I believe this feature is called "ghost clips" in Cubase and "region aliases" in Logic. I have seen a few older threads on this topic in this forum, but there hasn't been any recent discussion on it.
Instead of having to copy & paste clips, I would love to be able to create "alias" clips that simply represent a reference to the original clip. Any changes to the original clip would automatically be reflected in its aliases.
Blocks were a good step in this direction, but don't quite enable the flow that I'm after, because they combine all instrument lanes. I might have some elements (such as drums, bassline, perhaps some pads) that appear in various places throughout the song, and for this, blocks are great. But I also have melodies and other elements that are alternating or weaving in and out of the song, and often have several variations. With blocks, it seems like my options are:
1. Create very tall blocks with multiple note lanes per track, for the different variations. Instead of drawing a single long block sequence, I would now need to draw multiple block-length sequences, so I can mute the appropriate note lanes for each block section, thus allowing me to toggle between the different variations.
2. Copy the block once for each variation. This makes each block simpler, but means that when I need to change one of the common elements (say a drum sequence), I need to do this in each of the blocks.
Neither approach feels ideal to me.
With alias clips, I might still use blocks for some tracks, but it seems like a much more general solution that would be useful for many scenarios, and enable maximum creativity with the least amount of redundancy.
Mind you, my way of thinking may be influenced by the fact that I'm a software engineer, and copy & paste, with its resulting maintenance issues, always feels tedious, error prone, and simply wrong...