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Good thoughts and comments!
There isn't a not-X of N, though, so if you need stuff to drop out as well, you're stuck with another pattern or a mute or whatever. You can also get some out of manually muting a single drum kit lane -- drop out the toms for the fill? But if you do too many of these, you run out of fingers.
The X of N can totally work, and I should really use probability variation a bit more as well. I love the idea of "not-x of N", as I do find myself wishing I could do "play this in bars 1, 2, 3, but not 4". Doable with extra lanes within the pattern.
I feel like the "three bars of A, one bar of B" style drum programming is slightly old fashioned, and these days people aim to distribute more variety along the pattern, either with continuous variations like this or with polymeter, or modulation FX, or... But if you're making 909-style house music, of course, it's part of the style and you need another pattern for the fill. Them's the breaks.
Totally valid point. It's funny - I don't really do 909-style house/techno, but I decided to take a run at it as a learning exercise, and that's totally where this came up.
If your typical workflow is to launch / mute clips during playback AND you say you know how to handle white clips, then why not simply create set of drum clips which are drum fills in song view (by either cloning clips, dragging white clips from arranger, making patterns from scratch, etc) and then either mute / launch or shift-mute / shift-launch ?There are so many options. There is nothing special about a drum fill, it's just a variation of a clip.
Totally viable options, but I run into 2 issues: 1. Vertical space. I already get lost in my tracks trying to remember which row of colored LED's is the one with the conga's vs hats, etc. Color-shifting helps, but without single-color-per-row, I still find it easy to get lost once I start scrolling vertically. 2. If I'm "performing" clips in song mode, I'm often tweaking stuff as I go - volume, cutoff, etc. If you have your "fill" in a whole separate track, those settings don't carry over, so you can have an abrupt volume/filter/etc shift in your "fill" clip. I posted this question as I was looking for fills to help cover some of those clip transitions.
Oh - and if it's not clear, I'm not complaining. Just looking for tips. Thanks!
Weird thought as I was typing the previous response: can you expose/learn a parameter for a specific kit lane to song mode? (e.g. map volume of a snare lane to Cstm 1)? That'd totally do it. I don't think you can, but maybe I missed something sneaky.