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Sketch of Peter Elsea


Notes on Modular Synthesizers

Cover of Book. White with image of notes orbiting a treble clef in an atom-like structure.

Notes on Modular Synthesizers is an introduction to modular synthesizers. It originated as a syllabus for my electronic synthesis courses at The University of California, Santa Cruz. This began as a few mimeographed pages and grew over the years as the electroninc music studios changed and expanded. For this book, I have extracted and rewritten sections of general inerest and added information for 21st century systems like Eurorack.

The book is available by print on demand from Lulu.com. List price is $20.

Notes on Modular Synthesis is in three sections:

A short rundown of fundamentals of acoustics and electronics, mostly definitions of terms.

Descriptions of the modules found on synthesizers, their functions and common controls.

Instructions for creating common patches, beginning with the basic beep and continuing to automatic compositions like "Entropical Paradise".

  • Contents

  • The Tao of Signal
  • A short digression into the world of acoustics
  • Converting sound Into numbers
  • What does an electronic musician need to know about electronics?
  • What’s in a Synthesizer
  • The most likely modules
  • More modules
  • Control sources
  • Interfaces
  • What To Do With Your Synthesizer
  • Patches
  • Modulation
  • VCA tricks
  • Filter tricks
  • Percussion patches
  • Reverb
  • Performance patches
  • Autonomous patches
  • Driving autonomous patches
  • Master control
  • Two famous patches
  • Krell music
  • Entropical Paradise
  • Final word