Zoom + Granular

Hi, This is my first post. I am new to my pyramid and luv it and I am starting to delve into to its creative possibilities. Thank you so much for all the contributions on this forum. Sooo helpful! Also i have never posted to a forum and i hope i am following rules correctly! I searched for granular and have not found a post related so here it goes:

Has anyone created a work flow around a granular type process with the zoom function? i.e. recording midi with long gate lengths then combing through it by muting high resolution zoomed steps?

its not exactly granular i am interested in - i guess i find the process of building layers in this sequencer makes me want to try the opposite process of starting with a block of sound and removing pieces. - as a method of song or project building. like i would like to try approaching time as increments of space rather than increments of sound which seems antithetical to a sequencers set up but i have an instinct pyramid has room for this kind if process. thanks !!


I’m not 100% sure what you mean, but I think you mean putting in a single note (for example) of 4 bars length, then zooming in and muting parts of that note, so instead of this:


you’d have this:


Is that correct?

If so, the Pyramid won’t let you do that per se, as each note has a note down, and then a length with a note up at the end, so you would not be able to mute parts of the middle easily.

However, you could put the Arpeggiator effect on, so it would do a note repeat instead of a single long note, then consolodate the track to write the output MIDI to the track, then mute steps in the resulting track?

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Loz, Thanks for the feedback with the visuals. Yes the idea of finding a work around to produce for a sustained drone that runs across many steps by using arpeggiator and consolidate is exactly the type of work flows I am looking for.

I have not tried the consolidate function yet. I will try it and come back with findings.

@Loz makes excellent suggestions.
Since everyone’s workflow is different, I’d suggest as an alternative you can use MIDI CC’s to affect the synth, effectively turning the volume up and down and/or all parts in between. The following applies if you are using MIDI to control MIDI Synths and not CV. I don’t CV, so can’t help you there. Sorry.

Keep in mind that a “long lengthed note” is actually 2 discrete MIDI Events: a Note On, and a Note Off which is sent from the sequencer after the period of time indicated by the note length ‘recorded’ and constrained by the MIDI Clock.

So, there isn’t any ‘data’ to Zoom in and adjust.

However, once you set a long note, or a short note with a Sustain Event (CC64), you can often modulate the synth via MIDI CC’s if your synth can respond.

Common similar techniques might be a MIDI “stutter”, where between the Note On and Note Off Event you send a series of CC07 (Volume) or CC11 (Expression, if your synth responds to that) that basically change the volume (no sound = volume 0). Using MIDI CC’s you can achieve just about exactly what you’re looking for if I understand correctly, althought Loz’s suggestion is much easier if the effect to implement especialy if what you want is a regular and repeated change of Note information.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • MIDI Data is slow, so enforcing many extremely short events can be problematic.
  • MIDI Data is sequential, so if you have many events happening around the same time, well…it’s like drinking a cherry milkshake through a straw and sucking up a chunk of cherry
  • MIDI is just a series of commands being sent to your synth. What the synth does with those commands is dependent on how you patch the synth. Separating out these concepts can yield some exciting and creative applications, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Again: If I understand what you’re thinking of doing, which seems similar to how I used a DAW years ago (throw a whole bunch of loops and tracks that sounded good together, loop them, then carve them out to build a structure, then season with modulation, etc), you might find it doesn’t quite apply to MIDI sequencers.

But there’s an even better chance I don’t understand your OP at all.

tl;dr - Put in your long notes and then use CC07 or CC11 (or one specific to your synth that might be more appropriate) to modulate via the steps at any Zoom level.

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This is great too. You could also use the CC of the filter to open and close, creating volume and timbre changes if you wanted to get fancy.

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Yup, and since you can send any CC and make it do whatever is possible on your synth, other ideas:

  • LFO on/off or depth
  • LFO rate
  • Rompler start point, or retrigger, etc.
  • Envelope Release (or Attack, Decay, etc)
  • any on board effect control
  • Sample or slice on an OT

Pretty much any synth control that is addressable via MIDI.

So many options.
This is why I adore MIDI.

Also keep in mind that on the Pyramid using the NoteToCC MIDI Effect and an Arpeggiator can do some exciting cyclical modulations too.

Thanks So much for all the good info CreepyPants and Loz.
The advice was awesome. I tried to implement it a little.

  • and made a sound clip in case anyone is curious and also kind of in thanks for all the sound clips I have listened to through this forum.

Gear used:
Alesisq88 midi controller keyboard/
Roland sound expansion MGs64 (Rompler)

What I did:

  1. Record live mode a single note (organ patch) for 1 bar.
  2. Increase track length and add arpeggiator at max division at 1/64th and min gate at 0%
    3.Consolidate track
    4.use FX to “erase” by drawing automation on xy pad with Randomizer(pitch and velocity) and Chance and then flucuating BPM
  3. Draw in cc automation of volume to rompler.

It was fun - and basically is an example of me using the two methods of erasing information at the same time- 1. by using fx and Randomization/Chance to only choose some from a continuous series of notes and 2. by volume(muting).

And you were right. I had some definite glitching as I bumped bpm to 700 and did things that multiplied the amount of on off midi info.

The ideas of using other cc destinations is so fun and when I drag my synth back out I will employ : I decided to just focus on the limits of the pyramid and a rompler for a while to learn some basics as I am a new user.

I am still open to more work flow’s having to do with erasure if anything comes to mind! And thanks again!

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Excellent work. I am pleased that you took both @CreepyPants and I’d ideas to put them together. This is why collaboration is so great.

Maybe something else you could look into is the Euclidean mode. It won’t give you the same results, but I think applying the method above to a Euclidean track could be quite interesting, especially on a second sound on top of the one above.

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Yes Collaboration is rad :crazy_face:

I don’t think I understand what you mean by using euclidian mode in this way? But if there is a way to erase sound with the euclidean option that would be awesome.

I found a more precise way to deal with erasing sound in pyramid as a work flow. I know this might be esoteric and specific to my process but I think sharing it could be useful I hope! Especially as when I searched posts of step automation it seems there is a sentiment it is a nonintuitive work flow.

There is a process in drawing where you start out with a page covered in charcoal and use an eraser to make the drawing. That is the best example I can come up with for what I am wrangling Pyramid into.

And as you suggested it is the method of using the CC automation directed at volume that works well. Thanks!


  1. Record one sustained note for one bar.
  2. step mode, CC# for volume, press display
  3. hold record and draw shape of positive volume. i.e. positive space over duration of bar.
  4. Zoom to 64 steps
  5. Use trackpad etc. to choose volume level of zero - i.e. choosing the eraser.
  6. every other 64th note press once to arm/even that step and a second time to completely erase and drop volume to zero.

Here is a clip for reference.

I know this is probably a tedious method and there is probably a easier method in daw… but when I slow down in this way and I look at the shape drawn on screen in pyramid it helps reorient my perception and feeling about carving space out of time instead forcing events to always exist as positives on a “blank” canvas.

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