The synthesizer for A2 music tech students


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The synthesizer for A2 music tech students

  1. 1. The Synthesizer Analogue - Digital
  2. 2. How A Synthesizer Works First, here are a few basics. A sound is the result of changes in air pressure as energy travels from a sound's source to our ears. The human ear can process sounds in a frequency range from 20 to 20,000 hertz, and we perceive every sound to have a different pitch, timbre (or tonal quality) and loudness. Even if two instruments play the same musical note, the measurable characteristics of each sound -- like frequency (number of repetitions of the wave in one second), amplitude (volume, or the change in air pressure), wavelength (the distance between cycles of a waveform) and period (the time it takes for a waveform to repeat a full cycle) -- can vary dramatically. Sounds also contain harmonics, or layers of frequencies that combine to make a full, complex voice. Finally, there are the changes in volume that take place over the lifespan of a sound. This process, which encompasses the peak volume once the note is struck all the way through its inevitable dissolution, is described as attack, decay, sustain and release (ADSR).
  3. 3. Analogue Synthesis Methods • additive synthesis - combining tones, typically harmonics of varying amplitudes • subtractive synthesis - filtering of complex sounds to shape harmonic spectrum, typically starting with geometric waves. • sampling - using recorded sounds as sound sources subject to modification • granular synthesis - combining of several small sound segments into a new sound • physical modeling - mathematical equations of acoustic characteristics of sound
  4. 4. Digital Synthesis Methods The four important methods used in digital sound synthesis are as follows: • Loose Modelling „Loose modelling‟ consists of little or no real attempt to model sound. It is used to perform AM, FM, Walsh, and Wavetable synthesis. • Time-Based Modelling „Time-based modelling‟ models sound in the time domain. It is used is granular synthesis, wave set distortion, and waveform composition. • Spectral modelling „Spectral modelling‟ models sound in the frequency domain. It is used in additive synthesis, and re-synthesis (such as the Hartmann Neuron synthesizer). • Physical modelling „Physical modelling‟ uses mathematical models of acoustical properties of instruments/components. It is used to create extremely accurate reproductions of physical sounds, such as mass & spring simulations, and „Karplus Strong‟ synthesis – to create accurate sounding „plucked‟ sounds.
  5. 5. Analogue • Monophonic: These things have been around since the beginnings of synthesis technology – after all, they are the simplest to create bearing in mind that they need only to have the facilities to produce 1 voice, and that they use less complex (but many would argue better sounding) analogue components. Examples: MiniMoog and ARP Odyssey. • Polyphonic: A polyphonic version of the above, meaning that they are able to play more than one note without compromising the other voices. In the early days these were gargantuan beasts with a sound to match, but the Prophet 5 revolutionised analogue polyphonic synthesizers due to its use of a computer microprocessor, giving it the ability to digitally store patches. Examples: Prophet 5 and Oberheim OB-8.
  6. 6. Digital • A relatively short-lived group of synthesizers, mostly from around the 1980s featuring alternatives to subtractive synthesis. Yamaha pioneered this idea with their DX range of FM-based synthesizers, as well as contributions from Casio with their phase distortion technique, and Roland with their still very popular D-50 synth, which used a new type of synthesis called „Linear Algorithmic‟. These synths, although responsible for the downfall of analogue machines, helped give musicians the ability to create completely new and unique sounds never heard before. Examples: Yamaha DX-7 and Korg M1.
  7. 7. Hybrid • Unique machines with special characteristics, so it‟s hard to describe them all together. However, they are usually defined by combining analogue and digital technology together, or for introducing a new method of synthesis or major feature. Examples: PPG Wave and Ensoniq ESQ-1.
  8. 8. Modular • Analogue synthesizers which feature each of their individual components in separate units. These units (or „modules‟) are connected by cables using the CV/gate trigger interface, and have the advantage that they are extremely flexible in terms of programming ability, and allow the user to add or remove modules as much as they want. Unfortunately, this also makes them difficult to program and high addictive (and therefore large and expensive). Examples: Moog Modular and EMU Poly-fusion. • These are a long outdated combination of analogue monophonics with the patch points of a modular synth. This has the advantage of a fairly small synthesizer but which can be programmed with great complexity. Software technology makes this sort of synth architecture no longer necessary. Examples: ARP 2600 and Korg MS-10.
  9. 9. 1920 – The Theremin • Theremin is an instrument invented by Leo Theremin and is played by moving your hands near to the two aerials, this manipulate the pitch and volume. The beach boys used a similar instrument on the song „Good vibrations‟ (called a Tannerin). How to Play The Theremin ivA “Good Vibrations” – Beach Boys V-A
  10. 10. 1928 - Ondes Martenot • Ondes Martenot is a keyboard instrument that produces theremin tones by manipulating a ribbon underneath the keyboard. This instrument can be heard on radiohead‟s „How to Disappear Completely‟ How to play the Ondes Martenot UBjrUjwo “How To Disappear” – Radiohead kyXno_nw
  11. 11. 1954 - Hammond B-3 Organ • Hammond B-3 organ is a tone wheel drawbar organ that is played through a rotating Leslie speaker which was used extensively during the 1960s and onwards. Most popularly used by Deep Purple Hammond B-3 Organ with Jon Lord ?v=4mW9b_KRedQ ?v=jv7IzJ35RZA
  12. 12. 1965 – Rhodes Piano • Rhodes piano is a classic electric piano that sounds like a bell crossed with a vibraphone and is very similar to the Wurlitzer electric piano. The Rhode was used by Herbie Handcock on the song „Bitch Brew‟ The Rhodes Piano mYyDhumY Herbie Handcock – “Watermelon Man” QBAwxQTg
  13. 13. 1968 - Hohner Clavinet • Hohner clavinet is a classic funk sounding piano commonly used by Stevie Wonder most famously on the song „ Superstition‟ Hohner Clavinet L6qJteOpbcI Stevie Wonder – “Superstition” kTpt49GAIWM
  14. 14. 1969 - Minimoog • Minimoog is considered the first synth for musicians, a potable version of the moog modular synth that is synonymous with its monophonic recognisable lead synth sound. Wendy Carlos used this on the album „Switched-on Bach‟ The Minimoog with Dr. Bob Moog kOvY0 Wendy Carlos – “Switched on Bach” OPt1TU
  15. 15. 1977 - Sequential Circuits prophet-5 • Sequential Circuits prophet-5 is a polyphonic analogue synth that can play 5 notes simultaneously. The Prophet-5 was used by Paul McCartney on the song „Wonderful Christmas Time‟. Sequential Circuits prophet-5 s7lXIiU Paul McCartney – “Wonderful Christmas Time” UEXlHD84
  16. 16. 1981 - Roland Jupiter-8 (JP-8) • Roland Jupiter-8 (JP-8) A polyphonic synth capable of playing 8 notes simultaneously one of its main features includes a built in arpeggiator. Queen used the Jupiter on the song „Radio Ga Ga‟ Roland Jupiter – 8 xE5Q “Radio Ga Ga” Queen yvQ
  17. 17. 1982 - Roland TB-303 • Roland TB-303 commonly used in dance music during to 1980s Acid house. Used for creating bass lines and has a distinctive squelchy sound. The TB-303 was used on the song „Acid Trax‟ by Phuture Roland TB-303 SAl_TqTziE “Acid Trax” Phuture zVfyo
  18. 18. 1983 - Yamaha DX-7 • Yamaha DX-7 was the first commercially successful digital synth which used FM (frequency modulation). The DX-7 is capable of creating a wide range of timbres and its real potential comes when re-producing real sounds. Brian Eno used this instrument to create unique and interesting timbres Yamaha DX-7 Qe5A
  19. 19. 1988 - Korg M1 • Korg M1 is a sampling synth and was used extensively in pop music during the 1980s and 90s this was because of the high accuracy at creating realistic sounding instruments as well as the more unusual sounding timbres. Korg M1 dCsg
  20. 20. • BBC Synth Britainia •