Device Details

Device Overview

Name/Version: Weighted Random Generator 1.1
Author: alchemical9  
Description: Yet another random note generator? Yes, but with an important difference: the random stream of notes is given structure and shape by weighting the probablility a note will be chosen. This means that some notes will be played more often than others and the result is much more musical than a simple stochastic algorithm.

Another critical difference in terms of musicality is the random generator is based on a 2-octave set of notes. A 2-octave note selector can better accommodate any key, no need to wrap the scale around and compress it into a single octave. Also, if you're familiar with chord inversions, a 2-octave selector can preserve the inversions you're using.

I've designed this device with musicality in mind, it's really well suited to music structured around chords and scales, so, if that's your thing, you'll get a lot out of this device.

How it Works

The core of the device is the 2-octave graphical note selector. This user interface establishes the "note set" that the random generator draws from. Each note in the set has a "weight" which determines how often the note will be chosen. The weight is shown and set by the slider knob in each key in the keyboard graphic interface.

There are two ways to set the notes: manually by clicking on the keyboard graphic interface or using a MIDI keyboard. This is enabled by setting the MIDI mode to "Note Set."

Selecting a note manually means clicking on the key and moving the slider to set the note's weight. The higher the slider knob, the more likely the note is to play, relative to the other notes in the set. Keys that are grey are not part of the set and will not be played. If no notes are selected, the generator plays nothing.

Setting the Notes Using MIDI or Clips

In MIDI Note Set mode, you have two options: "Latch" and "Momentary." In Latch mode, each note played will remain set when the key is released. Hit the same key again, and the note is removed from the set.

In Momentary mode, a note is only selected as long as the key is held. Momentary mode also works with a sustain pedal to keep played notes selected as long as the pedal is held.

When setting the notes using MIDI, the weight of each note can be determined either by the played velocity or randomly. This is set by the "Weight Mode" switch. In velocity mode, the higher the velocity, the more likely the note will play.

The note set can always be modified manually.

Clocking the Notes

The generator has a clock that is used to trigger the notes in various ways.

At the left of the device is the clock module, which has the familiar sync/time switch to determine the time base of the clock. The control to the right of the time base selector is clicked to set the specific timing of the clock.

Below that on the left is the gate time. The gate time is set as a percentage of the clock period, which means that you can change the clock period and the gate time will change with it.

Next to that is the "Play Chance" control which sets the likelihood that a note will play or skip the clock.

Managing Velocity

To the right of the Note Set selector is the Velocity section, which configures how the velocity of a generated note is determined. There are 3 modes there: "Fixed" which has all notes at the same velocity, which is set by clicking on the number to the right of the source selector.

"As Played" really only works when the note set is determined by controlling the device with a MIDI keyboard or a clip, and then the velocity of each note in the set is the velocity as it was played in by the keyboard or clip.

"Random" selects the velocity at random. The yellow region of the range control sets the upper and lower limit of velocities that can be chosen. Click on the control to set the range, shift-click to extend the range in either direction.

Below that is the "Skew" which skews the random values high or low. For example, if this is set to low, most of the velocities will be on the low end, with an occasional high velocity. In the middle, all velocities are equally likely to be chosen.

Mapped Random

The last module adds another layer of control: it gives you a way to map a random value to any parameter of any device in the Live set. This is set in the mapping selector by clicking on "Map" and then clicking on the parameter you want it to control. The "X" unmaps the control.

Below the mapping selector is a "slew" control to smooth the changes between random values. Below that is the same range and skew controls that velocity has.

Octave Shift

Below the keyboard interface is a line of buttons for selecting an octave shift mode. Any selection here other than "0" will randomly shift the octave of a note selected from the note set. With a 2-octave shift, it will randomly choose between no shift, 1 octave or 2 octaves.


Above the keyboard graphic interface is a row of square buttons where presets are stored. If you have a note set you like, hold the shift key and click on one of the squares, this will save the set. To select a saved set, click on the square button where it was saved. These presets only store the note set and weights.

Fun Things to Do

The generator responds quite well to external modulators. Two things you should try are modulating the clock with an LFO: if you modulate the timing, you can get some very interesting rhythms. Modulating the gate time can yield some really nice syncopation effects.

Version 1.1
* presets now automatable
* cleaned up automation parameters

Device Details

Tags sequencer, other
Live Version Used: 11.2.7
Max Version Used: 8.5.2
Date Added: Feb 01 2023 08:18:46
Date Last Updated: Mar 31 2024 17:38:32
Device Type: midi_device
Download URL (report link)
License (more info): AttributionShareAlike


Nice sequencer!

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