Live Sync & MIDI Triggers

I think I know the answer, but I’d love a reality check: If I’m in Live Sync mode, can I use midi triggers on a track to establish the progression and the song parts?

Here’s what I mean: I’ve got a Scaler instance with three patterns on it - an 8-bar A section of a song, an 8-bar B section, and a 4-bar C section tag. I want the full song to be AABAC - 36 bars including the tag.

I also have created 7 tracks in my DAW (Studio One Six) - the leader Scaler; three followers that will generate guitar, bass, and piano accompaniments; and three instrument VSTs that those three Scalers will feed.

To get the leader Scaler to play the song as AABAC, I set up midi triggers on that leader DAW track. This prompts the following questions:

  1. Do the follower Scalers pick up the song structure established on the leader Scaler’s midi trigger track?
  2. Or must I copy that midi trigger track onto all the subsequent Scaler follower tracks?
  3. If I use midi triggers on any of these tracks, does that “break” the Live Sync, such that I can no longer make changes in the leader that will be automatically synced with the followers?


Have you tried this? Does it work for you?

@ed66, sorry for the delay in responding. It seems to work, but I’m still parsing through the logic.

Here’s what I did:

First, I set up a 12-bar jazz blues in Bb on my topmost Scaler track. It runs over two full patterns. The first 8 bars (Pattern 1) have one chord per measure. The second 8 bars (Pattern 2) are timelined so each measure has two chords. I have not set any type of performance, but I have set the voice grouping to Drop 2, to reflect guitar voicing.

Next, I added a second Scaler on a second track and live-synced it to the first Scaler.

Third, I added Shreddage 3 Archtop guitar to a third track, and output Follower Scaler #2 to it. So to get the full audio portrait, I’ve got a 12-bar jazz blues playing silently through two Livesynced Scalers. The sound is the Shreddage guitar.

Here’s how I tested Live Sync with MIDI triggers: Both Scaler patterns use the same triggers (C-2 to B-2). The keyswitches to distinguish the patterns are C-1 for Pattern 1 and D-1 for Pattern 2.

The Triggers & Keyswitches work if I write them into the Leader Scaler #1 piano roll. If I adjust the duration of the triggers, e.g., the guitar rhythm output by Shreddage changes. Importantly (but also logically), if I change a chord in that Leader Scaler #1, it changes the chord in Follower Scaler #2, and thus the output from the linked Shreddage instrument.

Bottom line thus far: Livesync and MIDI triggers CAN work together.

Here’s where it gets a bit confusing and fascinating, though: I can, of course, change the expressions in Follower Scaler #2, to try out different rhythms and patterns. That’s the beauty of Livesync. Yet that interacts in unpredictable ways with the MIDI triggers I wrote into Leader Scaler #1. In effect, combining MIDI triggers in the Leader Scaler and expressions in Follower Scalers gives nearly infinite potential to revise rhythms and expressions.

Somewhat more confusing, MIDI triggers do NOT work in the Follower Scaler. They output through the linked instrument plugin as single notes. Moreover, those single notes will conform to the expression I programmed into the Follower Scaler. So, e.g., if Follower Scaler #2 is expressed as Rhythms / Con AND I’ve written notes on that track AND and I’m outputting that track through the Shreddage plugin, Shreddage will “read” the chord progression from Leader Scaler #1 and its MIDI triggers; it will “read” the rhythm expression for those chords from Follower Scaler # 2; and it also will “read” the single MIDI notes written onto the Follower Scaler #2 piano roll, expressing those single notes with the same rhythm or expression I’ve programmed into Follower Scaler #2. (Those single notes, needless to say, will be in the wrong key: I’ve written the progression in Bb, and those triggers match the white-key C scale.)

Making it even MORE interesting: I can add a third Scaler (let’s call it Follower #3, even though, technically, it’s only the second follower). I can write a Bb bass line on that track, and output it to the same Shreddage archtop. With a little bit of experimentation, I can get some very interesting comping going in the guitar plugin. In this case, it seems that Shreddage is reading the progression and its expression from Follower Scaler #2 and it’s reading the bass line from Follower Scaler #3. In guitar terms, Follower Scaler #3 is my right thumb, and Follower Scaler #2 are my right-hand plucking fingers.

I’m no expert at all on the Shreddage guitars. I suspect I’m wasting resources by having two Scalers feeding into the one plugin; I suspect I can write a decent comping line l, thumb and plucking, directly into Shreddage without the need for three or even two Scalers. (I’m guessing I can record the Scaler+Shreddage MIDI into my DAW and write the bassline right onto that track.)

Also, I’m not quite sure why the trigger notes only generate chords when they’re written into the Leader Scaler #1 but not in the Follower Scalers. I get that the Leader is generating the music while the followers and their linked VST instruments are generating the sounds. But my brain can’t work out why, if the trigger notes are essentially expressions, they can’t be used across synced Scalers.

Anyway, there’s a lot more to play with here!