Sunday 12 April 2020

Roland Tr 909 - Drum Mapping

The Roland TR 909 hails from 1984 and is one of the earliest drums with MIDI.
However, there is very sparce information as to its level of MIDI implementation.

The rear of the machine has one midi out & two midi in terminals.

Initially, I thought only midi clocking was possible,
however after  purchasing a Pioneer Squid I attempted to map the two machines properly.
(Thanks to Mitch for his advice on this).

Though I love the 909's sequencer, and must admit, it is one of the strengths of this machine, the Pioneer Squid has a quite inspiring system for groove & melody creation. It would be cool to combine the two.
So the aim is  to trigger the individual sounds of the old 909 via midi from the Squid.

Looking at the 909's manual doesn't show much detail on the 909s note on/off implementation.
However, this section gives us a clue.
Seems that the default input midi channel  is 10, but this can be changed to any of the 16 channels.
Also, note numbers start at 35, and end at 51. (that is, B1 to D#3)

The service Manual, throws a little more light on the subject.

 Below, is the GM standard Drum Map
The Roland, Tr 909 follows this pretty closely.

The 909's drum map uses just one (user selectable) mid channel & the
individual voices are mapped to17 notes.  They are:

35 - B1 - Bass Drum
36 - C2 - Bass Drum 2
37-  C#2  - Rim Shot
38 - D2 - Snare Drum
39 - D#2 - Hand Clap
40 - E2 - Snare Drum
41 - F2 - Low Tom
42 - F#2 - Closed High Hat
43 - G2 - Low Tom
44 - G#2 - Closed High Hat
45 - A2 - Mid Tom
46 - A#2 - Open High Hat
47 - B2 - Mid Tom
48 - C3 - High Tom
49 - C#3 - Crash Cymbal
50 - D3 - High Tom
51 - D#3 - Ride Cymbal

This will only work when the drum is stopped, and in Track Play Mode.
The Tempo Mode should be set to MIDI.
You should also select a blank track or the patterns that are programmed in that track
will be forced to run whenever a START command is received from MIDI IN.

Use the following procedure to set the MIDI receive channel:
a) Start her up while pressing the shuffle key.
b) When the drum has powered on press the shuffle again whilst pressing the step number (1-16) corresponding to MIDI channel of course.

Note many modern Drum machines use different form of Midi mapping.
For example. the Pioneer SP 16 & Korg Volcas map each voice to a separate midi channel.

+ TR 909 Drum
        + Roland TR 909 Programming Tutorial - getting started
        + Roland TR 909 - How to Program

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