KARMA 2: Note Series group overview

Note: this independently contributed article has not yet been reviewed for accuracy by Karma-Lab.


The Note Series group is part of the "Note Choice" aspect of a GE.

The input notes/chords that you play (sometimes also called trigger notes/chords) are analyzed for chord recognition and therefore also for what key the input notes are from, and an appropriate note series is created based on all the parameters in the Note Series group. The note series might comprise only the specific input notes that you played, or it might be an extrapolation of the input notes based on repeating the input notes a certain number of times, with a certain interval pitch change occurring at each repetition. You can tell KARMA to fit the extrapolated notes into a specific scalar or modal series. You can even apply filters to remove certain scale tones from the final set of notes in the series, such as removing all 3rds from the note series used for the GE in a combi performance that plays a bass pattern, and removing all 7ths from the note series in the GE that plays a guitar comping riff.


In the screenshot above:

  • The note series would normally extend almost up to C8, but because this is a bass pattern GE, it makes more sense to use the Wrap Top parameter to force the notes above E5 to wrap back down into the nearest octave that fits within the total range between Wrap Bottom and Wrap Top.
  • The black (non-shaded) area on the left side of the grid indicates the indexes in the note series that fall within the the total number of Replications of the input note(s) — which in this screenshot was a single C3 note — modified by the Beginning/End Offset for the current phase over in the Phase group. (This might sound like gibberish right now, but come back to this later after reading the rest of this article.)
  • It's important to realize that the total number of specific note series indexes available to be played within each phase of the GE has nothing to do with the length of each phase.

If you have the KARMA Software, it's easy to grasp the myriad ways that the note series can be constructed from any number of input notes. Just open several different programs and watch the Note Series grid while you play different single notes, intervals, and chords.

The note series index

A special term you must become familiar with here is the note series index. Notice how every note series that is constructed always shows each note in the series in sequential order? How two or more notes are never, ever stacked vertically on top of each other? Every note in the series sits on its own discrete step along a horizontal axis. These discrete horizontal steps are referred to as the index of the note series. Index 1 is the first note in the series on the left of the grid. Index 2 is the next note to the right, index 3 is the next note to the right after that, and so on.

When KARMA chooses which notes in the note series to play at any given moment, it is choosing those notes by their index number. KARMA doesn't think of pitches at all really. All it knows is that when you attack a new note or several notes at the same time, the Note Series parameters quickly analyze those input notes and construct a note series (and this series changes with every new note or chord that you attack). Then after that series has been constructed, KARMA only "plays certain indexes" within that series depending on an entire slew of parameters set in several of the other GE parameter groups.

Note: You can also set a GE to update the note series on every note release event too, in addition to each attack event. This is done by enabling the Update on Release parameter in the Trigger group of the KARMA Performance. (The KARMA Performance groups are different from the GE groups.) On your workstation, this parameter is usually found on the KARMA2 Module page, on one of the Trigger tabs.

What is driving the note series?

Which is the next new and important concept you must become familiar with: The note series does not "drive itself". Instead, at least one other parameter group is driving which index KARMA is choosing to play from the note series at any given moment. In most cases, it is the Index group that drives the note series. (See the relationship between the word "Index" and the fact that KARMA chooses which notes in the series to play by looking at the index of the series rather than by looking at the pitch of a note in the series?) However, it is quite common to have other parameter groups influencing or even replacing the Index group as the driver for the indexes chosen from the note series at any given point. Learning to recognize which parameter group is actually driving the indexes chosen from the note series is probably the single hardest thing to learn about KARMA at first.

Recognizing parameters from the Note Series group on your workstation

In the set of 32 GE real-time parameters (GE RTP) exposed in your keyboard model, all parameters from the Note Series group start with Note Series:, as parameters 05 and 07 do in the following screenshot (from the Korg M3).


So when you want to change the actual pitches being played by KARMA, the first place to try looking is at all the parameters that start with Note Series. But this is one of the areas of KARMA that has a few exceptions to the rule, because there are other parameter groups that might affect the exact pitches played by KARMA, such as the INDEX group, the CC group, and the Repeat group.

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