Polyrhythmic patterns within scene


i m very new here and just getting into the octatrack as i m currently evaluating it to be the hub for my live show. While i was preparing some of my loops i noticed a slight issue.

Let s say i have a regular 4/4 beat with percussions and stuff running in Track 1-4 but the bassline and synth line are written in a 15/16 pattern and are running in Track 5-6.

I assume having them run in a loop is no problem as i can shorten the pattern length of track 5-6 to 15 but what happens when i now switch to the next pattern? How can i make sure that the bassline and synth pick up at the right point in time? When i switch patterns do they always switch at the exact same time for all tracks or is it possible that all tracks switch after they finish their pattern length even if this might not happen at the exact same time for all tracks?

Hope my explanation makes sense? Still trying to get my head around octatrack terminology.

Any support highly appreciated.


They will switch patterns at the same time…
It will just change at what you set the master pattern length or at the length you have set in your sequencer options at depending which you are using.
and then it will restart at next pattern from the beginning…

It’s an awesome sampler and hub for my other gear it takes some time to learn though
Had mine nearly 6 months still haven’t learnt everything yet

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Thank you @DanJamesAUS. Understood. But is there any solution to my problem then?
As if all switch at the same time i will either have a skip in the drums or in the bassline and synth.

Hope there is some way to avoid this?

As @DanJamesAUS told you, the behaviour depends on settings in the OT’s menus and on what you are doing:

The basic requirement is to ensure that the MASTER LENGTH setting in the SCALE SETUP menu (PER TRACK mode) is set to the lowest common multiple of your various track lengths. For example, the lowest common multiple of 16 and 15 is 240.

Other OT settings (in the PROJECT > CONTROL > SEQUENCER menu) can finesse this behaviour. Read the manual information about patterns.

You can control this using the OT’s settings.

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Kinda impossible to do that, each pattern is it’s own thing that starts from the start.
I don’t now of anything that could do that except in an arrangement in a daw…
Even clips in ableton session view it would do the same if you change scenes using odd time signatures

thank you @PeterHanes and @DanJamesAUS

Guess i will have to just get that octratrack and try to find my workarounds for it while playing around with the device.

While this isn’t a solution to the behavior, this calculator might help you when setting MASTER length:


I like to use polyrhythms a lot so I know what you mean but I find that those odd resets of things have a certain feel/sound that I like. Breaks up the repetition of things and gives the brain/listener a bit of a rhythmic reset that they can re-sync to (for lack of a better explanation)

Anyway, the calculator above should help you find common master lengths so that the tracks at least sync up properly. Doesn’t help with pattern changes but maybe you can math your way through something usable for your situation.


Thank you @d4ydream for the legit math hehe.

Depending on what you are actually doing, you might consider not switching patterns and instead using other features like fills or conditional trigs to make the changes you want.

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I’m wondering also if a “plays free” track might work to maintain the polyrhythm in between pattern switches. You’d have to queue it up right on time but if it’s absolutely necessary to keep the perfectly looped synth element that might work.

@PeterHanes @d4ydream so you are suggesting to only run the bass and synth free or the whole song?

You could try setting the bass/synth tracks to “Plays Free”. I “think” when you do a pattern change the “Plays Free” tracks just continue to do their own thing.

Thank you. Will order my octatrack and try this out.

This video about “Plays Free” and its related quantization might help shed some light as well. I just gave it a watch as it’s not something I really use:

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No. When you switch to another pattern “plays free” tracks won’t continue to play the previous trigs. They might continue to sound the last trig if it is a long or looping sample and there are no other new trigs on the same track of the new pattern. But even this can be changed (start silent setting).

Think about this way: the sequence of trigs which are playing on a “play free” track and the settings of this track (if it is a plays free track, for example) are stored within the pattern. So changing the pattern changes also these things.

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Thanks for clarifying!