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Quick Tip: How to Spice Up Your Arpeggio Pattern in Reason


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Nowadays making an arpeggio is a great way to add interest to your track. There are many plugins out there which can arpeggiate your chord sequence in numerous ways. Lots of patterns and tweakable parameters are at your disposal in order to customize your patterns.

Arpeggio patterns are great for backing melodies in my opinion. I don't recommend you use them as lead patterns because they limit your melody writing skill. Most arpeggio patterns are really boring because they lack modulation. Today I will show you how to make an interesting arpeggio pattern.

Step 1: Create a Track

First create a chord sequence in C major with different minor and major chords. This will be the backbone of the melody which will be arpeggiated. Create a Thor and use the Digital Headhunter preset. Don't tweak any parameters.

Next create a Scream 4 destruction unit on it. Use the warp mode and tweak the body controls a little bit to make the Thor distorted. Lower the low frequencies to make the mids more present. I feel that the high frequencies are too harsh, so lower them a little bit too.

Here how is it sounds so far:

Step 2: Make an Apreggiator

Reason 5 offers an excellent arpeggiator device with lots of feature. Tweak it a little bit:

  • Set the rate knob to 16th
  • Mode: Up and Down
  • Octave: 1 octave
  • Tie at 2 o'clock
  • Insert: 3-1

Use the pattern function and place some rest between the notes.

Here's how it sound so far:

Step 3: Modulations

Create a Malström in order to modulate some parameters in the RPG-8 Monophonic Apreggiator. Use modulator A and B to modulate the Tie and the Velocity in order to make the pattern interesting.

From time to time the note length will be longer and the velocity will change the values all the time. You can use different curves with different rates and different destinations. Feel free to experiment. Refer to the parameters on the picture.

Step 4: Rewire in Ableton and Use Some Effects

Reason 5 is a good DAW to make sounds, but I really like Ableton's built-in effects and the things that you can do with third party plugins.

Rewire the two DAWs. (If you are not familiar what is rewiring please read Using Rewire to Expand Your Audio Toolset ).

Use a Compressor to make it, using the Waves LA-2A emulation.

The sound is quite good enough, but I would like more filter modulation. Use the Soundtoys Filter Freak plugin. It is a great plugin for making movement in the frequencies. You can see the parameters on the picture.

I'll explain what it does. Around 4600 Hz a low pass filter will filter out the high frequencies - a moderate modulation value in every 1 dot rate along with a sine wave. So it will create filter movement. Cool isn't it?

Use some EQ to filter out the unwanted frequencies. And give it some pumping with a side chain compressor. Last but not least, used a reverb and a ping pong delay on a return channel to create some space.

You can listen the final sound here:

And in context:

I hope you've enjoyed making music!