Phased Chords with NI Massive
This is a tutorial about using Massive’s modulation creatively to create ‘phased chords’ pioneered by Steve Reich and used to great effect by Boards of Canada in their music.
To begin with open up Massive and open a preset patch called ‘Dandelion Chorus’.
Turn off the ‘noise’ OSC, Modulation, feedback and INS1 and INS2 modules.
Also in ENV4 turn up decay and level to 5o’clock
With this tutorial – you’re not going to want to play a chord as the sounds will modulate into a chord for you. This tutorial will show you the basics and then you can apply what you learn to your own music and your own chords. It’s all about experimentation – so you don’t have to stick to what i say!
Drag modulator 8 (set to stepper) to the free box underneath the pitch in OSC1
Now click and drag the small green 8 so the number ‘12.00’ is displayed next to it.
Drag modulator 7 (set it to stepper) to the free box underneath the pitch in OSC2.
Now click and drag the small green 7 so the number ‘12.00’ is displayed next to it.
In both stepper 7 and 8 make sure that ‘sync’ is enabled
In Modulator 8, you now want to draw in a simple note progression.
(note you can switch on ‘snap to grid’ to fix the notes to whole numbers)
Set it to ration 1 / 4
(So now it’s going to take 4 bars to play all 16 notes)
Now save that pattern by clicking the save button above the pattern you have drawn in.
Open up modulator 7, and now you want to load in the pattern you just saved.
Find it in the list of patterns and select it.
Now set the ratio to 1/1
(So now it will take 16 bars to play all 16 notes)
Now play your note and hold it down. You might want to play around with the speeds of these ratios and see what happens!
What happens is the OSC 1 plays the pattern at 1/4 and OSC2 is played at 1/1.
At first the notes are in sync but as the notes play out and the patterns come out of sync, chords start forming that are all perfectly in key then drift out of key. After a while they will cycle back round to being in sync again – creating a really nice effect!
This of course can be used on a variety of sounds. You could also add a 3rd OSC into the mix and add a 3rd stepper at a different rate than the other two to see what happens!