Triggering Launcher Clips

Just as the last chapter looked at playing the Arranger and its clips, we should now discuss triggering Launcher clips. But now that we have two sequencers in play, we must first discuss the relationship between the Arranger and Launcher. Understanding their alliance will allow you to get the most — and possibly most interesting results — out of Bitwig Studio.

How the Arranger and Launcher Work Together

When thinking about Bitwig Studio's two distinct sequencers, it helps to consider the following concepts:

  • The transport drives all timing functions, whether it is the playback of Launcher clips, the recording of Arranger clips, or vice versa.

  • The Arranger Timeline's Beat Ruler also has influence over the Clip Launcher Panel. Launcher clips may be played back whenever you choose, but the launch quantize feature described above is regularly used for the sake of coherence and musicality, aligning launched clips with arranged ones according to your wishes.

  • On each individual track, either the Launcher or Arranger will be active at any given time.

  • By default, each track starts with the Arranger Timeline active. The Launcher will take over for a track after a Launcher clip is either triggered or recorded, or the track's Stop Clips button is pressed. The Arranger will regain control only after the track's Switch Playback to Arranger button is pressed.

  • All tracks can be toggled in unison from the Arranger to the Launcher and back. The Launcher will take over all tracks when either the Global Stop Clips button is pressed or a scene is triggered. The Arranger will regain control of all tracks when the Global Switch Playback to Arranger button is pressed.

The takeaway is that you can act like Bitwig Studio has just one sequencer, by using only the Arranger Timeline (to create a completely composed song, for example) or only the Clip Launcher (to take elements you have made and freely improvise a structure). You could also keep most tracks playing what you programmed in the Arranger, and occasionally shift some tracks to the Launcher for the sake of improvisation.

Once the two sequencers make sense to you, there is no "right way" to use them. Only options.

Triggering Launcher Clips

To trigger a Launcher clip: click the play button in its top left corner.

If the transport was stopped, triggering a clip immediately activates the transport. (Otherwise, no clip could play.)

Once a clip is triggered, a black box appears around the play button to mark this as an active clip. A clip remains active until either a different clip on that track is triggered, the track's (or the Global) Stop All Clips button is triggered, or the track's (or the Global) Switch Playback to Arranger button is pressed. When the transport is activated, all active clips resume playing.

In the image above, you may also notice a vertical line going through the active clip. Each active clip has its own clip playhead that indicates the play position within the clip while the transport is active.

To trigger a scene: click the play button in its top left corner.

This will trigger all clips that exist within the scene and Stop All Clips for tracks that contain no clip for the scene.

[Note]Note

If the Record on scene launch setting is enabled, empty slots on record-enabled tracks will also begin recording (see Clip Launcher Layout).

To stop all clips on a track: click either the track's Stop All Clips button or a stop button within an empty slot.

This stops Arranger clips as well since the Launcher is given control of the track. Each Stop All Clips button will take effect at the default launch quantize interval.

To stop all clips: click the Global Stop All Clips button.

While this will stop all clips after the default launch quantize interval, the transport remains active.

To return control of a track to the Arranger: click the track's Switch Playback to Arranger button.

This will take effect immediately, regardless of the default launch quantize setting.

To return control of all tracks to the Arranger: click the Global Switch Playback to Arranger button.

This will take effect immediately, regardless of the default launch quantize setting.

Launching Time Signature Changes

Just as you can insert time signature changes in the Arranger Timeline (see Time Signature Changes), you can also trigger time signature changes from the Clip Launcher. This method of automation can be achieved by placing a Launcher clip with a set Signature parameter (see Signature Section) on the master track. Whenever a clip like this is triggered, the transport's time signature will be overridden.

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