Quantize This !


       If you play keys like I do, quantization is a very valuable tool to have. Sonar (and many other sequencing software packages) include two different types—regular quantizing and groove quantizing. In this article, we’re going to explore regular quantizing and how best to utilize it.

       Plain jane quantizing is useful when an instrumentalist is playing against a click track and consistently plays on top of the beat (after) or behind the beat (before). Sonar includes real-time quantizing upon playback or you can apply the effect after you’ve recorded the track. There are several options to select when using quantization including resolution, offset, duration, velocity, strength, swing and window.

       The resolution option can be specified in note duration or number of ticks and specifies the size of grid used for timing. For instance if you use 8th note resolution, the quantize effect will adjust the starting time of the note to the nearest 8th note. The resolution can be as much as a whole note or as small as a 32nd triplet.

       Offset refers to the amount of musical time that you might want to offset the timing grid so that if you don’t want the notes to be exactly on the beat, you can move everything by say 3 ticks. It’s not a lot but it will keep it from sounding too mechanical.

       Duration involves making sure that as a result of moving the start of the notes, they don’t overlap.

       Velocity is only available as an option in the Groove quantize function and adjusts the velocity of the notes to the corresponding notes in the groove clip

       Strength allows the user to maintain the human qualities of the played track by adjusted the notes by a percentage factor. If you choose a strength factor of 80%, for instance, it will adjust the notes 80% towards the nearest 8th note (assuming that’s the resolution you’ve chosen)

       Swing is a musical construct in which the rhythm of a piece is interpreted differently than it is written. Typically a 4/4 piece is played in a 6/8 or 12/8 feel so that a measure of even quarter notes is played as though it was dotted quarter–eighth–dotted quarter-eighth. The number of beats in the measure remains the same but the feel changes to kind of a loping feel. The best way to thing of it is long short long short, and so on. The Swing option is expressed in a percentage. A 50% percentage means that there is no swing where as 75% percentage would be typical swing rhythm. 20% swing means the first note is short and the second note is long.

       Window determines how far the quantize function looks away from the resolution to correct notes. It is also express in percentage. 100% means that a note up to halfway between the two resolution points will be adjusted to the next resolution point whereas a window % of 50% means that a note only a quarter of the way before or after the resolution will be adjusted


Next Month—Groove Quantizing


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