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Chords are not the easiest musical element to produce in the Eurorack and Modular Synth world, but a clock divider might do the trick. While we normally may employ clock dividers to sync different parts of our system together, when clocked at faster audio rates, many will divide the incoming audio wave in the same manner, producing octaves and fifths related to the input signal. We’re using the 4ms Rotating Clock Divider (which is a pretty easy kit to assemble…) but many dividers will operate this way.

Clock dividers generally look for a series of incoming gates or triggers, outputting fewer gates from the different outputs, for instance every second gate from the /2 output, producing a half time series of gates, or every 4th gate from the /4 output for a quarter of the tempo. By sending a square wave at an audio rate into a clock divider input, the same activity will occur. With the /2 output, this yields a note which sounds an octave lower compared to the input signal, outputting a square or pulse wave at half the rate. As we descend through the other division outputs from /2 to /8, each will output progressively lower perfect fifths or octaves.


Routing a few of these divisions through a mixer gives us stacked octaves and fifths, a useful and harmonious combination of relative frequencies. By switching on the Spread function on the RCD breakout module, or switching the placement of the hopper on the back of the RCD, the division amounts of some of the outputs will change, resulting in different musical intervals from output to output.

A few weeks ago in a previous video, we fixed a broken clock divider that our friend Manny (from Eurorack case company A Case Of Modular) had brought over during one of our course Office Hours. The Doepfer A-160 had a fried integrated circuit, which we replaced, restoring the module to working condition again.

How are you using your clock divider? Tell us about it in the comments!

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Eurorack Chords From A Clock Divider

2 thoughts on “Eurorack Chords From A Clock Divider

  • June 17, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    This is amazing . Can the qcd or bastl little nerd do the same thing? Which one would be the best tone wise? I

    • June 17, 2016 at 6:54 pm

      Tone wise, you are gonna get square waves, most likely. The Qcd should do this, the Little Nerd I’m not so sure, but I’d imagine so. 🙂


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