Reason: Using Block Mode in the Sequencer
The Block Mode feature in Reason lets you organize your music in blocks,
which can consist of anything — a few measures, a phrase, a verse, a
chorus. You can move and copy blocks within the Blocks track in the Sequencer,
and you can still have tracks that play independently of the blocks. The point
is to give you a higher-level way of quickly working with the arrangement of a
There are several different elements of Reason that come together to make blocks
- The BLOCKS button, circled in purple above (1), controls whether Block
Mode is available. It is on (blue) by default. If you turn this button off
after creating some blocks, your blocks will not play or be visible. (They
aren’t gone forever, though.)
- The Blocks track, circled in blue above (2), is where you line up blocks
of music in the Sequencer timeline.
- The Song/Block selector switch, circled in red above (3), lets you show
in the Sequencer editing area either the contents of a single block or the
entire song, which consists of a sequence of blocks and, optionally,
tracks that play independently of the block content.
The basic idea is to create several blocks — say, a verse and a chorus
— while in Block View, and then switch to Song View to
- If you already have some music in the sequence that you would like to
place in separate blocks, you may need to split long clips into smaller
ones. If you don’t remember how to do that, review
this page, where the text mentions the
- Select the clips you want to place into a block (using shift-click to
select multiple clips), then issue the Edit > Cut command).
- Switch to Block Mode using the button circled in red above.
- The Blocks track shows “Block 1” in large print. Double-click
this text to rename your block something descriptive, such as
- Set the Position Pointer to the beginning of the sequence, and paste your
- Add more music to the block if you wish, via recording, pasting more
clips, or using the familiar sequence-editing techniques.
- Drag the End locator (in the sequence time ruler) to indicate the
duration of the block.
- Notice that when you are in Block mode, there is a popup menu in the
Use this menu to switch between your blocks. You can edit only one block
at a time, but you can copy and paste clips between them.
Once you have some blocks, arrange them in Song View.
- Press the Song button in the upper left corner of the Sequencer.
- Using the pencil tool, draw some clips into the Blocks track.
- Each clip will have the name of the first block. Select a block clip, and
then click on its name to get a menu of other blocks.
You can see a faint outline of the clips and notes contained in the tracks
that comprise a block. But to edit this material, you have to go back to
As a quick way to edit the material in a block, you can double-click a
block clip to enter Block View for that block.
- The durations of your clips do not have to correspond exactly to the
durations of the blocks that you set in Block View. If a clip is shorter
than a block, then you’ll hear only part of the block. If the clip
is longer, then the block will repeat as necessary to fill the time of the
clip. Vertical bars appear in such a clip to show where the block repeats.
If you drag the left edge of a block clip, it will cut off the beginning
of the block.
- You can add material to the sequence displayed in Song View, and this
material plays along with the blocks. This is a great way to have a
melodic line or percussive elements that span the boundary between two
clips. It’s probably best to put this material into lanes that are
not present in the blocks.
To suppress temporarily the playback of blocks while you work on material
that is not in a block, click the orange ON button in the Blocks
Get creative with this feature! For example, you can alternate rapidly between
segments of different blocks just by resizing the block clips.