Metropolix tips

I periodically skim the Metropolix menu again to remind myself of things I’ve forgotten, and I thought this gem was so useful I should remind others: x/y/z attenvuters can function without an input for any gate destination! I’d been using my knobs for track out swaps, and just realized I could reclaim the knobs since I’m not currently using x/y/z for anything.

Please chime in with your own Metropolix ideas - this is such a deep instrument and I’m fascinated by the ways others are using it.


Ive found that Metropolix works really nicely with the Malekko ecosystem with the Verigate 8+ song mode. Im using the Voltage block to send a high voltage signal to invert skips on a traxk with the X,Y, and Z inputs. Im sure you can use otber modules to do something similar, but i like how you can sequence Metropolix with other sequencers.

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Thanks for the excellent reminder. Such a huge tool it’s really useful to return to catch the “little” things missed when we first started with Metropolix.

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Here is a technique I just discovered:

Arrange a bank of User Scales as all Major Pentatonic but the Root of each scale is in the order of the circle of fifths.

In practice, if you modulate the Scale (User) parameter in between stages (using Mod Lanes, CV or CTRL) you have a nice way to modulate to different keys.

You can still express melodies in the major scale (and other modes) because overlapping three neighboring major pentatonic scales on the circle of fifths produces the half steps missing from the central major pentatonic scale to form that respective major scale. Using, and independently modulating, both Metropolix tracks, with two different voices, highlights this behavior.

Caveat: With only 10 user scales per bank you can’t modulate all the way around the circle of fifths. :frowning: So I often put a sentinel scale (a fully diminished seventh chord works for me) on the end of the bank to musically return to the first user scale in the bank.

Also: The Bottom Pitch Setup menu slider setting really matters here. I find setting it to C (as opposed to Root) produces smoother modulations as the existing melody morphs to the new scale instead of jumping up and down (modulo the octave). YMMV.



Use a Mod Lane assigned to Mute or (Negative) Probability to create a rhythmic “Mask”.

Background: I wanted a waltz type pattern where the first pulse of each 3 pulses was skipped. Using this case as an example:

  • Set a Mod Lane to be the same clock division as the target Track
  • Under the LEN menu, set the Mod Lane to be 3 stages long
  • Edit the Mod Lane to have either a Mute or -100% Probability on the stage/pulse you wish to have a rest
  • Set each stage of the target Track to an integer multiple of 3

So far, in practice, it has been really nice to have another way to inject a rest into the melodic phrase. Until now, if I wanted a rest, I had to sacrifice an entire stage with the GATE TYPE set to REST.

Bonus: This rhythmic “Mask” has been working well with the accumulator, especially when it is accumulating on each pulse within a long pulse count stage.

Lastly, there is lots to explore with rhythmic phasing, too. One does not have to have the Mod Lane stage length and each Track stage length locked into integer multiples of one another. I just chose to synchronize them for this particular melody.

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Hi reacpitch. Excellent. Super creative. Can’t wait to give it a go. Thanks very much!

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QDLFV (quick-and-dirty low frequency vacillator)

  • Select an unused Mod Lane
  • Set the Order to Brownian
  • Go to the CV LANE screen for that Mod Lane
  • Press ALT and the AUX Y button once or a few times to morph the Mod Lane stage values
  • Assign the Mod Lane to some parameter (or CV out) you want to gently change over time
  • Set the DIV for that Mod Lane on the high side if you want something gradual or glacial

I have often used this on Swing, Gate Length and Octave (with high enough values). I have gotten pretty good results modulating underlying patterns of varying melodic complexity using these.

Assigning a QDLFV to a more transformative parameter, like Pitch-Pre, Pulse-Div or Slider-Range, is interesting, sometimes bewildering and occasionally inspiring. Self-patching from CV A or B into X, Y or Z assigned to BPM can get pretty wild/weird.

If you are more deliberate about crafting the Mod Lane stage values (instead of morphing) and stage length you can create other stochastic-but-bounded behaviors. I was able to get Markov Chain-like behavior by having have more stages with the same parameter value in a series of stages. The probability of staying on that value/state are higher than transitioning to a different value/state.

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Another (maybe the last?):

Pitch Slider-tracking melodic feedback modulation.

The inspiration: I love combining pitch CV for a voice with other modulation being applied to that voice (example: offsetting and inverting the pitch CV, then assigning it to the decay of an envelope, so that the sound gets shorter as the notes get higher). This technique always sounds more musical/interesting to me in patches. In my experience it is usually worth the extra time, cables, and modules. So I have been wondering how to affect the Metropolix with its own pitch CV, maybe producing a similar “musicality” along the way.

Enter sequencer feedback:

  • Assign Track 1 CV Out A to Slider (0-5V)
  • Mult 3 copies of that output (preferably using a buffered mult)
  • Put each of the 3 copies back into the Metropolix X, Y, and Z AUX inputs. One copy per input so they all get the same CV value.
  • Assign X, Y, and Z Aux to different +/- 5V destinations:
    – Start with Pulse Count for X and Stages Offset for Y. (these had the best behavior for me)
    – Then try Gate Scale, Swing or Probability for Z.
    – Try Play Order, Pitch Pre and Scale later when you want to ramp up the chaos.
  • Adjust the attenuverters to taste. Tweak live on the fly to get variations on your melody.
  • Notice how the feedback is not instantaneous and occurs on the next clock/pulse (this makes it easier to work with IMHO)
  • Add some tasteful minimal accumulator steps here and there. (since we are using Slider (0-5V) and not Pitch output, the accumulator doesn’t directly affect the feedback patch, which keeps things manageable but helps add interest, as the accumulator is wont to do, despite being decoupled)
  • Maybe tweak the base/offset settings of the destinations you chose above as another means of creating variations. You can even tweak them at the same time as the attenuverters. Bonus!
  • You can always “get back home” to your original melody if you can center the attenuverters and restore the base settings/offsets for your destinations. Re-loading a preset works wonders here (but your Aux Load settings matters here, too)

I am able to get interesting variations on the melody very quickly. Turning the attenuverters just a little bit can have big changes to the melody but the results are repeatable and not random. The phrases are longer and have surprising internal repetitions. It seems SO much faster than editing ModLanes with the same destinations (I still love ModLanes for making phrases longer, rhythmic changes and drifting modulation though!)

The pitch sliders and pulse counts also become highly reactive, for lack of a better term. They affect each other with this feedback patch, even beyond Stage neighbors. Changing one Stage’s slider/pulse-count values changes how other Stages react to the incoming modulation. In practice it feels like a melodically coherent butterfly effect when I am editing the melody. I can hear motivic traces/echoes re-appearing as I tweak all the things.

p.s. Using the PITCH output or Slider Range didn’t work out as well as Slider (0-5V) as a feedback source. I am not sure why. Also: assigning gate destinations for AUX X, Y, Z (instead of +/-5V) seemed to wedge the Metropolix into a repetitive/short state that made me recoil in boredom/disgust. YMMV.

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