KARMA 2: Forcing KARMA to play harmonic minor when you play passing tones


Typically you use the harmonic minor scale (flat 6th) when the main tonality of what you're playing is minor, and you use the natural minor scale (major 6th) when the main tonality of what you're playing is major. You notice that KARMA always defaults to the natural minor scale when you add passing tones, because it can't tell what key you are actually playing in. For a particular song, you want to force KARMA to instead default to the harmonic minor scale when you play passing tones.

Procedure for Korg Kronos, Oasys, and M3

Note: the description here references the Oasys but should be virtually identical for the Kronos.

  1. Choose any initialized Combi as a starting point.
    1. Go to page 0-6 KARMA RTC (M3) or 0-6 KARMA GE (OASYS) and using the screen, or the Module Control button on the front panel, change Module Control to "A", so that it displays the RTC settings for Module A.
    2. Set KARMA Switch 2 "Note Scale Type" to On. This causes KARMA to play in Scalic Mode.
    3. Turn KARMA On, and play a Cmaj triad (C-E-G). You get a Cmaj arpeggio containing notes from a diatonic scale. Play a Cmin (C-Eb-G). You get a Cmin arpeggio (including notes from a natural minor scale). Play a Csus2 (C-D-G). You get a Csus2 arpeggio, with a passing tone including an "A" - the major 6th (the diatonic scale, since KARMA assumes a bias to the major key). This Csus2 scale would sound good mixed in with a bunch of major chords, but not necessarily correct mixed in with a bunch of minor chords (which would prefer the harmonic minor scale, with a flat 6th - Ab).
  2. As in the previous example, to program the Custom Note Map Table, go to page 7-4-8 Note Map (M3) or 7-9 Name/Note Map (OASYS). Continuing to think in the key of "C", if you want all chords to always change the 6th to some other note, you need to set all occurrences of A (the 6th in the key of C) to play something else.
    1. Again, the default Custom Note Map should be a diagonal line (what goes in is what comes out). But if not, you would press the [Reset] button to reset the map. As in the previous example, turn on the Octave Replicate button (if not already on). This tells it to take each change that you make and do the same thing in all octaves. So you only need to adjust one A, and all the rest are automatically adjusted.
    2. Set the "In" field to any A, such as A4 (you can do this by touching the field, holding the ENTER key on the 9-key pad, and playing an A).
    3. The "Out" field will display the same note. Touch it and decrement by 1, to G# (Ab). You will see all octaves reflect this change in the large map. Now, any A (major 6th) that goes into the table will come out as an Ab (minor 6th). Try this now with changing between a Cmin (C-Eb-G) and a Csus2 (C-D-G) - sounds better, right?
  3. Again, to make it track the keyboard, so that all chords (not just the key of C) produce this result:
    1. Go back to 7-2-1 Control A (M3) or 7-3 Control (OASYS).
    2. Enable (check) the "Chord Track" parameter. This tells it to use the chord analysis features to "move the table around" based on the chord root. We programmed in the key of C, so essentially, if you play a D chord, it will shift the entire table by +2 semitones to follow the chord (that's a simplification, but good enough for our purposes).
    3. Try some maj7 chords in other keys.

More Information

  • A Note Map is a huge grid of 128 columns x 129 rows containing 16,512 "cells" - one row to remap each of the 128 MIDI notes to any other note, plus one extra row to remove any note. Viewed on page 7-4-8 Note Map (M3) or 7-9 Name/Note Map (Kronos/OASYS), or the Note Map Editor of the optional KARMA Software, each cell represents one of the 128 incoming MIDI notes, and a potential remapping of the note to one of 128 different pitches or the special "remove" setting.
  • When you select a Note Map Table for a Module, the Module plays "through" the table. Incoming notes from KARMA are modified according to the mapping, and the modified pitches go out. So a default Custom Note Map is a straight diagonal line, representing "Linear" or "no change" response - what goes in is what comes out.
  • There is one Custom Note Map per Combi, Program or Song, that any or all of the Modules can use. Modules may also use Global Note Map Tables (described elsewhere). So while one Module may be using the Custom Note Map, others may still use one or more of the Global Note Maps.
  • As with most of KARMA's parameters, the Note Map selection can be assigned to the Real-Time Controls, and stored in each Scene - so you can have completely different Drum variations in each Scene, or different Melodic filters and scales in each Scene if desired.
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