Sheet music for Octatrack


As I’m staying within the OT, and only the OT, and the arranger mode within the OT is somewhat limited if you want a more flexible live performance (it is for me, at least), I’ve decided to write some sheet music for the Octatrack.

I don’t have the improvisation skills of many of you guys and can’t always just go with it when I play, but since I’m a pianist since I was a kid, I can read sheet music.

So I’ve decided to give it a go and create a sheet music template for performing with the Octatrack, much like you have sheet music when you play a more traditional intrument. It would typically contain active pattern, scenes and how to work them (precise or ad lib, for example), mutes and bars before you switch to the next pattern, and so on.

This will make it a lot easier for me to perform with the Octatrack. Now I can build my song within the instrument and play it with the same mindset as I play the piano, fingers working the keys and the eyes reading the sheets (when necessary).

Anyone else has any thoughts or experiences on working like this?


I’ll let you ruminate on what my thoughts and experiences might be…

Great idea. At the core what you are talking about is just documenting your projects well, and I think every OT knows the need for this - coming back to a project after a couple of months to total confusion is pretty common. Not to mention performing it back if it’s in any way structured or complex.

Would love to see the notation system you come up with. BTW, keeping OT and Pyramid then?

I’ll share it when I have it.
No, one of them has to go. Not sure which one yet. In the meantime, this is a way for me to find out how much the Octatrack means for me, compared to the Pyramid hooked up to something.
Gonna have to sell one or the other pretty soon, though.

OT documentation performance and/or composition printing templates would be awesome… like a “cheat sheet” for one’s own memory, as regards songs or sections made on the OT.

An interesting idea. How’s your muscle memory with the OT? I’m imaging a graphic score…

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that’s my OT score.

Agreed, coming back to an old project can be a nightmare and take an hour or so to get my head around if there’s tons of different banks/sample locks/scenes. Would be interested to see what system you come up with.

Muscle memory’s fine. It’s the “Wait a minute, what was the next part again …”-thing that’s not so good. Or it is, but when playing the piano, I need sheet music to learn the piece, then eventually I don’t, and some of the stuff I learned years ago, I still know by muscle memory.
So I’m suggesting the exact same thing for the Octatrack, just for my own sake, and looking at your picture, I’m thinking this is what I mean.
To each his own, especially in electronic music. But it’d be good for me, and I’m sure one or two out there would benefit from it also.

I completely agree. Actually it would be nice to be able to store notes inside project/bank/pattern, and to rename banks/Tracks/Scenes. This would make my life much more easier :slight_smile:

That makes a lot of sense … :+1:

But if we consider each button … how many staves would make sense?

My 0.5 cents… To avoid issues with understanding old projects, I use remarks (REM) in OT’s arranger. It is very useful i.e. to note crossfaider movement directions (A -> B) and so on. While playing live you see these remarks several rows before they becomes active so you have time to be prepared for some actions you have to perform. It helps to be more relaxed during performance. Also good idea to make remarks more visible by using additional rows, i.e.:

006 | A07 000 16
007 | REM: ++++++++++++++++++
008 | REM: Chorus: A -> B
009 | REM: ++++++++++++++++++
010 | A08 000 32

Another useful feature in arranger is possibility to select specific row for playback during performance if you find that audience like it and you decide to play it again.

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I completely agree. Actually it would be nice to be able to store notes inside project/bank/pattern, and to rename banks/Tracks/Scenes. This would make my life much more easier :slight_smile:
100%. Being able to name ANYTHING inside a project would be nice :wink: For hardware that lends itself so well to shooting off in so many tangents and in so many layers, elektron didn’t do users many favours in keeping it organised! Not a deal breaker but can definately be a hassle to figure stuff out every now and again when revisiting older stuff with a view to playing it live etc.

This is brilliant mate!

This is brilliant mate![/quote]
REM: reminder to RTFM again! I somehow glossed over this in my 25 readings of that manual… :sleepy:
Great idea Uturunku, to use this:

REM adds text to the arrangement. This is only a visual cue and will not affect the timing of the arrangement. Turn the LEVEL knob anti-clockwise until the location before pattern A01 is reached. When “HALT:” appears, turn the knob one more step anti-clockwise and “REM:” will be displayed. Press the [RIGHT] arrow key and then press [YES]. The naming window will open. Enter your text here.


Arrangement is a part of project, so even in case you don’t use arranger you can write some notes (or may be a poem :slight_smile: ) in it about project for later reuse or when you plan to share your project with other people. Also, if you sing songs you can write lirycs like in karaoke to be sure that you will not forget it while worrying during performance.
Arranger is a very helpful especially while using too much external hardware. It helps to concentrate on sound and tweaking synths instead of worrying about banks/pattern changes or muting/unmuting tracks.

Maybe I should revisit the Arranger. Feels like it has more to offer than I gave it credit for.

:+1: I think so.
Another cool features of arranger is possibility to assign different tempo per row and scenes for Scene Á and Scene B (i.e. if you have 1 pattern with assigned scenes and you want to have the same pattern with different set of scenes – it is not necessary to copy pattern to new slot and assign new scenes – you can use arranger for this: copy row with pattern (fn + down) and assign needed scenes) .
Project can store many arrangements thus you can create shorter or longer versions of your live set. Read manual again and just think how you can use it in your case.

wow, i also missed the REM thing in the arranger, thanks a lot, Uturunku!
but there´s no way to name a pattern in arranger mode, right? like a song name next to A04? or instead?

Anyway, andreasroman, i´m curious about your OT sheet music.
I studied jazz and classical piano, so I´m familiar with reading, but never thought of sheet music for the OT. nice.

by the way, for similar reasons as you, I reduced my setup too: Rhodes MK1 73, Prophet 08 feeding OT on top. and the good ol´grand piano. feel better now :slight_smile:

Something along these lines, then. This is maybe a minute’s music for something I’m working on.

Top row is for the left hand, bottom row is for the right hand, the equivalent of sheet music for the piano, where you instruct not only what to play, but which hand that plays it.

This is a rough draft, but I’m using this now to put together a track instead of using the arranger or similar, just write the music down as if it were sheet music. Works for me.

One thing I’m discovering is that the need to put patterns and scenes in some kind of particular order, becomes less important. It’s always been a bit of a hassle for me to keep projects organized based on an idea that certain parts of a song belongs to certain pattern numbers or scenes, because I tend to come up with new ideas all the time which blow that structure out of the water.

Now, the song is on the sheet music, I read the sheet and playt the Octatrack accordingly. Using this, it makes no difference if I jump between patterns, banks and scenes like crazy chaos, cause the order is in the sheet.

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