Are Buchla Oscillators quantized?

Discussing some incredible modules that don't quite fit into the other forum categories.

Moderators: Joe., lisa, luketeaford, Kent

User avatar
01235813
Common Wiggler
Posts: 232
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2019 5:48 am

Q

Post by 01235813 » Tue Mar 24, 2020 3:23 am

AutomaticGainsay wrote:
Mon Mar 23, 2020 9:52 pm
The moment you ask how well Buchla oscillators are controlled by external sources, and especially the moment you ask how well Buchla oscillators align to traditional tunings and scales is the moment where you're kind of missing what Don's influence and intention was.
I really respect what you have done for the synth community. I enjoy your content, wit and ability to present and will continue to do so.

That said, I disagree with your statement. Quite frankly I don't care what Don's intention was. I'd like to believe that his intention was to make an open, flexible instrument that caters to individual needs whilst producing a one of a kind sound. I do believe his goal was to lead away from traditional music and help open new doors to musical perception. I have seen videos of Joel Davel perfectly tracking a 200e, look at the work of Richard Lainhart or Alessandro Cortini. Tell them that syncing gear wasn't Don's intention.

What about the easel command, it's all about syncing to external gear is it not?

User avatar
mutierend
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 543
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:21 pm
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Are Buchla Oscillators quantized?

Post by mutierend » Tue Mar 24, 2020 2:25 pm

The last thing I want to do is scare someone off from getting into Buchla. Yes, the 261e doesn't track pitch particularly great when using CV. Some say that the CV input was not intended for pitch specifically, but rather for CV control of the tuning of the oscillator. (Classic.)

There are ways to work around it, including: use the 225e with MIDI, scale the CV with the Studio.H CSR, quantize the CV with the NLM 2OC (if you're using a 250e). You can make things a little better with some adjustments. If you tune your 261e to C and send 0.0v from the 251e, you'll get a C. At 0.1, you'll get a C + cents. You can tune the incoming CV a bit with the CV in pot to help. I use a 251e as my sequencer and I have had "good enough" results with twiddling some knobs and setting some fine tune adjustments on the 251e. Working in Dm, for example, I might get D, E-, F+, G-, A, Bb+, C, D. Close enough. I've found that keys with a lot of sharps or flats are easier to tune. Eb minor is your friend. :)

(The 251e outputs quantized CV values, e.g., 0.0, 0.1, 0.2, .... Ditto for the 223e and 252e.)

Those tweaks and such are part of the fun/charm/experience of using a modular synth that doesn't specifically enforce standards. And when you want that "enforcement," the 225e is there for you. And if you absolutely, positively must have accurate pitch and refuse to use a 225e, well, that's when you gotta step back and think about whether you'll be happy for the money. That's a reasonable thing to do.

Pitch tracking woes aside, all of the other modules are really fun and quirky and interesting.

User avatar
ersatzplanet
Synthwerks Design
Posts: 6329
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:18 pm
Location: Seattle WA

Re: Are Buchla Oscillators quantized?

Post by ersatzplanet » Wed Mar 25, 2020 11:58 am

This discussion reminds me of ones I have had in the past about the EMS VCS3 and AKS. You can play tonal music on them, and lots have, but it is a struggle compared to other synthesizers. For me, and this is a personal opinion of course, I get tools that do the job I want to do easier/better than others do. I understand that finances play a big role in curtailing this, but whenever possible, get the best hardware for the jpb. The Buchla is a fantastic sound machine and can generate unique sounds that would be hard to do on other machines. So do other machines for the sounds they make. If tonal bass lines were the target, I would not get a Buchla myself. There are plenty of mundane machines out there that can do a great job of bass lines and lead lines. Buy one less Buchla module for you rig and you could probably buy a whole synth for that money.
-James

James Husted - Synthwerks, LLC - www.synthwerks.com - info@synthwerks.com - james@synthwerks.com
Synthwerks is a proud member of the Mostly Modular Trade Association (http://www.mostlymodular.com).
Always looking to trade for Doepfer P6 cases

User avatar
AutomaticGainsay
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:08 pm
Contact:

Re: Q

Post by AutomaticGainsay » Mon Mar 30, 2020 8:00 pm

01235813 wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 3:23 am
I really respect what you have done for the synth community. I enjoy your content, wit and ability to present and will continue to do so.

That said, I disagree with your statement. Quite frankly I don't care what Don's intention was. I'd like to believe that his intention was to make an open, flexible instrument that caters to individual needs whilst producing a one of a kind sound. I do believe his goal was to lead away from traditional music and help open new doors to musical perception. I have seen videos of Joel Davel perfectly tracking a 200e, look at the work of Richard Lainhart or Alessandro Cortini. Tell them that syncing gear wasn't Don's intention.

What about the easel command, it's all about syncing to external gear is it not?
Thank you, and I appreciate what you've said.

Ultimately, though... Don's intention for decades was to create electronic compositional tools that embraced the Electronic Music aesthetic... and by "Electronic Music," I do not mean pop music for dancing made entirely with synthesizers, I mean the compositional style that rose to popularity between 1900 and the late 1950s that was an attempt to embrace the timbral and compositional benefits that come from manipulating electrons to generate any timbre arranged in whatever form that the composer saw fit.

Early 20th Century composers were done with the outcome of several centuries of musical practice that we would now call the "Western Tradition." They sought to use the power afforded by the electron to create NEW timbres in NEW musical styles. Making sure that the 12-note Western scale was served was absolutely NOT part of that.

In the early 2000s when Don created a new context for his 200-series designs employing digital benefits, his goal WAS NOT AT ALL to create traditional tonal music. His goal was to realize the dream of early Electronic Music composers using the newest tools.

Let me be clear... I am a tonal musician... and as much as I appreciate traditional Electronic Music, I still embrace that ridiculous 19th Century compositional style, and I myself prefer the ability to use electronic tools to compose traditional music with. But that was NOT Don's goal. If you want to use Don's great tools in whatever way you want, that's totally cool. Luckily for people like me, you literally CAN. I have composed a lot of traditional music with Don's work. But, it's not easy. Because that is NOT what it was designed for. So, the onus is on the musician who is trying to adapt these Electronic Music tools in a Traditional Music way.

And, many have... including the incomparable Suzanne Ciani, Steve H., and even Alessandro. No one would argue that their work isn't a great application of this technology. But no one SHOULD argue that their application supersedes the design intentions of Don.

The ability for the Easel, and especially the modern 208c and Easel Command, to be adapted to modern music is the attempt of Buchla to adapt to modern implementation. And yes, all of them can be played quite tonally. But that is a modern adaptation, and should not dismiss Don's original intent.

So, ultimately... I say... yeah! Use Don's designs in any way that you see fit. They can be applied to such a wide range of musical and expressive applications! But those who suggest that Don's vision submit to modern popular synthesizer-based music... well, that I disagree with. Those who suggest that it's some kind of outrage that Don's grand tradition of aligning with the great work of Electronic composers should be bent to align with modern consumer desires... welllll, that I don't agree with.
"Now, don't misquote me and say I'm against keyboards. I've been misquoted on that one enough. A keyboard is a useful input structure if what you want is rapid simultaneous access to a large number of sounds of fixed pitch, but it's much less useful for controlling some other aspects of sound."
-DB

Post Reply

Return to “Buchla, EMS & Serge”