Disquiet Junto Project 0564: Octave Lept

Project instructions are up.

I’ve been a bit obsessed about recording organ drones and then recording the stops on them as I’m reaching the limits of Garageband. Time to get onto Reaper next methinks and explore new ways of making sound pieces. But I could never tire of drone pieces, especially with organs and all the lovely overtones from the stops. Doing this Disquiet Octave Lept prompt immediately made me want to do a short homage to ‘Occam XXV’ by Éliane Radigue, which kind of blew my mind hearing that at the Union Chapel in London a few months ago. So here we are.

It’s a very simple piece starting on the lowest C and rising to the highest 7 octaves later, overlaying the movement in the stops by recording over each part. Using Angel Numbers by bringing each new note in after 11 bars, and slightly extending by one extra bar at the very end to finishing on the 111th bar at a standard tempo of 120. To get rid of the organ clicks when the notes were struck I transferred each part to Audacity to fade in and out each note. And there’s some panning throughout to spread the good around.

Love these Disquiet Junto prompts.



trying to jump around octaves in a natural sounding way
1st and last notes in the bar the same, so next bar is different octave
using computer keyboard in live: z and x switch octaves which is handy!

(couple of iris 2 instances, ambient reverb, supermassive / duplicate pitchshifted and paulstretched for a bit more overlap/syncopation)


I’m liking the saw with the echoey knocking sounds behind. Feels quite Bach baroque too, nice one @ray_cobley

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wasn’t really sure what to do with this one. for a start i wasn’t certain what an octave leap even was - logically i assumed that it was when you go from one note to the same note in a higher/lower octave, but sometimes music terms are misleading, and i couldn’t find anything reliable on google.

anyway, marc posted something on twitter giving examples and asking for suggestions. this made things clearer, and I thought rather than making an entirely new composition - which could be difficult as most of my work is made with samples rather than midi notes - why not adapt something that already exists? i took note of a few of the pieces that were mentioned, and set out to find midi files of them.

as an aside, i’m finding it increasingly difficult to find good quality midi files of classical/public-domain works, when it used to be very easy. not sure if the works i’m looking for are too obscure or what, but i had a somewhat hard time tracking things down for this project.

my first attempt at this was adapting a version of dvorak’s “song to the moon”; i downloaded an arrangement for piano and flute, and brought it into bitwig. my initial thought was to use instruments that are very much not the piano and flute, because there’s no end of traditional versions of classical pieces. i used various synths and double tracked each part (there was one flute part and two piano parts) with different instruments. i also added in some of the ghosthack ambient beds i’d used in a previous project.

long story short, i worked away at this for a while and really i just wasn’t satisfied with it, it sounded like a bad attempt at recreating snes rpg music, a knockoff final fantasy soundtrack. also, the midi i used was not very good, but it was the only one i could find.

i decided to try again with one of the other pieces that had been mentioned. this time i used scarlatti’s “sonata in f minor k. 466”. again the midi arrangement was weird, splitting it up into 12 tracks, some with only a handful of notes. however this gave me the opportunity to do something creative: apply a different instrument (or instrument setting) to each of those tracks. i settled on using karanyi’s lofi keys instrument for all the tracks, but used a different setting for each instance. again i included the ambient beds. i wasn’t too happy with how it sounded at its normal tempo, so i set it to play in more-or-less half time. this sounded good, and i added various effects and mastering plugins, though i tried to have a fairly light touch as i didn’t want the piece to become unrecognisable.

another aside: i tried using kontakt for the first time in this project, but could not get it to make any sound whatsoever, and i’ve no idea why. i need to find out what’s causing it as i’ve picked up quite a few kontakt instruments, and with bitwig fast becoming my main daw, it’d be very frustrating to not be able to use them there. i couldn’t find any answers on google so i might post a question in the subreddit. very frustrating.

overall i’m pretty happy with how this came out, even though it feels like i’ve not really gone out of my comfort zone here; the approach and method was largely the same as for project 0562. but i suppose if it ain’t broke, and all that. it’s also a bit long but i didn’t want to shorten it or increase the tempo as i feel like it works quite nicely as it is.

the title was from a name generator because i didn’t want to just name it after the scarlatti piece. the artwork, as usual, was throwing the title and various other terms into nightcafe studio.


Probably more inspired by the image than the octave leap - but the octave is there - forming the backbone of the underlying structure.


I quite often use intervals of an octave when I’m writing music, so I just set about writing a new track without thinking too hard about the brief. I actually started with the percussion that shows up later in the track.

The root on the opening piano chords steps down an octave before introducing the next chord in the progression.

A two-note synth part is just the minor 7 on two octaves (with a major 6 once for colour - still fits the Dorian mode but is pretty HELLO when it shows up imo).

A second synth part doubles the guitar harmonic sounds later on, coming in via an opening low-pass filter. That synth has its pitch modulated by a little step sequence, so it moves up one or two octaves. The rate at which that’s happening is being modulated too, so it’s not the same each time. That part then runs into a delay (Valhalla Delay) and the feedback is pitching down in octaves. I didn’t think the track suited the other way (more of the classic “shimmer” effect).

A quiet synth bass arrives later that is just sustained notes following the root of each chord, but an arpeggiator steps up and down an octave. The tempo of the arpeggiator is being modulated by an LFO, which is then quantised to 16ths. Makes it feel a bit more improvisational and less synth disco or Blur’s “Girls and Boys”.

Piano and guitar harmonics are freebies from Spitfire LABS series.


Sounds Serialist? It has a nice Webernian feel to it

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Incredible how some prompts inspire the most high-level elaborate thoughts that then lead nowhere, and other prompts just say “use an octave leap in your song, that’s it” and the track writes itself.

That’s what happened here. I started with my Rhubarb preset for Iridium but as I was layering other sounds, the song drifted away from SAW2 territory pretty quickly. The end result is four tracks:

  • the Rhubarb lead and pad with plenty of octave leaps and octave displacements
  • the bassline based on octave leaps
  • a quiet Moog arp with plenty of octave leaps
  • drums (no octave leaps here, sorry!)


I used a track on which I was already working on (mainly playing around with Abletons ‘Chiral’ synth, some Grain Scanner noises and Chromaphone plucks) and added automatic tools to randomly add or substract up to two octaves to all tracks. The probability was chosen so that the octave jumps should go unnoticed.


I love the mood of the piece. The octave twinkle on the piano was often used by Vangelis. Your tune goes into a different direction, though, and that’s great since I like how it evolves and I like its overall pacing. Using an LFO for arp tempo is a brilliant idea. Works very well!

The only thing I’d tweak would be to add reverb to the synth in line with the previous sounds so it feels more within the same space.


Yes, it is related to serialism in that I used 12-note chromatic scales.

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Bass lines often use the octave jump, so I thought that was an obvious one to include, but then also a melody that sometimes jumps, in varying places, up and down and one time not, when it could. Added as well a reverb that has an octave down pitched version of the in-bus mixed in for extra texture. Couldn’t resist briefly making the bass line jump a whole 12 steps down and back up at one point :slight_smile:


And the playlist is now rolling


“Octave Lept” made me visualize hundreds of people dancing and jumping into the sky. I used a similar description to create my image with DALL.E2. I was probably influenced by the image Marc posted for the project.

My initial thought was to try to go dawless and use arpeggio presets on a Korg Minilogue XD along with effect pedals, but after noodling around with arp effects in Abelton Live, I ended up with this mix. Wasn’t being too careful but this should have plenty of octave leaps going on.


I’ve been messing with filter banks and that heavily affected this track. This consists of Arturia’s MS-20, Spitfire LABS’ LA Atmos, Audio Damage’s Quanta 2, and the standard Ableton 909 drumkit. All four tracks are heavily filtered with modulated filter banks (Felt Smugi and Moog Moogerfooger MuRF) as well as some phasing and drive modulation. The octave leap appears every eight bars and a surprise two octave drop at the end.


Was listening to Roscoe Mitchell’s Nonaah as an example of non-melodic, textural use of octave leaps. Not trying to sound like Nonaah, but it made me want to use octave leaps as texture.

I improvised 3 groups of tracks (each with a few takes), and did some light editing + deleting: (a) blippoo box inspired vcv patches, (b)mostly dry flute, (c) flute through audio reactive effects. ( For (c), the effects are mostly Byome, with a comparator triggering two random modulation sources whenever it receives audio that crosses the threshold. The effects are mostly delay + reverb + sample rate reduction of the whole biome plugin.)


a very quick track in Logic with:
-mallet instrument with note repeater set to 1 repeat, an octave up
-mallet instrument with note repeater set to 1 repeat, an octave up
-bass instrument with note repeater set to 1 repeat, an octave up
-pitch kick drum with note repeater set to 1 repeat, an octave up
-drum machine using strokes to make the rhythm. No note repeater/octave setting used


Hey All.
Using octaves really reminds me of when I first started playing synth. I liked unison cause it gave a big sound and I liked how it clipped notes. I would play synth bass lines that went up and down octaves cause even to this day I have little music theory knowledge and using octave keeps it simple and kinda 80’s.
If I did my job well the melody at the end will make your mind hear the octave jump even though it does not exist in this reality. It exists in the reality of the imagination. Hope all are well.

Peace, Hugh