How an Elektron song mode would enable us as musicians


I’ll admit I still don’t understand what you are requesting @circuitghost. A song mode, but not in the form of [pattern chaining and ctrl+all, knob twists, track mutes and fills] automation but something else?



So, care to explain what that “something else” would look like - is there something that would help you as you get frustrated every five minutes using your Elektrons? Otherwise it’s like we’re debating a fuzzy concept where no one quite understands what you mean. :blush:

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Remove “song mode” from the equation, and read the other words: it’s more about a composition layer above patterns that would be missing. A layer to make Patterns out of patterns, so to say. Plocking mutes, maybe.

Nice idea to toy with.


Well, that’s precisely what a song mode would be, isn’t it? At least that’s what I’ve always requested. A way to chain patterns and then layer all sorts of things on top of that, basically recording all the stuff I do on it. But I’m probably still misunderstanding the point here. :thinking::see_no_evil:

One thing that could be fun is applying the LFO’s to the sequencer itself. Could be a really nice way to inject some variation into things, depth as a way to control pattern length, play back direction, trig fired etc


Yes, in a way, but Song Mode and Pattern Chaining are already a thing in Elektron world, and maybe they are not the right tools for this.

There is indeed a need for a performance/composition recording+tweaking layer.
Something that would capture all the midi signals that would be sent while performing on top of the Patterns. And offers to edit it.
I wouldn’t mind if it’s in OB, but I’d love all the tweakings to get recorded.

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Anyway, personally I’d be thrilled if all the actions could be recorded as midi cc and then I’d be all set with these boxes: ctrl+all sweeps, func+no, fill button, track mutes - all of it as midi cc. Then I’d just record the song mode into the MPC and get on with it, just like I do with the Hydrasynth.

Try this -
Pause your idea of what features a song mode would contain. Instead, think about why you want these features.

How would they enable you in ways you’re not enabled, now?

For me, the blackbox enables me to create more evolving and coherent longer sections, by letting each pattern run free between clips rather than resetting, and also having a unique quantification as to when they launch when I move between clips. I can connect these clips into chains, apply an appropriate amount of beats per each clip, and go.

That’s not a feature you need to want or like. But it’s an answer to an expressed need to create something that the existing Elektron pattern structure can’t.

If we express the need rather than the features, perhaps new kinds of ideas might emerge. Just as new songs might emerge with the features that could come from this.


The why will differ for every person, but for me, I care about finishing a song and having the ability to tweak things to perfection. I love my Hydrasynth because it gives me so much inspiration and it makes me start on a song idea. I love my MPC because it records every little thing I do on the Hydrasynth and plays it back for me as if I was jamming live again. And then I can tweak that one little thing I wasn’t happy about by just going into the step sequencer or the midi grid.

The DT/DT was a similar experience: they were so inspiring and fun on their own. Especially ctrl+all was pure magic and made me end up with completely different patterns and transitions than I would ever have come up with on my own. The only thing missing was the same thing that the Hydrasynth (and my other synth) gives me: controlling all those actions also tx/rx over midi.

That way, I could record each track one by one into whatever system I use without worrying about having to perform things live once again.

I accept that these boxes will probably never have a song mode, and personally I don’t need it. I can see how what I’m describing above would be incredibly complex to implement, since it goes way beyond saving pattern chains. So, instead, all I need is for Elektron to transfer the movements over midi so another machine (or a DAW) can handle it instead.

To me, it’s a sad omission that they didn’t make this possible already since it’s not an incredibly hard thing to enable.

Really, a ctrl+all is just tweaking a parameter on multiple tracks at once, so why not just send those midi cc’s as it does if you only tweak a parameter on a single track? I don’t see how it would be hard for Elektron to do at all. And then the only thing left would be to ensure that there’s midi control info for the other actions, like Fill, Func+No, Track mutes.

With all this said, I don’t really think I need a Digitakt or Digitone anymore so take all this with a grain of salt. :blush: I actually kind of appreciate the fact that these are live performance instruments and that’s their ethos. It makes them special to me, cool even.


Cof cof &pattern per track cof

Sorry… carry on



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And for years everyone kept saying that the A4 would not/could not/would never do midi sequencing of external gear.

Many of the people who are against having a song mode on these boxes are assuming that people don’t play other instruments in tandem with using their Elektron gear, and thus don’t have free hands to be tweaking knobs/settings/patterns.


Yep. And there are things going on in the Elektron DNA that would go some way towards just making song writing a more coherent experience.

The kit system - which is great, just badly communicated from a design point of view - the pattern switching variations on the analogue machines, the scene and cross fader transitions in the Octatrack and the run free mode of the Octatrack - those are all just a few but powerful examples of stuff already going on inside the Elektron mind that would enhance the options.

Usually, the fallback to these older features is that they add complexity or they’re difficult to understand and so on. Yes, this is true, in their current implementation. But the current implementations are just first iterations of something that could become even better. Just because they’re confusing now (for some), doesn’t mean they’re confusing as concepts - just their implementation.

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Song mode is an outdated concept forcing my random noodlings into a gentrified, cookie cutter prison of formulaic repetition which sucks out the soul of my free spirited knob fiddling nirvana.

But it wouldn’t be so bad to have, just in case.


See, that’s the bad implementation of song mode. Let’s never do that.

If I was a product manager, I’d make a song mode that would make you go “Whoa” and make you shine even more.

Yep. That’s what I’d do. Not the version you suggested. But the one I suggested.



From what I understand from a brief skim over the thread, are you asking for something like recording (what I’m calling) Performances live? I.e. start recording a Performance and any tweaks are recorded in real-time, then play that Performance back and it will replicate exactly what you did? And possibly be able to then record over the top of a Performance to add even more tweaks, etc? In a way, like Motion Sequencing a la Korg but on a Global level? Or having something like the OP-1 tape concept so like having a built-in recording device?


From a feature point of view, I don’t know. I don’t have the answer.

From a desire and want point of view, I want something that enables me more as a song writer. I write much better songs on the blackbox and Deluge and that’s in large part to the tools they offer for song writing specifically. Because they enable those parts in me.

The Elektron equivalent, I don’t know. Right now, I’m more interested in expressing this need and see if anyone can relate.


I think my ideal version of pattern chaining would be based on sequencer trigs queing up pattern changes. That way you could do conditional locks for pattern changes based on percentages, or stuff like holding the page/fill button at a certain time in the sequence to que one pattern, or holding it at a different time to que a different pattern. This also wouldn’t require a massive rethink of the sequencer like some song mode ideas almost require.