KARMA 2: Chord recognition in left hand for a module played by right hand


You want the note series (based on KARMA chord recognition) for a melodic repeat GE played by your right hand to be built by the chords you're playing with your left hand. An example of this is the "Magic Flute" combi from the original Korg Karma workstation.


By default, most KARMA modules perform chord recognition for building the GE's note series only in the actual trigger zone for the module. Getting the desired effect here requires some manual setup of the KARMA performance to create a zone for chord recognition in the LH area of the keyboard, and to create the trigger zone for the module in the RH area of the keyboard. This example uses a Korg M3, but these instructions can be easily adapted to the Korg Kronos, M3 or OASYS.

The GE used in the "Magic Flute" combi of the Korg Karma was named "RT Repeater". This has been replaced by a KARMA 2 GE in the Kronos/M3/OASYS called RT Melodic Repeat, which is located in the Real-Time GE category. RT Melodic Repeat is a general purpose melodic repeat GE that does everything the old "RT Repeater" GE did, and more. You just have to set it up right.

What you need to do is set the LH area of the keyboard to provide the chord recognition for the GE that is triggered in the RH area of the keyboard. Normally, the area of the keyboard triggering the GE also provides chord recognition to that GE, but you can override this functionality.

  1. Select an InitCombi (one that is empty).
  2. On the P0:Play page, go to the KARMA GE tab.
  3. Touch the category button for module A (right next to the red A) and go to category *11 Real-Time** and select GE 2089: RT Melodic Repeat (Kronos: 2044 RT Melodic Repeat).
  4. Enable KARMA and latch it.
  5. Play a chord - you will hear it do the melodic repeat thing, based on the chord you just played.
  6. On the P7-1:KARMA 1 GESetup page, set the module's trigger zone to be C4 to G9 (the RH area), and check that the LH area no longer triggers the module.
  7. In the MIDI I/O section of this tab, set the output channel (Out) for each module to 02, 03, 04, and 05, respectively. Because this type of effect/sound is not likely to be the main keyboard sound, we don't want it on the global channel (it's easier to explain this way too). Also, this frees up the global channel so that we can put a pad sound in the LH area to play from the keyboard.
  8. You will still hear the piano sound being played by the GE, because this is a default combi and it has a piano in timbre 2 on Ch02. (You can check the MIDI channels for each timbre of the combi on page P3:Timbre Param, on the MIDI 1-8 and MIDI 9-16 tabs.)
  9. Let's set timbre one to do a pad in the LH area. On page P0:Play, on the Prog 1-8 tab, touch the program category button at the top of timbre 1 and select I-C110 Oooh Stereo Voices.
  10. Play a chord in the LH area such as a Cm rooted on C2. The pad's too loud, so lets go to the Mixer 1-8 tab and set timbre 1's volume to about 80.
  11. The pad is also too low in pitch, so go to page P3:Timbre Param and then to the Pitch 1-8 tab, and set the Transpose value to +12 for timbre 1 (transposes what you play up one octave).
  12. Play the Cm chord in the LH area again. Sounds good now.
  13. Now play a chord in the RH area - oops! We hear the vocal pad as well as the piano pattern being played by KARMA module A, which isn't what we want. We want to create a split so that the LH pad doesn't play on the RH side of the keyboard.
  14. Go to page P4:Zone/Delay, and set the Top Key of timbre 1 to B3. Now we have a split with the LH playing the pad, and the RH triggering a melodic repeat pattern with a piano voice. But there's still something wrong because if you hold down a LH chord and then play a few different chords in the RH side of the split, the module is still trigger off of your RH chords. We want the module to trigger only off of your LH chords.
  15. Go to page P7-1:KARMA4 Perf and on the Dynamic MIDI tab, set up slot #1 like this:
    • Input: A (which means the MIDI data generated by KARMA module A is the input to this Dynamic MIDI effect)
    • Source: Note Outside Zone (which means this Dynamic MIDI effect will apply only to notes that are played outside of the trigger zone for the input module)
    • Destination: Chord Scan (which means this Dynamic MIDI effect is using the source notes to provide chord recognition for the modules selected at the bottom of this slot)
    • Action: Continuous (which usually means that this Dynamic MIDI effect is applied continuously to any note activity in the keyboard range specified by the Bottom and Top values. 000=C-1, 012=C0, 036=C2, 060=C4, and so on. However, when the source is "Note Outside Zone" these Top and Bottom values are ignored, and instead the effect is applied to any note outside the input module's trigger zone.)
    • Finally, touch the A checkbox to select it. This means that this Dynamic MIDI effect is applied only to the notes generated by module A.
    • In summary, a Dynamic MIDI effect filters and changes the notes output by one or more KARMA modules, based on the source parameters and based on the type of output destination chosen.
  16. What we've just done in this specific case is to set the area of the keyboard that is NOT module A's trigger zone as the chord recognition input area, and we've disconnected KARMA chord recognition from the module's trigger zone.
  17. Now, play a chord in the LH area, and play notes in the RH area - the RH notes repeat and transpose according to the LH Chord's chord.
  18. Notice a bit of delay/latency in the RH? That is because Trigger Quantize is On, and that's not something you would want for this kind of real-time playing. Go to page P7-2:KARMA2 Module and on the Trigger A tab, clear the Quantize Trigger checkbox.
  19. Now, go back to page P0:Play and then to the Control Surface tab. Over on the M3's physical control surface, press the KARMA button. You're now looking at the Master control surface layer, but we want to play around with module A, so touch the > button next to the Module near the upper left of the screen and select A.
  20. Play with the sliders and switches to see the ways you can change the behavior of Module A.


  • In general, the only reason to use a Dynamic MIDI Chord Scan is when you want to make the chord recognition zone be different from the trigger zone for one or more KARMA modules, to achieve the type of effect demonstrated in this article. By default, Chord Scan is already there under the covers, providing chord recognition within the trigger zone of a module.
  • When setting up the Dynamic MIDI slot, you could choose to use Smart Scan instead of Chord Scan. These both perform chord recognition for the KARMA engine, but with some subtle differences:
    • Chord Scan is exactly the same as the default KARMA chord recognition, in that it responds to single notes and 2-note intervals as well as full chords. Watch the chord recognition area of the KARMA RTC tab to see how Chord Scan interprets single notes and intervals.
    • Smart Scan requires at least 3 notes played within the range of 16 semitones (generally a full hand-span) to trigger chord recognition. For more information, see Tutorial 2 - Part 3 of KARMA 2: Tutorial - Mastering Level 1 ("KARMA Player") KARMA usage
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