Lucy's Favourite Functions (aka Tidal the Heavy Lifting way)

Hi all

In the live stream I said I'd post some info about my favourite functions and effects and how I approach live performances. For now I'm not going to do too much explanation since @yaxu will be covering everything in his videos, but if you want to find out more you can check out the Tidal documentation. I've divided these into a few rough sections based on what I use them for.

Patterns:

  • fast/slow (if you watch any of my videos you'll probably see me using density sometimes, which is the same as fast - it used to be called that and I can't quite break the habit of using it!)
  • jux - applies a transformation in one speaker only, creating neat stereo effects
  • iter - starts the pattern on a different foot each cycle
  • rev - plays the pattern in reverse - jux (rev) is a really easy way to create variety
  • {} - technically part of the mininotation but I use {} and overlapping patterns A LOT
  • range (sine, tri and saw) - continuous patterns are a really handy way of automating values
  • every - I use every a lot to pattern changes and to create structure (using a lot of overlapping patterns can get a bit muddy sometimes, so patterning things every 4 or every 8 helps add clarity)

Samples:

  • loopAt - is a good way to manipulate samples (particularly long ones) - Tidal will change the speed of the sample playback to match the number of cycles you specify - e.g. loopAt 4 will stretch or squash a sample to repeat every 4 cycles. Good for happy hardcore and also noise/drone (v versatile function)
  • chop - chops the sample into bits
  • striate - chops the samples into bits and rearranges them

Effects:

  • shape - waveshape distortion. I use this a lot on drums.
  • pan - pans the sound left and right
  • lpf/hpf - low pass/high pass filter
  • speed - always fun to manipulate the speed of samples (try using negative numbers to play stuff backwards)
  • vowel - applies a vowel filter

Randomness:

  • randslice - chops the samples into bits and plays back a random bit each cycle. Good for getting a long sample and using it like a short one (try it with pebbles for a kindof hi hat sound)
  • rand - generates a random number between 0 and 1
  • irand - generates a random integer between 0 and the number specified
  • sometimes - randomly applies the transformation. I can't remember the % chance but think it's 50%? You can use sometimesBy to dictate how often something might happen e.g. sometimesBy 0.2 (slow 2) will slow the pattern down 20% of the time
  • degradeBy - removes elements of the pattern at a rate of chance you dictate (e.g. degradeBy 0.1 has a 10% chance of removing an element). Good for weird fadeouts. I probably overuse it to be honest.

Bonus:

  • hurry - hurry is a combination of fast and speed so e.g. hurry 2 will play a pattern back twice as fast while also doubling the playback speed of each sample. I'll typically pattern hurry to occur only sometimes - e.g. sometimes (hurry 2) or every 4(hurry "0.5 2")

Phew, that's a bit long! Feel free to give me a shout with any questions. In a later post I'll talk about how I prepare for a live performance and some other performance techniques and tools I find helpful :slight_smile:

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Nice one Lucy! We haven't covered most of this yet, but will go through all these classics in the next weeks. Just in case anyone's panicking!

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Hi Lucy, first of all thank you for this. I've just printed it out to keep handy as I explore. I would love it if you expanded a bit on how you use {}, as your description of overlapping patterns sounds right up my alley, but I think I need to see an example of how that is applied.
Thanks again,
Jesse.

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Hey @flaminggarlic no problem, hope you find it helpful.

So I really like to overlap patterns of varying length, and {} is a great way to break out of the cycle while still keeping everything in a tight rhythm (there are lots of other ways to do this too, which I'm sure we will meet later).

So as an example:

d1 $ n "{1 ~ 1 ~, ~ 2 ~, ~ ~ 3 3 3}" # sound "cpu"

This creates three patterns of different length, the 1 pattern has four steps, the 2 pattern has three steps, and the 3 pattern has five steps.

However, because we are using the curly braces the pulse for each pattern will be the same. In this case the 1 pattern of four steps is first, and so this determines the pulse (four beats per cycle).

So we end up with some overlap, something like this:

1-1-|1-1-|1-1-|1-1-|1-1-|1-1-|1-1-|1-1-|
-2--|2--2|--2-|-2--|2--2|--2-|-2--|2--2|
--33|3--3|33--|333-|-333|--33|3--3|33--|

This is a simple example, but you can already see how it creates variation over time, with a kind of 'rotating' sound, but with everything still locked into the grid to keep it anchored.

I really recommend playing about with {} in this way to create these kind of patterns. This is really a key technique for me, as once you have something set up just a tiny tweak (for example adding in an extra event or two) can really change the character of a pattern.

Here I add an extra rest in the 3 pattern:
d1 $ n "{1 ~ 1 ~, ~ 2 ~, ~ ~ 3 3 ~ 3}" # sound "cpu"

And you get something with a lot more regular feel:

1-1-|1-1-|1-1-|1-1-|1-1-|1-1-|1-1-|1-1-|
-2--|2--2|--2-|-2--|2--2|--2-|-2--|2--2|
--33|-3--|33-3|--33|-3--|33-3|--33|-3--|

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