Thursday 13 June 2019

Documentation for the 'Probably' series of M4L devices - Illustrated!

The recent release of ProbablyR 0v14 reminded me that the documentation needs writing at some stage... So here's a promoted part of the blog post for that, but as a separate blog post to make it easier to find, and with added graphics to give it extra 'eye-candy'-ness. Not quite a square coffee-table book full of nice glossy photos, but you never know...

Documentation for Probably

The MIDIprobablyR(S,Z...) series is getting to the point where it needs a proper manual, but this may take some time, so, in the meantime, here are links to all of the blog posts covering the various versions of the Probably step sequencer. (and related devices) 

The Probably... step sequencer

Probably was the first (and simplest) of the 'Probably' series of step sequencers. This blog post is a good place to start.

Probably blog post                  The first in the series (four grids, limited panel colouring)

ProbablyZ blog post               The second iteration (added the time-warping 'Order grid/panel)

ProbablyS blog post               The third iteration (added the sub-sequencer 'Memory' grid/panel)

ProbablyR 0v11 blog post      The fourth iteration (added 16 step sub-seq, warp fills, and Step length)

ProbablyR 0v14 blog post      The fifth iteration (added 'Swing' panel and 'Nudge' buttons)

Latest ProbablyR on

Somewhere along the line, the breathlessly-annotated 'white and light purple' advert style got stuck in my mind, and I have used it ever since. Love it or hate it, it is immediately recognisable...

Other 'Probably...' devices

After Probably, there were some other devices that added extra letters to the end. The 'step sequencer' series adds a single letter: S, Z, R - the other devices add more than one letter. The release sequence for 'Probably the step sequencer'  is: Probably, then ProbablyZ, then ProbablyS, then ProbablyR (current).


ProbablyLFO blog post           Outputs probabilistic (variable) waveforms  

ProbablyLFO blog post2         Extra sync additions and time warping               On

Most people glance at the pixelated sine wave in the 0v03 screen-shot and say something like: 'Yuk - a pixellated sine-wave!' and ignore it. What they miss is an LFO that allows you to make arbitrary waveforms that change shape probabilistically and over time (the noise-warping is really cool, even if I say so myself!). Also, the pixelation can be smoothed out, and actually, having a little bit of it sounds good! - if you were raised in the 'S&H filter modulation era' then it is like a more sophisticated version of that. First impressions are not always reliable, and I've not even mentioned really unusual features like the 'Note' mode, where the LFO waveform is 'triggered' by notes in a clip, which one user described as 'genious'!


ProbablyGEN blog post          A poly-rhythmic drum sequencer, plus...  

ProbablyGEN blog post2        Extra asynchronous additions...                           On

ProbablyGEN is pure timing madness. Each of the three horizontal rows is independently timed (synced or free of Live's transport) and so you can do truly free-form poly-rhythms. This is the sort of thing that really ought to be a module for a modular synth...


ProbablyCHORD blog post     Probabilistic chord generator ('Sergeant...')        On

ProbablyCHORD is interesting because it brings together several idea into one place. The TR2gen to-step chord generator puts two chords in sequence and provides inversions, and then lets you automate and add probability to it. So it adds polyphony to the monophonic step sequencing from ProbablyR (and in fact, the variable 'step length' pop-up menu was tested here first, then added to ProbablyR 0v11). But it is also shown to its best advantage when paired with an 'articulated' sound using velocity, and you can learn more about this in two ModeAudio interviews/tutorials.

There is more on Ableton instrument racks here:

- Macro controls in Instrument Racks In Ableton Live

And an example of a more sophisticated multi-layered articulated sound (implemented in an Instrument Rack in Ableton Live) is here:

In the pipeline is a blog post on additional articulations that you can do inside Instrument Racks, which may also have other spin-offs...

ProbablyCHORD blog post2 - coming soon!

There are updates and more devices in the pipeline, of course. Watch this blog!

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