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Rebel Technology Tonic

Rebel Technology Tonic  ·  Source: Rebel Technology

Rebel Technology have released an additive interval pitch sequencer called Tonic. It’s fully analogue, features one adjustable and five fixed intervals and has individual trigger inputs and a manual trigger button.

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Tonic

Take the CV output at the bottom and patch it into your favourite oscillator to get your starting note. The first interval is a drop in pitch, the next four go up. The top one is variable from a half an octave down to a full octave up using the knob. The default interval tuning gives you a semitone down and then whole-tone steps up +2, +4, +8, +16 giving you a range of 32 semitones not counting the top one.

Each interval has a trigger input and a button. You can play the intervals by pressing the buttons but it’s probably more interesting to send a trigger in from somewhere. In the demo video Rebel Technology use their Στοιχεῖα Euclidean Sequencer to trigger various intervals. There’s some other clever stuff going on in here according to the slightly uninspired video, but I’m not entirely sure that I’ve quite grasped it.

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I like the idea of triggering melodies from a gate sequencer, that seems quite interesting. But the video mentions using the bottom interval to flatten, and then using a clock divider to transpose. But it’s unclear where you get your initial note from or how they interact with each other. The video from Leafcutter John below is certainly more impressive but doesn’t help with the clarity side of things.

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I get slightly frustrated when interesting things get badly explained. There’s something cool in here and I’d really like to get to grips with it. See if you can work out – more information here. Otherwise Tonic is available now for £125.

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One response to “Sequence intervals with Tonic by Rebel Technology”

  1. Martin Klang says:

    Thanks for the write up! The module is quite simple, really, but opens up a lot of possibilities in a modular setup. It’s a new concept and very different from a step sequencer. Also the way of thinking about musical sequences becomes a little different when using Tonic, which might be causing some confusion.

    To try to answer your questions: The bottom interval is -1 semitone, so if you tune your oscillator to G it makes it a G flat. The point is that in a modular synth, there’s no absolute pitch: you can tune to anything you like. The intervals are therefore relative. The only thing different about the bottom interval is that it goes down a semitone, ie flattens the note.

    How do the notes interact? Think adding intervals. From your G, counting in semitones, you use the +2 interval to get to A. +4 makes B, +4 and -1 makes Bb, +4 and +8 (twelve semitones) makes G one octave up. But it’s a modular, so you plug it in and tweak it until it sounds good!

    Use Clock Dividers to Transpose: Assume you have patched up a sequence, which is to say that you have some triggers going into Tonic, making a musical phrase or melody. You can then take a slower moving signal, such as a clock divider at 1 or 2 bars, and plug it into an unused interval. The phrase will be transposed by the clock divider, producing a chord change effect.

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