Korg M3: Creating compositions out of arranged song parts (Cue List)

Note: this article also applies to the Korg M50.


  • You want to created separate sequences for a verse, a chorus, a bridge, etc. and then arrange these song sections into a single song.
  • You want something more freeform that doesn't rely on verses, choruses, bridges, etc. Instead, you just want create several different sequenced patterns and then arrange them together in different combinations to make different songs out of the same pool of patterns.

You might have experimented with the Cue List page of the M3's internal sequencer to try to achieve results like these, but sometimes you hear noticeable gaps between some song section changes (or pattern changes) and you're wondering how to get rid of the gaps.

Songs versus song parts

Let's get some terms straight before we start. What the M3's sequencer calls a song can be used to capture a complete song performance, or you can use each song to capture what we might think of as a "song part" or "song section" or even just a "pattern". For the purpose of this article, M3 songs that are used for these incomplete parts of a larger composition will be called song parts to prevent confusion with the unit of sequenced data in the M3 called a song.

The Cue List page in the SEQ mode enables you to string together the M3's songs in any order. So a cue list could be used as a kind of "set list" wherein each song in the cue list is a complete composition. But you can also use the cue list to create a single "song", wherein each song in the cue list is a song part.

Each song is effectively a full 16 tracks worth of multitimbral sequenced data, so you can create very rich song parts. However, there are some specific restrictions and techniques required to play back the song parts from the cue list in a way that creates a seamless composition without audible gaps in the playback.


  1. Ensure that all songs that you create for use in the cue list must have exactly the same effects setup. This is easiest if all songs were created from the same original combi, and if you make any other changes to the song setup in the sequencer, you should make the same changes for all song parts that you plan to use in the cue list.
  2. Whether or not you used a combi as a template to start a song, once you have created one part, you can copy the song to another location, and erase all the data in it (by selecting Erase Track from the Menu Command button on the Track Edit Page, and setting it to erase all tracks), leaving an empty song setup containing the same effects setup. Then you can proceed with the next part inside that song setup.
  3. Arrange your song parts in the cue list until you have the composition you want. You can play the Cue List to hear the arrangement.
  4. On the Cue List page, ensure that the Load FX checkbox is cleared for every song in the cue list. Using different effects and trying to change them between parts in the Cue List is a major cause of hesitation at the point the sections change.
  5. Once you have the final arrangement, from the Menu Command button, select Convert to Song. This "finalizes" your composition and turns the entire cue list contents into a single M3 song.
  6. Play back the finalized song and listen carefully for audible gaps at the song part changes. If you detect any such gaps, try the troubleshooting steps in the Tips section to correct the issue.


When the Convert to Song command combines the different sections into a single final song, it unfortunately inserts many CCs, Program Changes messages, and occasionally SysEx (System Exclusive messages) at the point where the section has changed - a chunk of events for each track. Since these all happen at the exact same moment (x 16 tracks), it can cause a hesitation or gap when the section changes. Many of these events are unneeded. For example, if the instrument (program) on the track has not changed between parts, there is no need to have a program change message on that track, changing it to the same program that is already there. Likewise, if the Volume (CC#07) has not changed, there is no need to have a CC#07 value on that track at the section change.

If you still hear audible gaps at the song part changes in your finalized song, review the song events and delete unneeded program changes, CC changes, or SysEx messages that might be slowing down the transition between song parts.

  1. Open the finalized song in the sequencer.
  2. Go to page P6:Track Edit.
  3. From the page menu, select Event Edit and at the resulting filter dialog, clear every checkbox except for Control Change, Program Change, and Exclusive. Then touch okay to review these events in the song. Experiment with removing the events that seem unnecessary, especially the program changes (make a backup copy of your song first!)
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