Propellerhead Reason tutorials made by Hydlide

Published on Reason Experts

Sequencer Tips and Tricks

Published: 2016-10-12

Welcome back to another Reason Tutorial. In this tutorial I will put a lot of focus on the realm of Editing Sequencer Clips and how this would work with in Reason 7. While I might add that I am using Reason 5 in this particular case. However when it comes to midi editing, both Reason 5, Reason 6 sequencer and Reason 7 sequencer will work similar in the topic I will be discussing.

The sequencer window is divided in to multiple sub sections:
- Instruments
- Basic Editing tools
- Midi Data
- Transport Bar

A hidden gem in this case is the Tool Window. This window will be available from the Menu option: Window > Tool Window. Or by pressing F8 (function key F8).

The basic editing tools

The basic editing tools are handy for inputting new data sequences with using the pencil tool (W). With having the pencil tool selected, notes can be drawn. Notes can be deleted by using the Delete Button. By selecting the Mouse tool (Q), notes can be moved around from the sequencer.

Sequencer Editor Tools in Reason

In a way, this makes sense. However, sometimes there is a need for doing some quick manipulation on multiple notes really fast.

This is where the Tool window comes in.

The tool Window

The tool window houses a couple of features. On the first main tabs Instruments, Tools, Regroove Mixer and Sampler. It is the second tab which is of interest in this case. The sequencer tools from top to bottom are:

Reason tool window

- Quantize
- Transpose / Pitch
- Note Velocity
- Note Lenghts
- Legato Adjustments
- Scale Tempo
- Alter Notes
- Extract Notes

(I am skipping automation clean up in this case since this is related to automation sequences. Not midi sequences).


The Quantize option gets handy when using notes from midi sequences that have been entered live. Yet they feel out of sync (deliberate). While using the quantize method, all notes are being put in sync with the note length which is set. By default it is set to 1/16th note. Which means that all notes will snap to 1/16th notes. This might be useful when no 1/32 notes are being used.

If 1/32 notes are used, you can use that instead.

To create groove to the complete track you can always select the channels and apply groove there (Select Pattern A1 on the regroove mixer for instance, or browse a regroove patch).

I find this technique often useful to make the groove sound different when comparing this with the original. Just adding a minor shuffle of 55% will do the trick from time to time. It just depends on the source material I am working on.

Sequencer Reason Quantize 1/16 notes with Regroove mixer

Download Reason 5 Quantized Sequence

Pitch / Transpose

Changing the pitch can become handy when there is a need to copy an exact groove from for instance a Dr Rex drum track. You can for instance copy a complete sequence from a Dr Rex lane to a Subtractor lane. Which will sound like a stair case (upward going) sound. In a way this might sound stupid. However, with the Pitch control from the tool window, all notes can be moved to a specific note. The trick works as followed:

- select a dr rex loop.
- copy the pattern to the track

Sequencer Notes to Track
- create a subtractor
- move the notes from the Dr Rex to the subtractor

Download Reason 5 Copy from Rex

- select all the notes

Transpose All Notes in Reason
- Set randomize notes From at for instance E2
- Set randomize notes To at for instance E2
- Press Apply

In this case the subtractor will play a monotone version of the Dr Rex Loop that comes from the drum pattern in this case. Since these are both exactly the same, they can work pretty nicely together again.

Download Reason 5 Transposing Pitch

If monotone isn't your cup of team you want always alter the pitch of individual notes.

Sequencer Transpose Changes

Download Reason 5 Transposing Pitch 2

Muting notes

There is a mute tool in the Sequencer of Reason. However this only works well in the Song mode (since it mutes a complete segment from the song). While there is no real mute tool in the Sequencer of Reason (for muting individual notes). In the tool window there is an option to quickly set the velocity on selected notes.

The steps are:
- select the notes you want to mute

sequencer notes selected in reason
- set fixed to 1 (in the Note Velocity section of the Tool window)

Sequencer Velocity Settings
- press apply
- Make sure that Velocity to Amp is to maximum (most synthesizers in Reason have this setting).

sequencer notes mute

This is the outcome on the notes when the velocity has been applied.

Sequencer Velocity settings on instrument

This is the velocity to amp setting which will be needed to make this technique useful.

The outcome of this will be sounding as followed:

Download Reason 5 Muting sounds using Velocity

Auto Legato

sequencer legato adjustments in Reason

Sometimes it is handy to use the Auto Adjust Legato settings. This is handy for instance when recording a session, and some notes are not recorded proper. By using the Side by Side (Abut) the notes will chain with no overlap on the notes.

Sequencer before Legato

Download Reason 5 Before Legato

Sequencer After Legato

Download Reason 5 After Legato

To make a solid monophonic legato in seconds, select all notes, use overlap Apply. Done

Sequencer legato overlap

In this case we can use the legato mode using a single polyphonic synth with a minor bit of portamento to finish things off.

Download Reason 5 Legato Portamento

These are just a few minor tips and tricks regarding the Tool window and using this in conjunction with using the sequencer. I might add that it totally depends on your workflow if you would find these things useful or not. Sometimes things like a tool window might be just "in the way of things".

Happy sequencing!

Published on Reason Experts
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Published on Reason Experts
Published: 2016-10-12

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18 Feb 2018 


thanks so much buddy! This is like the gift that keeps on giving in that you gave me exactly what I needed and Im using Reason 10 :-).

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