The Basic Concepts of Synthesis

Demystifying the terminology commonly used in synthesizers.
When you first get into sound synthesis, it may seem like people are speaking an alien language, describing it in terms of frequency, amplitude, harmonics, waves, modes, poles, envelopes, modulators, and the such.
But behind those words are some fairly simple concepts: What pitch are you playing a sound at? How loud is it? How does that loudness change over the life of a note? How bright or dull does it sound? How can you change that brightness or dullness?
In response, Chris Meyer of Learning Modular created this free, easy-to-understand course that demonstrates – visually, and audibly – these fundamental concepts. The preview movie above shows examples of a few of the subjects covered in this course. Each video includes closed captions, as well as a downloadable transcript.
These movies were originally created to supplement the book Patch and Tweak: Exploring Modular Synthesis that Chris co-wrote with Kim Bjørn, and are designed for a beginner that is just getting into synthesis in general and modular synthesis in particular. This course also serves as a great “newbie” introduction to the subjects discussed in Chris’ other modular synthesis courses.

Testimonial:

“Chris!! These are all awesome! Must see for all modular devotees!” 
– Todd Barton

Course Curriculum

Reviews

4.8

Top Rated
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Jez Smith

Foundation fundamentals

Well presented and explained, making the unknown easier to approach.

3 weeks ago
Dinesh Veliath

Well explained and to the point

The visual representation on the oscilloscope is very helpful

1 month ago
David Ogea

Great introduction to synthesis

These videos are great to learn synthesis, and work really well with the Patch & Tweak book :)

5 months ago
Robert Schröder

Nice and basic.

This is a very nice and basic course which gives a small insight into synthesis. You will not turn into an expert after having watched this but it is a nice teaser for all other courses of LM.

6 months ago
Stephan Pot

Great course

The basics are explained very clearly. The oscilloscope is a visual added value.

11 months ago
Christian Heath

Thanks for helping me review the basics of Synthesis!!!

Really appreciate you taking the time to make a well-produced review of the basics. Just ordered two books from your website and can't wait to get them. Also will be taking more of your online courses in the future. Thanks for your hard work and as a student I really appreciate you making this portion available for free :)

12 months ago
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Instructor:

Chris Meyer

I fell in love with the sound and possibilities of electronic music at a young age. I took synthesis lessons as a teen in the 1970s, learning on a modular Steiner-Parker Synthasystem. A kit-based PAiA modular was my dorm room companion in college. Soon after I graduated, I got a job at Sequential Circuits, where I contributed to several instruments and created Vector Synthesis. I went on to work for Digidesign, Marion Systems (Tom Oberheim), and was the chief engineer at Roland R&D US.

I’ve always enjoyed sharing what I’ve learned. I taught synthesis at UCLA Extension, was the technical editor for Music Technology and Recording magazines, and wrote a column for Keyboard magazine. I continue today, co-writing Patch & Tweak – the new book on modular synthesis – with Kim Bjørn, and writing module reviews for Synth & Software. I also regularly play modular music live under the name Alias Zone, plus jam with others.

I also have a lot of experience creating online training. Before I started Learning Modular, I recorded nearly 50 online courses on creating graphics for television and film for lynda.com (now LinkedIn Learning). I've brought this experience of how to teach a difficult, technical subject in a patient, step-by-step manner to my modular synthesis courses.