Keeping track of patterns you already played in a liveset

Hey all,

I’ve been performing with my setup (Digitakt, Octatrack, eurorack) a few times now and I found myself once in an awkward situation: I forgot which patterns I’d used already during a set and which ones not, making me feel a bit awkward on stage. Like: did I use B03 already or was it B04? Ending up skipping both patterns because I didn’t want to play that exact same drum pattern again. I don’t use my patterns in a fixed order, as I like to adopt to the audience/ambience on the fly.

For the Octatrack I find it a bit easier because I use the arranger to give a collection of patterns a song name, which is what I remember them by. However for the Digitakt (which I only use for drums, decoupled from the harmonic content) there’s no such arranger, and you only know the song name after selecting the pattern.

One solution I thought about is keeping some notes or a “bingo card” during performance but that might look a bit awkward too :sweat_smile:

How do you guys manage this? Do you have any specific way of organising your patterns/liveset so that you don’t play the same pattern twice accidentally?

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Move your patterns around into a logical order that reflects more or less what you plan to do over your timeline. I begin a performance on bank A, pattern 1, not bank L, pattern 16.

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Sometimes mutes and solo routings on an external mixer are very useful for checking what‘s what without interrupting the flow much.
Maybe you could also run it through some effect and make any reoccuring pattern part of the performance; jam it in and out, same but slightly different.

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Or just take the risk or playing the same pattern again, call it a refrain and improvise if you do.

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As long as the other elements are different you’ll probably be the only one that notices and if some others do they probably won’t care. Just let it roll for a second like you meant it and then switch again. Lately I’ve smacked myself a few times to give up on perfection and I’m now considering small live shows “practice”… :slight_smile:

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I arrange my livesets in a way that I use the patterns in a sequenced order. So I can be sure that I don´t miss one or play one twice. But like @Open_Mike said: you will most likely be the only one who takes notice. My musical advise on this: In the most livesets that I saw happens too much stuff (I´d include a lot of my sets here as well). So using the same pattern or sounds for a longer time can be good for the set, maybe it helps the audience to follow what you are doing musically. Im am currently preparing a liveset where I use only five tracks (track= combination of patterns on all machines that I use) instead of 10 or 16 like I used to. From my current point of view it will be a better liveset.


Thanks guys, every single comment really helpful so far.

Move your patterns around into a logical order that reflects more or less what you plan to do over your timeline. I begin a performance on bank A, pattern 1, not bank L, pattern 16.

Yea I can probably more or less settle with this, I got about four different styles of beats with different levels of energy. Could arrange them from bank A (lowest energy) to bank D (highest energy). Typical performance would then start in bank A and move on till bank D. Then all to care about is which patterns in the current bank I used, which is a bit easier.

Just want to make sure, you don’t keep the OT and the DT sync’d through midi?

One thing I’ve learned to take advantage of in a live situation on the DT, is sample slot assignment. A pattern can sound entirely different just from doing things like LFO on sample slot, or simply just turning the knob during playback. really great for creating sonic variation.

Well I do, the OT is the master clock right now, so there’s a MIDI cable between OT and DT… why?

This might seem a little destructive and you really should juggle lots of backups etc., but you could just delete the pattern once you’re done with it hahaa :crazy_face:

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Because you mentioned that you use the arranger on the OT. The DT can follow along with that, and in theory it would eliminate using patterns multiple times on accident.

How do you re-organize the patterns?

I keep it pretty simple and leave pattern 16 open so I can use it as a spot to cut and paste to and fro to rearrange the patterns in a logical breakdown.

Lol… would kinda work but feels a bit unsafe hehe.

Ah yea - but I choose drum beats independently from the active OT pattern.