Learning Modular

Hello again, I am excited to share more of my learning modular experiences! In my first post I explored the idea of creating music with modular synths and came to the conclusion the Moog Mother-32 was the right starter module. Now I would like to share the two learning paths I choose, that enabled me to actually make music. The first path was understanding music concepts in relation to synthesis, before the Mother arrived. The second path was understanding how those concepts were applicable to the Mother.

For any unfamiliar terms please refer to my dynamic list of synth terms.

Before the Mother arrived, I used two great resources to learn music concepts. The first was Syntorial software, which included a generic synth interface. The lessons begin with just an oscillator with different waveforms options. As the lessons become more complicated additional modulators such as filters and envelopes were added. In addition to providing small lesson, they also provided patch challenges. I found the patch challenges super helpful because they allowed me to practice! I completed the free trial which was a handful of lessons. As a beginner, the handful of lessons were the right amount of information.

The second resource was The Tuesday Night Machines series on YouTube. The videos were great because they reinforced the acronyms and concepts learned with Syntorial. I really like that he started with the basics and then gradually introduced more complex topics. They were also professionally edited and the presenter was well rehearsed. The polished production made them easier to follow and understand.

After the Mother arrived, I focused on applying the synthesis music concepts to the Mother. The biggest aid was reading the user’s manual. The manual included a diagram and walk-through of the Mother’s signal path, key definitions, information about the patchbay, and how to use the sequencer. The two sections I mainly focused on reading were the signal path and key definitions. The signal path diagram helped me understand how the audio signal passes through the sound modifiers. After reading the manual I experimented with the Mother; adjusting knobs, flipping switches, etc. Then I re-read the manual for patching suggestions to get to a good starting point for a patch, continuing my sonic explorations.

Since purchasing the Mother, I have enjoyed many great hours making weird noises. I started with the normalized (pre-wired) portion of the Mother then slowly started patching to create even more interesting sounds. After I felt comfortable with the Mother I decided to explore purchasing another module. The process of purchasing a second module was a completely different experience from when I purchased the Mother. For example, I had to consider the power source and cases. Ultimately I had to decide what type of music I wanted to make and if I ever would perform live. In my next post I would like to share how I selected my second module, the Richter Oscillator 2 by Malekko.

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