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Synth Secrets is a series of programming tutorials in which we show how to make a range of classic and new synth sounds using plugins such as Massive, Sylenth and Diva.
WaveDNA’s Liquid Music is a highly intuitive MIDI plugin we can use to literally sketch complex melodic sequences and chord progressions. Used in combination with U-He’s Diva synth, we’ll be creating the rich melodic parts heard in the example below:
We’ll be using Logic Pro for this walkthrough. Refer to WaveDNA’s instructions for loading up Liquid Music in your own DAW.
We’ll begin by using Liquid Music to create a chord sequence, so first we need to load a synth to trigger the MIDI. We load an instance of U-He’s Diva and select the ‘BS Deep Space Diva’ preset from the Dream Synth section.
Whatever synth you’re using, make sure you’ve activated enough voices, otherwise the chords may not play back correctly. Also, for this particular preset, we need to switch the synth to polyphonic mode.
With our synth pad loaded, we can now load up Liquid Music as a MIDI effect. In Logic, click on the MIDI FX slot and go to Audio Units > Wave DNA > Liquid Music, then click on the EDIT : Clip : 1 box to load up Liquid Music and select Allow to accept incoming network connections.
On the left-hand side of the Liquid Music interface we have the Harmony Builder section and to the right we have the Piano Roll and Arranger.
In the Harmony Builder we have six tabs, the first one being Presets – from here we can select from a number of different presets in the list, each one containing various different settings. Select one and then try sketching something in the Arranger. We select System Seven and then sketch some chords by simply clicking and dragging in the Arranger section.
From here you can audition different presets – the Sketch, Chords, Voice, Rhythm and Key settings will change along with the preset unless they have the lock button activated.
Let’s now go ahead and customise our chord sequence a bit more. From the File menu, select Clear Everything, and select Yes from the warning box that appears.
Let’s begin by heading over to the Key tab and selecting a scale. We’ve opted for F minor. Next, we go to the Rhythm section and from the Rhythm Layer Presets menu we select All Whole Notes. Now, we go and sketch a new pattern in our Arranger section.
Notice that when you click and drag all notes are whole notes are per our Rhythm preset selection and all notes snap to the F minor scale.
For each chord created, there are three voices. We can customise this in the Voice section. We can add or remove voices by clicking on the power button to the left of each one. Turn on a few extra voices so we have six for each chord.
Now, over on the Chords tab, we can break up our sequence into eight separate chords by clicking in the empty boxes in the Chord Progression Overview, which then allows us to change the Chord Root, Type and Modifier settings. We’ll change the third and seventh steps to Bb, and use the Chord Modifier section to add a 7 interval for the eighth step.
With our chord sequence now created, let’s add another synth to complement this. To do this, we simply duplicate our instance of Diva, which will also duplicate the same instance of Liquid Music.
In the new instance of Diva, we load the ‘TUC Breakdancer’ preset from the Bass section. Then in the new instance of Liquid Music we right-click on the Arrange window and select Delete Sketch to clear the notes, change the Rhythm to All 1-16 notes, and in the Voice section scroll down to activate the Arpeggiator and select the Up & Down style.
We now sketch in our arpeggiated bass pattern. If you don’t like what you hear to begin with, simply undo (command-Z) and re-sketch, or once you’ve sketched your pattern you can click and drag to move notes or sections of notes up or down. With our key set to F minor, the notes will always snap into key with the scale of our new project.
If you enjoyed this tutorial you might find our book ‘The Secrets of Dance Music Production’ a helpful resource for similar tutorials.
Synth Secrets is sponsored by
u-he are makers of award-winning software synthesisers and effects including Diva, Repro-1, Zebra2, Hive, Bazille, Presswerk and Satin.
Download the demos and try them for yourself at www.u-he.com