How to use FlexGroove

  • Live Versions: Live 10 Standard or Suite (version 10.1 or higher)
  • Operating System: All

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FlexGroove is a Max for Live device for off-the-grid MIDI sequencing. 

FlexGroove needs Live's transport to be running as well as an instrument inserted in the track and a MIDI clip containing a MIDI note. The MIDI note will trigger the internal sequencer for the entire note duration. Therefore, sustained MIDI notes with the same duration as FlexGroove’s current pattern (e.g. one bar) will illustrate the time curve clearly.

  1. Quick Start
  2. Global Settings
  3. Timing Editor
  4. Pattern Editor
  5. Swing Editor
  6. Pattern Toolbox
  7. Saving User Presets

1. Quick Start

  1. Drag and drop FlexGroove from Live's Browser in a new MIDI track:
  2. Add an instrument to the same MIDI track:

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  3. Create an empty MIDI clip with a length of one bar.
  4. Create a MIDI note with the same duration as the MIDI clip.
  5. Launch the clip. This also starts Live’s playback.
  6. Listen to FlexGroove’s default pattern, then adjust the timing and pattern parameters to create unique and organic sounding MIDI sequences.
  7. If you want to listen to some examples, check out the demo Projects that come with the Pack.

Note: 

  • If a MIDI note starts before a quarter-note beat, FlexGroove starts sequencing from the beginning of the next beat. 
  • MIDI notes shorter than a quarter note which don’t overlap a quarter note beat are ignored. 
  • FlexGroove can sequence up to five concurrent notes at the same time.
  • MIDI CC 64 (Hold Pedal) is filtered out if passed through FlexGroove.

2. Global Settings

These parameters can be controlled globally, independent of the currently selected section:

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  • One Shot: If active, the pattern will always play out fully, even if the triggering MIDI note is released before the end of the current pattern length.
  • Export as Clip : Creates a MIDI clip in the first free clip slot of the track including FlexGroove’s current timing and pattern to the last received MIDI note. The clip length is determined by the amount of bars set in "patterns Applied".
  • Timing % : The slider on the right of the main screen adjusts the amount of timing applied to the pattern (0% = no timing applied, 50% = default timing strength, 100% = maximum timing strength).

3. Timing Editor

The timing editor has six different timing modes that can be selected on the upper left:

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The selected timing mode is displayed in the main window. You can stretch or shrink the tempo of the pattern's pulse by dragging the timing curve. The pattern never changes its overall length. 

For example, you can make a 16th note hi-hat pattern start slowly, then get faster and faster to add emphasis at the end of the bar. 

Timing Modes

  • Free: Use 6 breakpoints to freely adjust the timing. A high breakpoint position lengthens the steps and a low position shortens them
  • Accelerate: Speed up
  • Decelerate: Slow down
  • Full sine: Slow down → get faster → slow down (or vice versa)
  • Half sine: Slow down → get faster (or vice versa)
  • Ratio mode: Transition from a start tempo ratio to a destination ratio. Tempo ratios are relative to Live’s project tempo (1/1 = original tempo, 1/2 = half tempo, 2/1 = double tempo)

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  • Patterns applied: Choose the number of bars to apply the pattern
  • Timing presets: Choose between more than 30 timing presets. See “Saving User Presets” for more information
  • Reset: Sets the amount of timing to 50% and resets the timing curve to its default state (depending on the current timing mode)
  • Copy & Paste: Use these to transfer timings from one FlexGroove device to another
  • Curve Shape: Controls the shape of the timing curve (corresponds to dragging the curve by hand). This value is only used by a subset of the six timing modes

4. Pattern Editor

The pattern editor’s main window is divided into two sections:

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  • Velocity Editor: Set the velocity for each step by dragging up or down. Each velocity higher than zero triggers a note
  • Probability Editor: Set the probability for each step in % (0 = Note gets never triggered, 100 = Note gets always triggered). Steps move by an increment of 10% at a time

The following parameters can be adjusted:

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  • Steps: Set the amount of steps per pattern (2 - 32)
  • Link: If link is active, the amount of pattern steps is linked to the pulse duration (and vice versa). This way, the pattern will always keep its overall duration of one bar. Changing the value for either steps or pulse forces the other setting to follow.
  • Pulse: Sets the duration of one pattern step in relation to Live’s project tempo.
  • Pattern Presets: Choose between more than 50 pattern presets. See section “Saving User Presets” for more information.
  • Reset: Sets all velocity and probability values to 100
  • Copy & Paste: Use these to transfer patterns from one FlexGroove device to another.

5. Swing Editor

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The swing editor is hidden by default. When the timing editor is selected, the swing editor can be unfolded by clicking the arrow on the upper right of the device. Drag the swing weight sliders up or down. The relative ratios of the swing steps determine the duration differences of the pulse.  

For example, if two steps are used, a “usual” binary swing can be achieved by setting the first swing step to a higher value than the second step.

  • Steps: Sets the amount of swing steps (2-16). Use two for binary swing and three for ternary swing (in a 6/8 or 12/8 beat). Settings of four or more steps can be used to apply small rhythmical patterns to the overall timing. 
  • Swing presets: Choose between 30 swing presets. See section “Saving User Presets” for more information.
  • Swing %: The slider on the right of the screen adjusts the amount of swing applied to the pattern (0% = no swing applied, 50% = default swing strength, 100% = maximum swing strength).
  • Reset: Sets all swing pattern steps to their default position. Swing % is set to 50%.
  • Copy & Paste: Use these to transfer swing settings from one FlexGroove device to another.

6. Pattern Toolbox

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The pattern toolbox is hidden by default. When the pattern editor is selected, the pattern toolbox can be unfolded by clicking the button on the upper right of the device.

  • Permutate: Permutates the pattern. All note durations are kept but the sequence of notes is changed.
  • Arrows: Using the arrows next to permutate, the pattern steps can be shifted to the left (<) or to the right (>). The entire pattern can also be reversed (<>). 
  • Rnd. fill: Randomly fill your pattern. When “Velocity” is checked, the velocity sliders are assigned random values.  When “Probab.” is checked, the probability sliders are assigned random values. “Rests” allows some of the velocity and/or probability values to be zero.
  • Insert St: Insert a pattern step before the given position (adjust the position number).
  • Remove St: Remove a pattern step at the given position (adjust the position number). Note: If Link is active, the duration of the pulse is changed accordingly to keep the pattern’s overall length.
  • Repeat St: Repeat a group of pattern steps (defined by values from … to …) X times.
  • Crop Rest: If this is active, only the repeated pattern steps are kept. If this is inactive, the pattern is extended by the repeated pattern steps. Note that the pattern can be extended to a maximum of 32 steps. 

7. Saving User Presets 

FlexGroove’s presets are stored separately for the timing, pattern and swing editors.

Note: User presets are stored with the Live Set. They are not shared between multiple instances of FlexGroove. If you want to use a setting in another instance of the device, you can use the copy and paste buttons.

  • To save your current settings, click “Add”
  • Name your preset and confirm by pressing return.
  • User presets can be updated by pressing “Upd.” or deleted by clicking the trash can.