KARMA 2: What is a Phase and why should I care?

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


There is a lot to know about the Phase group of a GE, which is covered in detail in the KARMA 2: Phase group overview article. For now, however, there are some useful things to know about Phases that will help you understand how the "Note Choice" component of a GE works:

  • Every GE has two different phases it can cycle through, in any order, and you don't have to use Phase 2 unless you want to. One way to use Phases musically would be to repeat Phase 1 three times and then play Phase 2 one time, with Phase 2 playing a busier pattern that creates a small "fill" every fourth measure. Or you could just alternate Phase 1 and Phase 2 one time each in an infinite loop to create a typical Samba-style groove, etc. Or you could just loop Phase 1 indefinitely by itself if you prefer for a more constant "feel" to what the GE is playing.
  • Phase 1 and Phase 2 are simply two different "snapshots" of the parameters in many of the GE groups, So each phase can have a radically different "feel" if desired. You can tell which GE groups can specify settings for two different phases by looking for the Phase 1 and Phase 2 buttons on the right side of the pattern grid in the group's page.
  • You can specify a Phase Pattern for the Phase group that is anywhere from 1 to 16 steps long. At each step of the Phase Pattern, you specify whether Phase 1 or Phase 2 should be used.
  • By default, the Phase Pattern always restarts at Step 1 every single time you trigger the GE. The specific type of event that will trigger the GE is defined in Note Trigger parameter of each KARMA module. In the KARMA Software, this parameter is found in the Trigger group of the Performance Editor. (A KARMA Performance is not the same thing as a GE — a Performance is essentially the "wrapper" for one or more GEs that define a bunch of parameters about how the GE(s) will work in a specific combi or program). You can set the trigger condition to:
    • Trigger the GE (restart it at the first step of the Phase Pattern) every time you play a new note or chord.
    • Trigger the GE when you play a note or chord but ignore subsequent notes/chords as long as you're still holding any keys down. Only when you release all keys and then play some note/chord again will you (re)trigger the GE.
    • Trigger the GE when you play a note or chord but from then on nothing you play will retrigger the GE (this is useful for drum grooves and arranger-type settings.)
    • Trigger the GE by using a feature called Dynamic MIDI, which for example could cause the GE to trigger and retrigger whenever you push the the Joystick controller up.
    • Regardless of how you trigger or retrigger the GE, the important thing to remember is that when you (re)trigger the GE, it always immediately restarts from Step 1 of the Phase Pattern.
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