Advanced ways to use step components

Alright so I’m now focusing on video tutorials, which are starting more simply and will increase in complexity. That frees up this space for slightly deeper dives that will later be covered in a video.

Jump Part 1: Adding Verse Structure to a Single Pattern with Jump 1-4

The more I use the OP-Z, the more I think you can get the sequencer to do nearly anything as long as you have the space for the step components required.

Jump 1, 2, 3, or 4 tells the sequencer to move to step 1, 5, 9, or 13, respectively, after the current step. When combined with Component Spark, you can make a sort of logic like “Go back to step 1 the first three times you reach this step” that you can use to split up your pattern into parts.

In my first post I described splitting a pattern into 4 parts that play in a row, but I don’t use that very often. I mostly use it for the following patterns which I’ll show below: AABB, AAAB, and ABAC.


Step 8: Jump 1, Component Spark 1
Step 16: Jump 3, Component Spark 1

So on the first pass (but not the second) the last step of each 8-step section returns the sequencer to the beginning. Thus, AABB. Pretty simple, right? The next is even easier:


Step 8: Jump 1, Component Spark 333

You get the idea, right? Now we’ll get a bit more complicated.


Step 4: Jump 3, Component Spark 2 (default value)
Step 8: Jump 1
Step 12: Jump 1 (or just set the step count to 12)

So the sequencer plays the first 8 steps in a row, returns to the beginning and plays the first four steps then plays steps 9-12 instead of 5-8 on the second pass. I think. It’s hard to articulate.

Now for an absurd example I don’t think I’ll ever need.

Since I started this thread I’ve been trying to figure out how to apply this to tracks with Pulse + Pulse Hold and yesterday I figured out one way to do it. Buckle up because this is what I mean about needing to use extra steps in some cases.


Steps 1-4; 9-16: Pulse 4, Pulse Hold 2
Step 4: Jump 1, Component Spark 333
Step 5: Pulse Hold 3, Jump 3, Component Spark 1
Step 6: Pulse Hold 2, Jump 4
Step 12: Jump 1

So Pulse and Pulse Hold cause the notes on steps 1-4, 9-12, and 13-16 to be held for two step counts twice in a row before moving on. The problem is that we need a Component Spark for the Jump component, which will affect Pulse and Pulse Hold.

My workaround is to extend the length of the last note/chord and have the following steps make up the remaining Pulse counts before jumping to the other sections. If you have no trigger on step 4 this will work totally fine, but if you do it might sound weird unless you mess with steps 5 and 6. Basically this approach is useful if you don’t have a note on the last step of the first section.

Note: most of this thread is me trying to solve “what if” scenarios, so I’m not needing this for a specific project but if you have ideas of other ways to approach this problem I’d love to hear them.

So there you have it: three common verse forms you can fit within a single pattern on the OP-Z.

Bonus: Jump 4 on tracks with step count 9-11

I recently figured out that, if your pattern’s step count is 11 or fewer, you can use Jump 4 to bring the sequencer to a specific spot that’s not 1, 5, or 9.

Jump 4 will try to go to step 13 but will wrap around if there’s no step 13. With step count 12, Jump 4 wraps the counter back to step 1 so there’s not really an application there.

But if the track’s step count is 11, Jump 4 brings you to step 2. If it’s 10 it brings you to step 3 and if it’s 9, step 4.

Seems neat but I haven’t thought of a real application for it. Just something I didn’t know was possible.


It seems a bit rude to promote my own videos but, at least for now, I’m still trying to get the word out so hopefully you’ll forgive me. Here’s the latest, which covers Parameter, Component, and Trigger Sparks.

Here’s a tip I’ve mentioned before and briefly show in the video but I’d like to add a bit more context:

Using Jump to skip counter resets (Parameter/Component/Trigger Spark 0)

Let’s say you want the Trigger count to be reset every fourth pass. Spark parameters don’t affect each other, so you can’t just apply a Component Spark 444 to your Trigger Spark 0. Here’s one workaround:

Step 15: Pulse (or Pulse Hold) 2; Jump 1; Component Spark 444
Step 16: Trigger Spark 0

Basically, this holds the second-to-last step for two counts before returning to step 1. But, because of the Component Spark, it only does this the first 3 times. On the fourth time the sequencer hits step 16, resetting the counter.

In an earlier post I cautioned against using this (“leapfrog”) to skip notes. Yes, you do lose a couple steps but since resetting a counter at the right time can make or break your track I think this is a fine workaround.


Your investigations and expertise is peerless! Thank you.

A seemingly simple situation that I’ve never worked out:

If I have a one bar drum track, how can I make a single step only trigger every 16 bars?

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Thanks for the videos! I find them easier to follow than the written documentation here. But it is nice to have something written down for reference.

I am using step components mostly for generative sequencing, that is, the occasional trigger spark and ramp up - ramp down. Well, your investigations and analyses show me that there are much more possibilities with step components to add variety to a track. I especially liked your demonstration on the drum track which I found quite inspiring. A clever layout of instruments combined with the step components allows for quite some interesting beats.

I do not know if this adds to the discussion, but somehow I had to think of Turing machines.

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It depends a bit on the rest of the track, but assuming the step before is open (or you’re ok with it having Pulse/Hold), I’d stack the above approach and a Trigger Spark to get step 14 to play every 16th pass:

Step 13: Pulse/Pulse Hold 2; Component Spark 444; Jump 5
Step 14: Trigger Spark 4

If you’re cool with putting a counter reset on another track, you can combine mutes and trigger sparks in a way I hadn’t thought of before your question. In this case I just wondered how I could mute pass 8 but not 16, but this is probably too complicated to figure out for most situations:

Step 14: Trigger Spark 8, Parameter Spark 3333 (parameter lock volume at 0)

It only plays the trigger every 8th pass, and it applies a mute to passes 2 and 3 of every 3 (i.e., passes 2 3 5 6 8 9 11 12 14 15 etc), so the 16th step is the first time the note sounds.

I’m so excited to hear someone’s using the OP-Z for generative sequencing! I think it would be great for that.

Have you messed with the Arp track much? It’s not my thing but it might be really interesting for someone looking for generative stuff, especially at Step Length 8-0:

  • You can sequence the Arp itself, making every step different.
  • If you set Arp Speed (green parameter on page 3) to 0, the Arp is disabled and it acts like the Lead track. With parameter locks you can switch between these on each step.
  • You can apply step components to any step a trigger covers, and they will affect the notes played by the Arp.
  • If you apply Jump 7 to each step (or certain steps) you can randomize the order
  • 8 notes per step. Bonus: if you set Arp Speed to 0 and apply Multiply 9, notes 5-8 overlap with 1-4–basically, four chords per step. And they respond to Ramp Up/Down.
  • At Step Length 0 (Gate), each step plays the trigger for up to 1 bar. You could use another track to “launch” different arpeggios, notes, and chords every time a step with Jump 0 is triggered by another track…

Anyway just a bunch of random thoughts there because it’s gonna be a while until I understand it well enough to make a video.


I love the spirit here, found some great tricks and sharing with everyone.
I’ll try out each point and I’m sure it’ll trigger inspiration to.
Thanks a lot for these posts


I also like the generative aspect of step components, I also like to make melodic patterns with only 2, 3 or 4 steps and add lots of variety and randomness with step components and the master track. You can get quite far with only 2 steps and a bunch of step components, maybe that could also be an idea for a video.


Not so much, I use it mostly for simple arpeggio accompaniment, such as octave jumps. But the arp track has certainly some unexplored potential regarding the use of step components.

Have you tried using step components on a track and modulating it with the master track? Got carried away a bit yesterday by creating a repeating sequence using Jump, Ramp Up/Down and modulating the result with the master track which had a different (step) length than the modulated track.

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Ooh, I’ll add this idea to the list. Thank you!

I’m trying to be a bit of an anti-YouTuber in that I’m trying to create a reference instead of a series, but I’m trying to pace myself so I’m scheduling one tutorial every Sunday now.

I’ll finish up the step component overview, go through what I’ll call The OP-Z Speed Guide (config settings, ergonomics, memorizing the parameter pages, sampling quickly, everything MIDI-related, etc.), then probably “shorthand” or using as few steps as possible like what you’re describing. Maybe basic sound design eventually.

Soon I’ll have enough tutorials recorded that I can start a second weekly series, which will consist of longer videos of me working on my music abilities. Current ideas:

  • Trying, with minimal prep beforehand, to create a verse/chorus cover of a song on the OP-Z
  • Working my way through a composition exercise book using the OP-Z and a MIDI keyboard
  • Working on unresolved component spark problems (which would include how I come up with tests)

Also you’ll still have to put up with weird stuff like jump rope and my music but those won’t be on a schedule.

No, I haven’t done much with the master track at all so thanks for sharing this approach! It could be interesting to also add Tonality 1/2 (great formatting idea) to some steps. 1 will ignore the Master track chord progression, and 2 will use the master track to transpose by X semitones (instead of keeping it in the detected key). I haven’t messed around with those in much depth yet.

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Maybe you could also touch on the Master track in this one? How it works with keys and modes, etc… also is there a way to randomize notes but keep them in a specific key or mode? This is one feature I‘m missing on the z.

The Master track really confuses me so I have a few tips but almost zero understanding of the transposition function. I’ll learn about it eventually, though.

I love a challenge. I can think of two ways to approach this. The first one is easier and the second one gives you a ton of control.

Randomize follows the master track transposition the same way that Ramp Up does. I only have a vague understanding because that video’s still a few weeks out, but IIRC with single notes it takes the note it’s playing and gradually adds notes from the detected chord progression using that note as the root. I think the order is:

  1. Root and octave
  2. Root, octave, and 5th
  3. Root, octave, 5th, and 3rd
  4. Root, octave, 5th, 3rd, and 7th maybe?
  5. Root, octave, 5th, 3rd, 7th, and 2nd maybe?

6-10 follow the same pattern as 1-5 but each value spans more octaves. You don’t have much control over it but it’s fairly easy to use. I just don’t know how to get the Master track to do what I want yet :stuck_out_tongue:

If you wanna make things more powerful but complicated you can use the Arp track. Example:

  1. Set the Arp settings:
    a. Speed 1
    b. Pattern 6 (RAND)
    c. Style 1
    d. Range 0
  2. Enter up to 8 notes on the step in question. You can bias the notes by adding a note more than once. Example: Db Eb Eb Eb Eb Gb Ab Bb, which is Eb minor pentatonic with a bias toward Eb.

With a short note length, this will randomly play one note from the eight on the step each time the sequencer passes it. You can have it play more random notes from the step with a longer note length.

I know it’s only one track but I had never thought of this before and I think it actually has a lot of potential!


I’ve got a bunch of videos planned but I’m too excited about one to wait until it comes out.

The Game-Changer: Using Jump 0 to Sequence Control Tracks

Note: this assumes you don’t use the Gate Step function on your op-z to control anything else

  • Jump 0 is “gate step,” which advances the sequencer on all tracks with Step Length 0.
  • Jump 0 responds to Component Spark, so we can control when the tracks at Step Length 0 do/don’t advance
  • This allows us to move the sequencer more slowly on tracks with Step Length 0

This has an awesome application to the control tracks (9-16). Here’s an example with explanations for each part:

  1. Set the Step Length to 0 and Step Count to 4 on the Master track (Track 12)
  2. Add the following notes to the following steps:
    a. Step 4: C1
    b. Step 1: E1
    c. Step 2: D1
    d. Step 3: A1
  3. Hold Shift and make sure the Lead and Chords track are yellow, indicting they’re following the Master track’s transposition. Press them if they’re not.

We’ve now made it so that the Master track only has 4 steps and will only advance through them when the sequencer hits a Jump 0 on another track. C1 is the first chord in this progression, so I put it on Step 4 because the sequencer starts at the last step when Step Length is 0.

  1. Set the Chords Step Length to 4
  2. Add a Jump 0 component to Step 16
  3. Enter a C major chord (C E G) to Step 1

So this means that, at the end of every 4th bar, the sequencer will advance on the Master track. You can use Component Spark to control how often the gate step is triggered.

Just to emphasize the changes, I’d add this too:

  1. Add a C1 to Step 1 (keeping Step Length at 1) on the Lead track.

Other control track applications

  • You can also use Drive/Chorus/Filter parameter locks on the Master track to give each section its own unique sound.
  • You can use this same technique to do things like mute the I/O Master Send every 4th bar or change an FX plug for a certain section of that pattern
  • I don’t often use the Performance track, but I’ll bet with some trickery you could use this technique to do things like automate a filter sweep for just one bar.
  • I’ve only used Photomatic once but I might have to give it another try because this approach adds a lot of much-needed control

I haven’t started using this regularly yet but it seems like a kind of big deal to me. There’s also some really huge applications for the audio tracks (because you can add step components) but that will be easier to explain in a video.


This is great stuff and followable but I’d really appreciate a YouTube explanation too!

Thank you! Maybe I should edit the original post because I’ve become a full-on YouTuber since I started this thread thanks to the support of folks here. Apologies for the barrage of links you’re about to get :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m currently working my way through all step component values (published Jump 0 today), but I’m also posting videos called Learning op-z that focuses on using the op-z more broadly.

I also have a queue of cover songs and cover tutorials. So far I’ve done “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish and “Nightcall” by Kavinsky

All op-z lessons: Learning op-z part 1: from powering on to chaining patterns - YouTube
Step component breakdowns: OP Z Step Components: Multiply (All Values) - YouTube


Thanks for all the tutorials. Your videos are amazing!

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Ok, so I’ve created my forum account to just say thank you for your content. It gave me great insights on how to sequence properly =) I’ve picked up my op z just 2 days ago, and your thread allowed me to completely change how I approach patterns.

I did not understand all your guides fully yet, but I’m getting there.

So far I can’t understand how I can skip a step every 2nd pass of every 4 passes (1-3-4)?
In my track I use some steps on every 1st pass of every 2 passes, every 2nd pass of every 2 passes, and on every 4th pass every 4 passes. There is a step I’d like to trigger on 1st, 3rd and 4th pass, but can’t understand how to achieve this.

Glad to hear this thread has been helpful!

Unfortunately I can’t find a simple way to do what you’re describing. I can think of a couple ways to do it but they’re all so complex you might be better off rearranging your pattern.

The simplest way I’ve thought of so far would still be pretty complex (on my phone sorry for poor formatting): use a Trigger Spark 2 on that step and put a Trigger Spark 0 later in the pattern that gets skipped the first of every 4 passes by placing Jump 5 + Pulse 2 + Component Spark 44 on the step before the Trigger Spark 0. This will reset the Trigger Spark’s counter every time except the first, so it should only mute that step on pass 2 of every 4.

Not sure if that makes any sense so I’m hoping to find an easier solution at some point.

I’ll keep playing with it for the next couple days and will let you know if I find something!


Thank you for the advise, unfortunately my understanding of spark 0 and jumps are still very limited. It’s a complex 4 bar kick drum loop that I was trying to create as a single pattern of size 16. I decided to rearrange it as a size 64 pattern for now.

Sweep is actually useful

If you’re using your OP-Z to control external gear and can sacrifice a track (i.e., mute the internal engine) you can smoothly sweep up to 3 outgoing MIDI CC values using the Sweep step component.

Some highlights:

  • Sweeps a parameter over the course of 16 or 32 steps
  • Works equally smoothly regardless of resolution
  • Sends external MIDI from that parameter
  • Adapts based on the parameter’s starting value. E.g., Filter Up/Down moves more slowly if it starts at 100 in order to reach 127 at 16/32 steps

Important details about the values

  • 1-4 and 6-9 all move to a maximum of +64 or -64 before returning to the starting value
  • 5 pans from 0 to 127 over the course of 16 bars
  • 10 pans from 127 to 0 over the course of 32 bars

I’m back to making more step component stuff, and now I’ve covered most of the basics so I’m starting to explore more of the generative side of things. Here’s a video where I make kick, snare, and hi-hat tracks that independently have a chance of changing their pattern every 4th bar:

The simplest example, which I think I did for the snare track in the video, uses the following combination:

  • Step 7: Jump 1, Pulse 2, Component Spark 444
  • Step 8 Jump 1, Component Spark 9
  • Step 15: Jump 3, Pulse 2, Component Spark 444
  • Step 16: Jump 3, Component Spark 9

So the first 3 passes it holds the second-to-last step of that section for two counts before returning to the beginning. Every 4th time it hits the last step, which will randomly repeat that section for 4 more bars or move to the next section.

I wanted the beat to remain somewhat cohesive, but you could make this extremely chaotic: what if you use Component Spark 555 instead on one track, and 444/333 on others? You could use Jump to make a certain step very rare, but make it reset the component spark counters for extra variation.

Not to mention combining with Jump 0 to gate step FX and the Master track, etc.

Lots more coming soon.

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