automation values - pitch bend numbers/tones

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vrbi
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Post 01 Sep 2023

hello,

just stumbled across inconvenience when editing pitch bend automation: my pitch bend wheel range on Thor is set to 5 semitones, and the recording says it is value of 8191 units (don't know what units exactly this value represents) - so when pulled all the way up, the max number is 8191. not exactly nice value, but at least it works - final tone is played 5 semitones higher than key which was played during the recording.

can this be arranged in more readable way to see the values in semitones perhaps? can't see anywhere option to change value representaion other, than weird numbers.
or should I just divide 8191/5 to get numbers for 5 semitones?

thank you
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huggermugger
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Post 01 Sep 2023

Pitch Bend in the MIDI spec covers a range of 16,384 possible values (a 14-bit integer) in order to keep things nice and smooth. Your DAW (Reason, Logic, whatever) has no idea what the (variable) semitone range is on the synth you're bending, so there's no way you'll get the pitch bend automation to display in semitones. If you want precise semitones, you'll have to do the math.

One thing you could do is always set the bend range of your synths to, for example, 12 semitones (1 octave). Then create a chart that shows the PB value for each of the 12 semitones up and down.

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selig
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Post 01 Sep 2023

huggermugger wrote:
01 Sep 2023
Pitch Bend in the MIDI spec covers a range of 16,384 possible values (a 14-bit integer) in order to keep things nice and smooth. Your DAW (Reason, Logic, whatever) has no idea what the (variable) semitone range is on the synth you're bending, so there's no way you'll get the pitch bend automation to display in semitones. If you want precise semitones, you'll have to do the math.
Which is a shame because the one thing computers are super good at is doing the math for you…
huggermugger wrote:
01 Sep 2023
One thing you could do is always set the bend range of your synths to, for example, 12 semitones (1 octave). Then create a chart that shows the PB value for each of the 12 semitones up and down.
Making things even MORE confusing, the newer synths including Objekt, Algoritm, Mimic, Grain, Europa, Complex-1 etc. all use percent for pitch bend, while the older synths (Pre Europa?) use the old -8192 to +8191 system.
So your chart would have to include BOTH values for every possible combination. And help us if your synth can bend asymmetrically…

The solution would be to allow the user to input the current synth's pitch bend settings so the display could calculate (and optionally quantize to) semitones.
This may help get you started - not EVERY possible setting but some of the more common setting I've used (and the easy ones for maths sake!):
Screen Shot 2023-09-01 at 3.33.36 PM.png
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vrbi
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Post 01 Sep 2023

oh, that is so unfortunate.
don't know if I'm just having fantasies right now but I swear - some long time ago - I saw pitch bend wheel being able to be set in two modes: as bending wheel or a stepper - i.e. fluent changing of the parameters VS changing them by exact steps (semitones).
just don't remember if this was a software feature of some DAW I tried previously in the history or it was hardware behaviour of certain midi controller that I used before.
unlike mod wheel, of which sole purpose is to be used fluently, not by steps.

rorystorm
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Post 01 Sep 2023

I think the pink noise synths can do that?

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w1pl0c
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Post 01 Sep 2023

Dealt with this last month. Pitch bend ranges of 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 are all nicely divisible from 8192 (which is close enough for me). Then you have reoccurring math you can memorize.
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vrbi
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Post 02 Sep 2023

w1pl0c wrote:
01 Sep 2023
Dealt with this last month. Pitch bend ranges of 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 are all nicely divisible from 8192 (which is close enough for me). Then you have reoccurring math you can memorize.
it's just pitty you need more often thirds, fifths and sevenths in music ;)
nevermind, I'll swim through that in the end.

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selig
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Post 02 Sep 2023

vrbi wrote:
02 Sep 2023
it's just pitty you need more often thirds, fifths and sevenths in music ;)
nevermind, I'll swim through that in the end.
Yea, but for pitch bend? I almost always use a bend depth of ±2 semitones and occasionally ±12 semitones.
With the latter you have every interval possible within the octave - what more are you looking for?
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huggermugger
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Post 02 Sep 2023

vrbi wrote:
02 Sep 2023

it's just pitty you need more often thirds, fifths and sevenths in music ;)
nevermind, I'll swim through that in the end.
You can do it by ear, like all the keyboard players wo ever who played a synth with a pitch bender. ;)

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joeyluck
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Post 02 Sep 2023

If you're someone who wants to pitch bend in specific and various different intervals, many instruments in Reason allow you to automate the pitch bend range. That will give you all of the exact numbers you are looking for and avoid any calculations.

PB Range.png
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selig
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Post 02 Sep 2023

joeyluck wrote:
02 Sep 2023
If you're someone who wants to pitch bend in specific and various different intervals, many instruments in Reason allow you to automate the pitch bend range. That will give you all of the exact numbers you are looking for and avoid any calculations.


PB Range.png
Huh? EVERY instrument does this, no (pitch bend automation)?
However, that “exact number” has no relation to the actual pitch you’re hearing, because it depends on the synth setting for pitch bend amount.
Not sure how to avoid calculation except in super simple cases and with the newer synths that use percent instead of the MIDI value.
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selig
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Post 02 Sep 2023

w1pl0c wrote:
01 Sep 2023
Dealt with this last month. Pitch bend ranges of 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 are all nicely divisible from 8192 (which is close enough for me). Then you have reoccurring math you can memorize.
You may want to consider including percent in your chart because all synths since at least Europa use percent for pitch bend automation and not the 8192 range of the legacy instruments.
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joeyluck
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Post 02 Sep 2023

selig wrote:
02 Sep 2023
joeyluck wrote:
02 Sep 2023
If you're someone who wants to pitch bend in specific and various different intervals, many instruments in Reason allow you to automate the pitch bend range. That will give you all of the exact numbers you are looking for and avoid any calculations.


PB Range.png
Huh? EVERY instrument does this, no (pitch bend automation)?
I'm talking about pitch bend RANGE.

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w1pl0c
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Post 02 Sep 2023

selig wrote:
02 Sep 2023
w1pl0c wrote:
01 Sep 2023
Dealt with this last month. Pitch bend ranges of 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 are all nicely divisible from 8192 (which is close enough for me). Then you have reoccurring math you can memorize.
You may want to consider including percent in your chart because all synths since at least Europa use percent for pitch bend automation and not the 8192 range of the legacy instruments.
good advice! ill update it and repost later

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selig
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Post 05 Sep 2023

joeyluck wrote:
02 Sep 2023
selig wrote:
02 Sep 2023


Huh? EVERY instrument does this, no (pitch bend automation)?
I'm talking about pitch bend RANGE.
Doh, I see that now. Nothing to see here…
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Carly(Poohbear)
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Post 05 Sep 2023

joeyluck wrote:
02 Sep 2023
If you're someone who wants to pitch bend in specific and various different intervals, many instruments in Reason allow you to automate the pitch bend range. That will give you all of the exact numbers you are looking for and avoid any calculations.


PB Range.png
smart, like it..

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joeyluck
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Post 05 Sep 2023

Yeah might be a little tedious depending on how often it changes? But handy so that you don't have to do any math, just change the range and set the PB wheel to full.

My next suggestion would be to get something like a Seaboard. I have a Seaboard Block and it's very intuitive to just glide between notes whether it's 1 step or several octaves, no settings need to change. And I think Roli might be rereleasing the Seaboard Block because a page reappeared for it on their site...

And I guess another suggestion would be to use portamento and you can automate portamento speed, turning it off and making it longer. Or you can also have things affect portamento like velocity or whatever. And then just play the note you want to bend to rather than bending to the notes.

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Jagwah
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Post 05 Sep 2023

w1pl0c wrote:
01 Sep 2023
Dealt with this last month. Pitch bend ranges of 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 are all nicely divisible from 8192 (which is close enough for me). Then you have reoccurring math you can memorize.
I was under the impression this didn't work well or pitch perfectly?

I remember wanting to bend to a lot of different pitches with the one long note, and after a discussion here figured I couldn't.

So using these correct divisions I could bend a note Up 3 semitones then down 4 semitones then back up 2 semitones with the One Note? Or is it more likely it will be close to the pitches just not exact?

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w1pl0c
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Post 06 Sep 2023

Jagwah wrote:
05 Sep 2023
w1pl0c wrote:
01 Sep 2023
Dealt with this last month. Pitch bend ranges of 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 are all nicely divisible from 8192 (which is close enough for me). Then you have reoccurring math you can memorize.
I was under the impression this didn't work well or pitch perfectly?

I remember wanting to bend to a lot of different pitches with the one long note, and after a discussion here figured I couldn't.

So using these correct divisions I could bend a note Up 3 semitones then down 4 semitones then back up 2 semitones with the One Note? Or is it more likely it will be close to the pitches just not exact?
sure you could, i think its pretty exact, no? The PB Range is the important bit though.

you can also curve the automation which could be fun

try it out and put a tuner on it

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selig
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Post 06 Sep 2023

@Joey, Your idea of automating bend RANGE sounds good in theory, but in practice there are a few issues.
For one, the main reason to use pitch bend for this is to bend notes, right? But if you automate bend RANGE and leave the pitch bend one way or the other you don’t get a smooth transition. You get steps, exactly as if you automated semitone tuning on an oscillator.
The other issue is you limit the range to all positive or all negative values with this approach.
Finally, even if you combine the techniques, when bend is fully positive the only direction you can “bend” a note from there is the opposite direction (down) which further limits you.

If what you want is to hold one long note a bend around to many different pitches, I still suggest setting bend range to ±1 oct and using the handy chart I posted earlier. You can even record a rough idea and then “tune” the pitches to the desired values at the edit stage. This would allow you to keep the slides as performed.

Another option would be to create a template with clips containing the pitch bend value for every semitone over a two oct range. If you thought you may need it, also build one for ±24 semitones (four oct range) which would be basically one semitone every 4% change.

Then you could label the clips as to their scale position and you’re off to the races.

If you do this often and use the same bend range, it won’t take long to learn the basic intervals – a fifth is ±58% and a fourth is ±42%, etc.
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Jagwah
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Post 06 Sep 2023

w1pl0c wrote:
06 Sep 2023
try it out and put a tuner on it
Ah yes thanks I'll try this out a bit later and get back.

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joeyluck
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Post 06 Sep 2023

@selig yeah my suggestion was for setting the range and THEN bending. I don't know the exact application, so of course it doesn't work for everybody.

But surely if you're doing that much bending of different intervals between specific notes, the best answer is to just use a Seaboard ;)

Or like I mentioned, use portamento and automate portamento speed (or modulate portamento speed with velocity) and then just play/write the notes.

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Jagwah
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Post 08 Sep 2023

w1pl0c wrote:
06 Sep 2023
sure you could, i think its pretty exact, no? The PB Range is the important bit though.

you can also curve the automation which could be fun

try it out and put a tuner on it
Yes it works great, provided the range is set to 12 semitones on Thor for instance.

That's great, never knew this or considered the math, thanks for the chart!! :thumbup:

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w1pl0c
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Post 13 Sep 2023

Updated the chart for PB ranges of 2, 4, 8, 16. Added percent column.
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