The Song Control module works in conjunction with any number of linked Song Part modules to form a high-level Song Control Sequencer that manages the overall structure of a song.
Its steps, rather than being individual notes, are the sections of a song. For instance Intro, Verse 1, Chorus 1, Verse 2, Chorus 2, Bridge, Chorus 3, Outro.
Each section of a song is represented by a Song Part module and these modules are chained together in the order that they play by connecting their LINK OUT and LINK IN sockets.
V/Bar signals are typically distributed via Song Part modules as these provide easy to use signals that break down the V/Bar voltages into musically useful chunks of easily controllable duration. So for instance if the chorus is 8 bars long then the Song Part modules representing the chorus have their NUMBER OF BARS set to 8.
The Song Control module’s V/BAR OUT socket provides a global voltage that represents the current position in the entire song.
The module syncs to the Host by default or can sync to MIDI clock via the MIDI SYNC IN socket or any other timing source via the SYNC IN socket.
The transport can be controlled manually, by trigger inputs or via MIDI start/stop messages.
Various clock, control and synchronisation outputs are provided including a MIDI SYNC OUT socket that transmits MIDI Clock and start/stop messages to control external MIDI equipment.
Note that to function properly the Song Control module needs at least one Song Part module connected to its LINK OUT socket.
The reason they are separate modules is so that the Song Control Sequencer can be extended indefinitely to handle any length of song and to make it is easy to rearrange a song’s structure – for instance by changing the order of the parts or inserting new parts as required.
Note that there should only be one instance of the Song Control Sequencer per patch. But you can still have multiple V/Bar timing signals. For example you can use AHR Generators to create looping or one-shot V/Bar timing signals that run independently of the Song Control Sequencer.
At the top of the module there’s a field for you to enter the name of the song you are working on. The term “song” is used as a catch all term for a piece of music whether it’s literally a song or not.
A title might seem like a minor thing and of course the project has a file name but, as well a providing identification, a song title can have a powerful effect on how you perceive a composition and how it develops. So although you can just ignore this feature, it’s there to enable you to make a title explicit should you want to.
Several buttons provide transport control…
Go to the beginning of the song
Loop the song if this button is engaged
Send a trigger to REC OUT
Go back one bar
Go forward one bar
Three digital displays provide useful information – the current position in the song, the total number of bars and the current tempo measurement in Beats Per Minute.
The SOLO ACTIVE LED is lit when one of the Song Part modules is soloed. This is a handy reminder in case the relevant Song Part module is off screen.
Although LSSP uses V/Bar timing, Song Control also provides conventional clock signals so that you can integrate regular modules into LSSP patches with ease. The CLOCK OUT socket provides a standard 1/16th note 5 V pulse that you can use to drive non-Adroit sequencers, clock dividers etc.
Although LSSP uses one or more Groove modules to handle micro-timing, the SWING knob can be used to adjust the timing of CLOCK OUT to provide some primitive but handy groove control for regular clocked modules.
There are four clocks per beat and the four LEDs above the SWING knob give a visual indication of the tempo and any swing.
Because the V/Bar standard uses one Volt to represent one bar it’s important to understand how beats fit into the scheme.
Most songs have four beats to the bar (4/4 time is so common that it is even called common time). So with four beats to a bar one beat would be represented by 1/4 Volt.
Although 3/4 time is used less often than 4/4 time, it’s still pretty common. Having three beats to a bar means that a beat would be represented by 1/3 volt.
So Song Control provides a means of setting the number of beats to the bar to either three or four. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use more esoteric time signatures (you can do some really wacky polyrhythmic timimg using the Time Flow Changer) but it does provide a basic arrangement for the relationship between the worlds of V/Bar and conventional clock timing.
The Beats/Bar setting also configures the Rhythm Sequencer to use either 12 or 16 steps too – so that there are always four steps per beat.
(Although things can get a little more complicated when using the Groove module as things like triplets can be accommodated.)
In addition to CLOCK OUT, several other trigger outputs are provided to help integrate conventional clocked modules into LSSP.
START OUT sends a trigger pulse when the song starts either by manual control, via a START IN trigger or by MIDI control.
STOP OUT sends a trigger pulse when the song stops either by manual control, when the song finishes (and looping is switched off), via a STOP IN trigger or by MIDI Control.
SYNC OUT transmits a sync pulse at 24 PPQN (Pulses Per Quarter Note). This is four times slower than the sync used by Voltage Modular but is the MIDI standard. This signal is derived either from the Voltage Modular sync, SYNC IN or via MIDI clock signals from the MIDI SYNC IN socket.
BAR OUT sends a trigger pulse once per bar.
BEAT OUT sends a trigger pulse once per beat.
In the CV Watcher views above the red trace is from CLOCK OUT, yellow from BEAT OUT and green from BAR OUT.
Note that the tempo (Beats Per Minute) in these views remains constant but when Song Control is set at 3 Beats/Bar a bar lasts 3/4 of the time that it does when set at 4 Beats/Bar.
The Song Control module provides a convenient global transposition feature that enables you to set a song’s key in just one place. Typically KEY OUT would be connected to the KEY IN sockets of Diatonic Triad and scale modules.
Key modulations can be achieved by overriding this voltage for some parts of an LSSP patch.
The Song Control module doesn’t do any recording itself, the record button and REC OUT are provided simply as a convenient mechanism to feed the REC ARM IN inputs of Adroit modules that can record such as CV Sequencer and Rhythm Sequencer.