Chase Bliss Thermae sequence subdivisions explained!

Matt Griffin

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
529
I think I've figured Thermae's subdivisions out! If you think of it as a 12-step sequencer, with each step in the sequence as a 16th note, it all makes sense. With all toggles to the left (quarter notes), you have all 12 steps (4x 16th notes per interval). Which gives you 3/4 time. Any time you flip a toggle to the right, you're subtracting steps from the total sequence. Here it is visualized. Sanity check, fellow Thermae users? (@hippieboy – what do you say?)


This means you get a variety of differently accented patterns in the times of:

3/4, 15/16, 5/8, 9/16, 2/4, 7/16, and 3/8.

Clearly the 3/4, 5/8, and 2/4 patterns are the most useable. And the others will tend to sound chaotic because their times will sound like something standard +/- a 16th note. Which is hard to feel as a rhythm.

Now all of this becomes more complicated as the pitch shifts will change the subdivions of repeats within those beats (triplets, for instance). And that math gets a bit beyond me. Any how, hopefully this helps explain why by default Thermae does a waltz (3/4), and if you flip both interval toggles you can get what feels like 5/4 (dotted eights) and 4/4 (eighths), but are really 5/8 and 2/4.

Anyhow, hope this helps some other Thermae users get their heads around this idea!

( @chaseblissaudio did I get it right?)
 
Last edited:

Matt Griffin

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
529
OK, so just road tested this and it is not this complex. The first toggle sets the base tempo of the tap. It doesn't alter the sequence steps like the other two. So there are actually only 9 combinations in 4(?) meters. I'll post a revised chart later once I fix it.
 

Matt Griffin

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
529
OK, it's much simpler than my first attempt. Realizing that the first note in the sequence is effectively fixed at a quarter note (unlike the other two toggles, the base delay subdivision toggle sets the tempo for the entire sequence, not just the first sequence subdivision), there are 4 time signatures you can get, with a few emphasis variations. Three of them are very rhythmically useful (3/4, 5/8, 2/4) and two of them will always feel stutter-y and random (15/16, 9/16). Hopefully this chart makes sense and helps you all get to the right sequence rhythms faster.

 

Howard Kenny

Member
Messages
1
This is beyond helpful, so thank you.

The thing I still can't get my head around is why the base delay is an octave lower once you've been through each interval. Anyone?
 

Matt Griffin

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
529
This is beyond helpful, so thank you.

The thing I still can't get my head around is why the base delay is an octave lower once you've been through each interval. Anyone?
It’s only an octave lower of its returning from an octave up. Remember that the pitch shifting is from the time change of the transition (double the pitch, double the time and repeats). And what goes up ... must come down. :)

My understanding is when you return to the original pitch and temp, you have to shift back down to the slower speed and lower pitch, which means initially it “over-shoots” to an octave down to “cancel out” the octave up.

Hope that makes sense?
 

vlammie

Member
Messages
1,272
I'm like the OP, I want to understand these things.
My aha-moment with thermae was when I accepted it's in 3/4 by default while most music is in 4/4. And then you can mess around from there.
Such a unique pedal, even as a regular delay with modulation it's one of the very best.
 

Matt Griffin

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
529
I'm like the OP, I want to understand these things.
My aha-moment with thermae was when I accepted it's in 3/4 by default while most music is in 4/4. And then you can mess around from there.
Such a unique pedal, even as a regular delay with modulation it's one of the very best.
flip both subdivisions switches to the right, slow down the tap tempo and baby ... you got yourself a stew.

also you’ll be in 4/4. :D
 

Erik N

Member
Messages
41
flip both subdivisions switches to the right, slow down the tap tempo and baby ... you got yourself a stew.

also you’ll be in 4/4. :D
flip both subdivisions switches to the right, slow down the tap tempo and baby ... you got yourself a stew.

also you’ll be in 4/4. :D
So, if I got this right: left switch to the left, middle to the right, right to the right?
 

CoastalRyan

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
356
I have a hard time finding 4/4 with this pedal. So definitely interested in what others have to say here.
 

Matt Griffin

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
529
So, if I got this right: left switch to the left, middle to the right, right to the right?
Yep! The left switch will just adjust overall tempo by doing subdivisions of the tempo you tapped. It really just changes the overall tap speed.

So as long as the two right switches are all the way to the right (eight notes) the overall feel will be 4/4 (really 2/4). Slowing down the tempo will get you into more of a 4/4 feel.

The key idea here is that because you’re using two eighth notes to play against the first quarter note (first note will always effectively be a quarter, despite what the first toggle implies), the two pitch shifts will take half the total time. So you’ll always get one slow, two fast. It’s three beats like the default 3/4, but they’ll be spaced in a 2/4 time, so it’ll tend to work with a 4/4 meter song in a more predictable way.
 

Erik N

Member
Messages
41
Yep! The left switch will just adjust overall tempo by doing subdivisions of the tempo you tapped. It really just changes the overall tap speed.

So as long as the two right switches are all the way to the right (eight notes) the overall feel will be 4/4 (really 2/4). Slowing down the tempo will get you into more of a 4/4 feel.

The key idea here is that because you’re using two eighth notes to play against the first quarter note (first note will always effectively be a quarter, despite what the first toggle implies), the two pitch shifts will take half the total time. So you’ll always get one slow, two fast. It’s three beats like the default 3/4, but they’ll be spaced in a 2/4 time, so it’ll tend to work with a 4/4 meter song in a more predictable way.
Thanks! The Thermae is fantastic.
 

Krakenslayer

Member
Messages
53
This is like my little R2D2 for my rig.

When I'm writing, I like the push and pull dynamics I experience with an open mindset to adjust to how it augments what I intentionally envision. I end up with more variations and writing directions as a result of tinkering with this pedal in the writing process.

I also have an avalanche run and they are both great pedals with distinct character and strengths to their offerings.

When playing with delays I am always thankful for how the drummer I cut my teeth with in the learning process used a metronome as we structured our riffs. Its funny seeing your graph for me. He (the drummer in my youth) hung a whiteboard in our band room and would draw the sequence of our riffs as we sometimes leaned into odd time signatures. Back then I used a Boss DD 20, I don't remember the exact name, but it had a visual digital box that revealed the BPM.

I've always played by feeling the groove and hearing how the interplay of layered riffs lace together in polyrhythms. This background helps me when I sit down with this pedal to compose. I certainly have to prepare my mind differently when activating it, if I'm going beyond normal delay and using the pitch shifting.

I love the expression pedal use with this thing and the delay tonality is so organic and vintage constructed in my opinion. It is an amazing pedal, though I wish the dip switches could be controlled via a bigger pedal format with knobs, and I think only two presets are silly, even though its enough to get going. In a mono amp setting, I am dialing the mix rather low with great results of texture. I look forward to the wet dry rig approach as I await the second amp that is being built.

I'm building my rig this year and plan to incorporate a midi controller. That will be helpful. Thanks for the graph. It brings greater understanding, since I am a visual learner by nature.
 

kenoflife

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,486
OK, it's much simpler than my first attempt. Realizing that the first note in the sequence is effectively fixed at a quarter note (unlike the other two toggles, the base delay subdivision toggle sets the tempo for the entire sequence, not just the first sequence subdivision), there are 4 time signatures you can get, with a few emphasis variations. Three of them are very rhythmically useful (3/4, 5/8, 2/4) and two of them will always feel stutter-y and random (15/16, 9/16). Hopefully this chart makes sense and helps you all get to the right sequence rhythms faster.


SO to stay in the realm of 'rhythmically useful' it looks like the rule is:

Don't choose only one dotted 8th note for the 2nd and 3rd switches
(No dotted 8th notes will work, or Both being dotted 8th note will work)

right?
 

Matt Griffin

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
529
SO to stay in the realm of 'rhythmically useful' it looks like the rule is:

Don't choose only one dotted 8th note for the 2nd and 3rd switches
(No dotted 8th notes will work, or Both being dotted 8th note will work)

right?
That is true, yes. Also, if you keep both switches at the same note, you can cycle through the three meters. From left to right: 3/4, 5/8, 2/4.
 

robomatic

Member
Messages
7
I was wondering, wouldn't the combination of 1/8 and 1/4 result in 3/8?
(second 2/4 line in the image)
 




Trending Topics

Top