Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Rediscovering Music Synthesis

When I was in my first year of college, on of the things I was fascinated with was the relatively new field of electronic music. I was going to Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa CA at the time.
I didn't have access to a synthesizer, but I built a couple of kits from PAIA electronics (Craig Anderton's company??). I couldn't afford a real modular synth, so I settled for the simplest single-voice thing they made. It had a rubber voltage-divider thing that you vould use to generate the control voltage for the oscillator by touching a probe to it along its length. I also built a top-octave divided keyboard with maybe a 1 1/2 octave keyboard (that you could shift over several octaves). I had a tape echo machine that I bought from one of my brother's friends, Rick Maddox. I think he's a sound engineer somewhere now.
I read all the books the OCC library had about electronics. I invented patches on paper, and had to imagine how they sounded. A patch is the routing a signal takes as it is created and modified, and combined with other signals.

Today, I am revisiting this lost interest. I have downloaded a copy of the Windows program, "Audio Mulch". It has everything I could have wanted back in the day, plus a lot of things that hadn't been invented back then, such as the digital effects that I'm just learning about: quantizers and nebulizers and so on.
I'm on a path of discovery. My immediate goal is to provide ambient sound for my Mad Scientist's laboratory for Halloween. But it's just fun relearning the technology, and discovering a lot of new things!

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