In our first Simple Synthesis Addendum we learned how to connect a VCO to a VCA and control their ‘frequency’ and ‘gain’ AudioParams using a MIDI controller via the Web MIDI API. Good stuff! We now have a simple synth we can play. In this post we’ll learn how to shape our notes by building a Envelope Generator with configurable attack, decay, sustain and release using the Web Audio API’s scheduling methods. We’ll also give our Envelope Generator a ‘Mode’ setting, which will give us the ability to create some really long envelopes to play with.
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Julian Velard is a pianist, singer-songwriter and native New Yorker. We asked him for a list of 10 of his favorite albums and he responded with this excellent list of clever, fun singer-songwriters and mellow 70s productions. Read more »
Dan Nakamura aka Dan the Automator is a Hip-Hop producer known for his work in Dr. Octagon, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Gorillaz, Deltron 3030 and Got a Girl. We asked Dan to pick 10 albums and he responded with this list of 10 LPs he loves that have influenced him in various ways. Read more »
Emmett Corman has a great introductory series on the basics of synthesis (using modular synths), called Simple Synthesis. I thought it would be of value to those without access to the hardware to be able to explore and interact with the concepts that Emmett covers directly in the browser, using the Web MIDI and Web Audio APIs.
In this complementary series, I’ll cover each synthesis topic and show you how to build various synth modules right in your browser. Play, edit, and combine the code to make your own web-based modular synth!
It’s highly recommended that you read my series Making Music in the Browser as well as the corresponding Simple Synthesis post before these complementary posts so that you can more easily dive in.
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Sample and Hold modules (S&H) are sometimes overlooked, but they can be very versatile devices. Continue reading to find out how a module with only two inputs, one output and no knobs can drastically expand your modulation capabilities. Read more »
Casey Foubert is a multi-instrumentalist and engineer currently recording and touring with Sufjan Stevens. We caught up with Casey to talk a bit about the recording and rehearsal process of Sufjan’s Carrie and Lowell and what he’s been listening to lately. Read more »
In the last article we examined building some objects in order to house custom functionality, and variables for the Transport in Bitwig. In this article we will start building another object that deals with automatic parameter mapping and LED feedback for device parameters in bitwig. You can check out all the scripts at the Github repository. Read more »
Steve Lawson is, among many other things, a bassist and blogger based in the UK. I recently read a piece he wrote called The Future’s Bright, The Future’s Tiny – Why Small Is The New Big (which I highly recommend checking out) and had a couple of questions for him about navigating the modern musical world and balancing economic and creative sustainability. Steve was gracious enough to oblige me with an interview wherein we touched on the topics of forming musical relationships, the “conversational economy”, and Bandcamp’s new subscription service for artists. Read more »
When an LFO is routed to modulate an oscillator’s pitch, the result is known as vibrato. Speed that LFO up to audio rate and you’ve got what’s called Frequency Modulation Synthesis, or FM for short. Although used in digital synths like the Yamaha DX7 since the 1980’s, FM synthesis has been a part of modular technique ever since the creation of VCOs. Read more »
Eddie Ojeda is the lead guitarist in arguably the hardest working, hardest rocking band of all time: Twisted Sister. 40 years at the mast of an outfit like that imbues one with a particular brand of wisdom and panache, and Eddie was gracious enough to answer some questions about the band, his rig, his mobster sobriquet and his very own brand of cherry habanero hot pepper sauce. Yeah! Read more »
Simply put, the Web Audio API is awesome and powerful! It makes it possible to synthesize, manipulate, spatialize, and visualize any sound, limited only by your imagination and processing power. The ubiquity of the web browser allows for an unprecedented environment to compose, instantly share your music, and collaborate with the world. The Web Audio API also gives you a unique advantage over any other music making tool, the ability to connect and control your sound with any API on the web (SoundCloud, NASA, Twitter) or on your laptop/smartphone (accelerometer[motion/tilt], geolocation, vibration), you can connect to them all.
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In 1964, in the garden shed of a house in Putney, Peter Zinovieff- a mathematician, engineer and inventor- installed the first computer housed in a private residence and changed the history of electronic music forever. Over the years, composers, musicians and bands ranging from Harrison Birtwistle and Karlheinz Stockhausen to Paul McCartney and David Bowie to Pink Floyd and Kraftwerk would all make the trip to visit this strange and exciting experimental studio. The Electronic Calendar: The EMS Tapes is a retrospective on the work done in early electronic and computer music at EMS (Electronic Music Studios) from 1965 until its dissolution in 1979. The recordings are presented as a deluxe two CD set with extensive liner notes, exclusive photos and Zinovieff’s own diary entries compiled by Sonic Boom a.k.a. Pete Kember (of Spacemen 3, Spectrum, EAR, et al). We caught up with Peter Zinovieff and Sonic Boom, who were kind enough to field some of our questions about the release of the retrospective, the history of the studio, and visions for the future of electronic music. Read more »
Amplitude modulation synthesis is a counterintuitive method of creating harmonic content. How can changing amplitude (a.k.a. volume) create sound? Continue reading to learn about amplitude modulation in the modular domain. Read more »