Creating Ratcheting Sequences With A Eurorack Modular Synthesizer

Chris Meyer (Learning Modular) shared this series of videos that demonstrate how you can create ‘ratcheting’ style sequencing with a Eurorack modular synthesizer.

Ratcheting is a technique, iconically used by Tangerine Dream on 70’s tracks like Stratosfear, to introduce more interest and variety to repetitive sequences. Most step sequencers of the day were limited to short cycles of notes. Ratcheting adds interest to these short sequences by subdividing individual steps of the sequence.

For example, a sequence made of quarter notes might ‘ratchet’ on a particular step, so that eighth notes or sixteenth notes are played on the step. Often randomness was used to add further interest, so a particular step might only ratchet some of the time.

Meyer demonstrates several variations on creating ratcheting with a Eurorack modular synth.

The video above offers an  overview of what’s needed to create a “ratcheting” patch, where individual steps of the sequence are re-triggered multiple times, plus a demonstration of how to create the patch using a voltage controlled clock multiplier.

The next video looks at a variation on a “ratcheting” patch – where individual steps of a sequencer are re-triggered multiple times – using a voltage controlled switch.

In this video, Meyer demonstrates ratcheting, using a clock divider with multiple outputs plus a sequential switch.

There are many other ways to create the multiple clock rates needed for creating ratchet effects, including dedicated modules, synced LFOs, gate sequencers and more. The key to ratchet sequences is creating a patch that lets you trigger or switch in the faster clock rates where you want them.

If you’ve created your own ratcheting sequences, share your approach – or a video demo – in the comments!

via Chris Meyer

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