly record your arpeggio data to Cubase we will temporarily turn the Local Control ON. This will allow the key presses to go directly to the arpeggiator triggering the MO’s tone generator before we route them out via MIDI to the software. We will also want to prevent our key presses from being recorded into Cubase – we only want to record the output of the arpeggiator. We will want to synchronize the clock of the MO to the Cubase Master clock. Here’s how to set things up:
Set the MO to Local Control ON
• Press [UTILITY]
• Press [F5] MIDI
• Press [SF2] SWITCH
• Set LocalCtrl = ON
Set the MO to external MIDI Sync and shut Sequencer transport Control OFF
• Press [SF3] SYNC
• Set MIDI SYNC = MIDI
• Set Clock Out = OFF
• Set the SEQ CTRL = OFF
Set the MO Sequencer so that it does not transmit the key-presses out via MIDI – you do this by turning the External transmit Switch to OFF. From the main [SONG] or [PATTERN] mode screen
• Press [F3] TRACK
• Press [SF2] OUT SW
• Set the EXT SW = OFF for the TRACK/PART you are using (screen shot below Part 4 is being used)
Set PART 04 as the arpeggio Part by turning its ARP PART Switch = ON
• Press [MIXING]
• Press [EDIT]
• Press Track Select  to view Part 04 parameters
• Press [F1] VOICE
• Press [SF2] MODE
• Set the ARP Part Switch = ON
Set the Arpeggio to transmit out via MIDI and set the MIDI channel you wish to use. While still in [MIXING] > [EDIT]…
• Press [COMMON]
• Press [F3] ARP • Press [SF4] OUT CH
• Set the OUTPUT SWITCH = ON and select a specific MIDI channel to transmit the arpeggio (for our example, Transmit Channel 4 is being used as the arpeggio transmit channel)
Background: In Cubase set a track to receive data but not to echo it back. Set up a MIDI track with the INPUT set to receive data from the MO in a normal fashion. Do not set the track to transmit back to the MO – set the OUTPUT to “Not Connected”. You can set the output once you have recorded the arpeggio and are ready to playback. You will also need to set Cubase to transmit Master clock. Although Cubase is typically running on its own clock, it is not set to transmit that clock until you activate it. Here’s how…
Set Cubase to transmit MIDI clock to the MO
• Click on TRANSPORT on the main toolbar and select PROJECT SYNCHRONIZATION SETTINGS…
• Set the MIDI CLOCK OUT DESTINATION to the Port that feeds the MO (“Yamaha MO6-1” or “Yamaha MO8-1").
• Click OK
Add a MIDI track to record the arpeggio MIDI data.
• Click on PROJECT and select ADD TRACK
• Select to add a MIDI Track Set the Track’s Inspector to Receive data from the MO but not to echo it back
• Set the In to the MIDI Port that the MO is set to send on
• Set the Out to “Not Connected”
• Set the MIDI channel to match the channel you selected to transmit the arpeggio data (Ch: 4 for our particular example).
PLAYBACK: Cubase > MO
Background: Once the data is recorded to Cubase you can setup to playback the data. There are several things you must do prior to playback. First, you need to turn the front panel arpeggio switch OFF on the MO; after all, you have now transferred the data to actual events. Then you need to set the track of Cubase to communicate again with the tone generator of the MO. Next, determine if you need to do any more arpeggio recording, if not, set your Local Control back to OFF and continue to work as normal.
On the MO
• Press the front panel [ARP ON/OFF] button to turn the LED OFF, thus shutting off the Arpeggio In Cubase
• In the Inspector of your MIDI track, set the MIDI Out to feed the data you recorded to the Port that is connected to the MO.
Recording arpeggio data from the MO to your external sequencer will allow you to edit it further and take advantage of the tools found in your software. Remember you can cut and paste data to place it where you need it. The same arpeggio pattern can be varied in an almost infinite number of ways – learn to use chord inversions, rests and timing to your advantage. Enjoy.