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The Drum Track is a simple single-track arrangement tool for Grooves in the Palette.
This feature is particularly useful if you use the standalone version of BFD3 as a live drum accompaniment tool – you can put together a whole song's drum arrangement with as many changes as you like, manipulating each part in the Editor.
The state of the Drum Track is saved with Palettes and BFD3 Presets, making it easy to quickly load up a whole song's worth of drums in new projects.
Another useful feature of the Drum Track is the built-in offline export functions allowing you to export the entire track as a multi-channel bounce faster than real time.
Adding Grooves to the Drum Track
Adding Grooves to the Palette is as simple as dragging them to the desired position either from the Palette or directly from the Groove Browser. When dragging Grooves from the Browser, they are added not only to the Drum Track but also to the Palette. Grooves in the Drum Track are called Parts. It is also possible to right-click and Copy a Groove in the Palette, right-click in the desired position in the Drum Track and Paste the Groove.
If the Auto-play mode is not yet set to Track, it is set automatically when a Part is added.
Once a Groove has been dropped onto the Drum Track, it is referred to as a Part. It is important to remember several facts about Parts in the Drum Track:
•Drum Track parts reference Palette Groove slots
Parts on the Track are actually instructions to play a Groove from the current palette.
If you attempt to clear a Palette Groove which is used in a Drum Track Part, the Part is also cleared from the Drum Track. You are prompted for confirmation before proceeding.
•Default and Slot Groove Actions are ignored
Parts on the Drum Track do not follow the Default and Slot Groove Actions of their original Grooves. Any structuring of Parts over time must be explicitly created in the track itself.
•Only one Part can be played on the Drum Track at any one time
The Drum Track has a single 'layer' – it does not permit any type of layering of multiple Parts on top of each other. Only one Part can be playing on the Drum Track at once.
Drum Track synchronization
Playback follows the host tempo and time signature if you are running BFD as a plugin within a host, and synchronizes to its the host playback position when the host transport is running.
If you are using the standalone version of BFD3, or if the host transport is stopped, BFD3's internal transport can be used.
It is not possible to create tempo or time signature changes in the BFD3 Drum Track. If you need such functionality, you must use a host that is capable of this.
The Drum Track can, however, follow host tempo changes. It also tracks host time signature changes, but does not represent them graphically.
If you use tempo and time signature changes, it is recommended that you sequence BFD3's sounds entirely from a suitable DAW.
Drum Track interface
Track ruler and Track lane
The Track ruler represents the Drum Track timeline in bars and beats. Grooves are added as Parts into the Track lane using drag & drop from the Palette or the Groove Browser. Only one Part can play on the Track at any one time.
The Position marker indicates the current playback position when the Drum Track is playing.
Double-click in the Track ruler (outside any loop indicator) to set the blue position marker – if the Drum Track is currently playing, the playback position immediately moves to this new position. This also results in disconnecting host sync when playing in sync with the host/DAW while running BFD3 as a plugin.
The Insert marker indicates the insertion point when adding a part to the Drum Track and when moving or copying parts within it. It also specifies the point at which part split operations occur.
To change the position of the Insert marker, click the desired position in the Track lane.
To set the Start marker, ALT-click at the desired point in the Track ruler.
If the Position marker has passed the Start marker, clicking the Return to start button causes the playback position to return to the position specified by the Start marker.
If the Position marker has not yet reached the Start marker, clicking the Return to start button causes the the playback position to return to the start of the Drum Track.
The Return to start button can be used during playback - the playback position shifts immediately to the Start marker point with playback continuing. If this is performed while running BFD3 as a plugin in a host/DAW, the same behaviour occurs but synchronization with the host is disconnected.
Loop start and end markers (Looped playback only)
When the Loop button is enabled on the BFD3 Transport, the Loop start and Loop end marker appear on the Drum Track ruler. When the position marker reaches the Loop end marker, playback loops back to the position specified by the Loop start marker.
Click and drag the Loop start and Loop end markers by clicking and dragging them left/right along the Track ruler.
Both the loop start and end markers can be moved simultaneously by click-dragging the red area in the ruler between the markers.
Zoom controls and scrollbar
The Zoom in/out buttons at the bottom-right of the Drum Track display control the horizontal zoom level of the Drum Track. If the zoom level results in part of the Drum Track not being visible, use the Scrollbar to change the visible area.
The right or left edge of the Scrollbar can also be dragged left/right to change the zoom level. An overview representation of the Drum Track's Part arrangement is shown within the Scrollbar.
It is also possible to use your mousewheel to change the zoom level - hold down ALT while scrolling.
Editor controls relating to the Drum Track
The following buttons are located above the Groove Editor grid and also affect aspects of the Groove Editor's behaviour.
With the Focus button activated, the Editor shows the Groove that is currently playing in the Drum Track. With the button deactivated, the Editor always shows the selected Groove in the Palette.
When zoomed into the Drum Track so that only part of it is visible, activating the Follow button causes the display to scroll, following the playback position indicator.
Working with the Drum Track
Adding Parts to the Track
Adding a part between 2 other parts
Adding a part over another
This behaviour also applies when moving or copying Parts within the Drum Track (see below).
Click on a Part to select it. Several adjacent Parts can be selected by clicking on the song background and drawing a selection box over the desired Parts.
Any currently selected Parts are highlighted.
You can also multiple-select parts in the following ways:
• CTRL-click on a Part (Windows)
Adds the Part to the current selection. If the Part is already selected, this process de-selects it.
• SHIFT-click on a Part
Creates a contiguous selection between two Parts.
Moving and copying Parts
Parts can also be dropped between or over existing Parts in the same way as the operations described above to add Parts.
Additionally, it is also possible to use the Part context menu's Cut/Copy/Paste functions (see below).
Changing the size of Parts
It is possible to change the length of a Part by clicking and dragging its left and right edges. Any truncation is reflected in the Groove Editor display - any truncated areas are greyed out on the Editor grid.
Changing the size of Parts
Part context menu
Right-clicking on the Drum Track displays a menu with several additional functions for manipulating Parts. The functions available depend on whether an empty area of the track or a selection of Parts is under the cursor when invoking the menu.
The second of the resulting Parts shows a truncation indicator at its lower-left to show that its start point has been moved later than the actual start of Groove.
Paste at marker/before selection/after selection
The Paste functions insert Parts stored in the clipboard as a result of using the Cut Selected Parts and Copy Selected Parts functions.
The Paste at marker function can be used when right-clicking on an empty section of the Drum Track. When the function is used, the Parts stored in the clipboard are inserted sequentially from the Insert marker in their original order. Their relative positions when they were originally Cut or Copied are not retained. If any existing Parts are encountered before the end of the paste, they are shifted to the right as needed.
When right-clicking on an existing Part, the Paste before selection and Paste after selection functions are available - these functions insert the clipboard contents before or after the Part. Again, any existing Parts are shifted to the right as required.
Grooves can also be copied to the clipboard from the Palette's Slot context menu before insertion onto the Drum Track using the above Paste functions.
Repeat selected parts
When one or more Grooves are selected, performing this operation results in inserting copies of the selected Parts immediately after the selection.
If there is an insufficient gap to accomodate the copied Parts between the last selected Part and any subsequent Parts, all Parts after the selection are moved back by the length of the Groove selection.
Merge to New Part
The Merge to New Part function is available only when multiple contiguous Parts are selected. When used, it combines all selected Parts into a new single Part.
Create variation of Parts
This function creates duplicates of Grooves in the Palette based on the currently selected Drum Track Parts, and changes the selected Parts to reference the duplicated Grooves.
The duplicated Grooves are created sequentially in the next available Palette slots higher than the original Groove.
If multiple selected Parts reference the same original Groove, only 1 duplicate Groove is created and all relevant parts are changed to reference this Groove.
This functionality is intended to make the creation of variations easier by avoiding the need to delete Parts and drag new Grooves back into the Drum Track to replace them.
After performing this operation, simply edit the duplicated Grooves as desired to create the variations you need.
Clear All Parts
The Clear All Parts function clears the current contents of the Drum Track. The Grooves in the Palette remain unchanged. You are prompted for confirmation before proceeding.
Saving and loading Drum Track contents
The contents of the Drum Track cannot be saved in isolation since they are dependent on Grooves in the Palette. Therefore, the Drum track can only be saved and loaded along with the Palette. It is also possible to export the contents of the Drum Track as MIDI or audio.
See the Saving and Exporting Grooves section for more details of these functions.