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Class notes
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next [all]
Author Class notes
After getting to 100 posts I added a mention of my own text to the thread on books---

In addition, I have lecture notes and handouts from 33 year of teaching electronic music at UCSC. Some of these have been in internet circulation as a sort of quickstart guide to synthesizers. I was tempted to just let that go, but since the notes were thrown together class by class with little editing or proofreading, they aren't my best work. So I thought I'd fix them and wound up with a 70 page document. I am considering how to distribute it:

I could just post a PDF and set it free, but in the past I have discovered my notes on other topics incorporated verbatim in otherwise terrible booklets for sale on the net. If I publish through Amazon, I can keep some control and maybe finance another module. I'd price it about $6. For a free taste of how I write, see the attachment.

That brings up the question of what format, print or Kindle. Print has the advantage of being on paper, easy to manage while wiggling. Kindle is a lot more work and really doesn't format as well as print (there are lots of graphics), but I could be convinced go that route. I opened this thread so wigglers can express their opinion. What format do you prefer?

[Edit] This the preface- I know it's in a weird typeface, that is part of the joke. There is an example of the text proper (In Cambria) in latter post.
PDF is fine I think, I’d prefer it over kindle if there’s images as well. Would suggest you do your readers a favour by using a font that maximises readability.
you SHOULD do this. No shame in monetizing your production over decades, especially when someone else is taking advantage.

PDF is by far the most accessible and has the benefit for the reader to be turned to hard copy, in part or whole as needed. It's also compact - memory wise.

I also agree with phats about the font. Easy on the eye is key for any tutorial/help guide.
Reality Checkpoint
I would love a copy of this, printed or PDF.

+1 on a standard font!
I usually use Times New Roman or Cambria font. I only used the curvy font on the attachment because I was trying to be cute.

Amazon is making changes to their print publishing service, replacing a lot of humans with computer apps. I'm not sure that that is the best way to go any more. I have to look into it.
Just chiming in to express interest, would definitely purchase something like you describe. I trust you on the font front. thumbs up
Also interested.
Pelsea wrote:

Amazon is making changes to their print publishing service, replacing a lot of humans with computer apps. I'm not sure that that is the best way to go any more. I have to look into it.

You might try one of the self-publishing services. I've done a couple of one-off books through Lulu though its been a few years. You can offer it as a printed book or as a PDF. I've never tried to earn $ for mine since I only made it available to family (it was a book of my dad's journal from WWII). Maybe worth looking into.
The font is awful and the writing..... is all of it written that way? Are there diagrams/illustrations?
I guess the joke is lost on this generation. You have to remember where I was teaching, Santa Cruz California, about halfway between Esalen and Haight-Ashbury.

I’ll post something more representative later this evening.
Here's something more boring. Remember, there are 70 pages of this stuff.

Oops I saw a typo in this. I'll sort that out before I publish.
I like your writting style. Maybe Make Noise can suggest a good font w00t
These brief snippets cause me to recall “Devarahi‘s Complete Guide to Synthesizers“, which is long out of print and would certainly be improved with elaborations upon modern synths and modules. I’ve also mentioned this book as it benefits as a teaching aid by getting to the point quickly; at least in the majority of cases. This can’t be said for most of the writings that orbit the Buchla and Ciat-Lonbarde worlds and I find that to be a disservice.

As my preferences tilt toward conversational & direct writing styles, I suggest steering away from unnecessary verbosity and flowery text as it tends to indicate an author that writes more for themselves than the reader. It becomes ponderous, offputting and boring in short order; a manner of in-group signaling and a barrier to entry to outsiders.

In short:
    modern equipment
    Throw in some Buchla e-series discussions of the power of preset management
    The processing of external signals with hard and soft wares
    Less “Tao of...”
    More “Amplifier Handout” style.

And I’d like to see it monetized in order to bestow additional perceived value upon the work and enough value in order to sustain the project and its development in the future.
The boring one is way cooler, remember we're all synth nerds posting about synths on the internet here.

Would it be possible to make a supporting sound file of audio examples and chuck that + a pdf on bandcamp?

Also agree with others re price. If you've been doing this for 25 years its ok to charge for your expertise.
OK, I’ll leave the Tao out- that is the only attempt at humor. It was originally a poster I made for the beginner’s studio. It was intended to comfort students who were intimidated by the patchbay.

I had figured there were plenty of demos on YouTube. Making my own would pretty much quadruple the work. There are plenty of example patchs—not exercises as Alan used but more seeds for inspiration. Once you get your hands on the modules demos are no longer necessary.

As for modern equipment, the obvious focus is on basics, but I do cover advanced techniques like FM. I’ll post the table of contents later this morning. [edit] I'll be happy to write a book about Buchla, if they will give me a system!
Leave the Tao in, make it a preambel / epilogue thing or so maybe.

I am not huge on buying digital books, but I´d support you by buying this if it came in any "open" (i.e. not coupled/limited to a specific hardware platform) format. PDF would be fine.


I would pay ~5-10€ for something in Times New Roman or any boring normal legible font...

...but I would pay 100€ if it came in Comic Sans MS ! grin

(I´d probably be the only sale then, though, so maybe don´t go buy that Lamborghini yet... ^^ )
Here's the outline. I welcome suggestions about other topics to cover.

A Tutorial on Modular Synthesizers
The Tao of Signal
A short digression into the world of acoustics
What we can see and measure
Frequency and period
Fourier and his transform
What does an Electronic Musician Need to Know about Electronics?
Essential terms
Measuring Electricity
One more thing
What’s in a Synthesizer
The Most Likely Modules
Oscillator Spectra
Digital Sources
Envelope Generators
Output Module
More Modules
Noise Generator
Ring Modulator
The Matrix Mixer
Comb Filtering
Analog Reverb
Digital Reverb
Convolution Reverb
Reverb In Electronic Music
Control Processors
Control Sources
Low Frequency Oscillators
Sample and Hold
The sample and hold at work and play
Sequencer rhythms
Gate Logic
Computer interfaces
Mechanical Transducers
What To Do With Your Synthesizer
Getting A Sound Out Of The Synthesizer
Basic Beep
Filtering the Beep
More Oscillators
Amplitude Modulation
Ring Modulation
Frequency Modulation
Chowning FM
Phase modulation
Filter cutoff modulation
VCA Tricks
Percussion Patches
Gated Noise
Big Drum
Ping a Filter
FM Percussion
Autonomous Patches
ADSR Chain
Slew Limiting
Random voltage generator
Specialized Control Modules
Performance Patches
[to be expanded]

Annnd all of my careful formatting disappeared. Just imagine 3 levels of heading under the main heads, which are in bold.
Looks fantastic! Very much looking forward to this.
I’m in, sir.

At any reasonable price, up to and including that charged for comparable reference works.

Personally I like arial, but any standard readable font is good, and a decent point size please.

My 2c:

“The Tao of patching, putting the zen into the zenthesiser” style might work better for start of chapter intros, short practical tips in side notes etc.

But given that this is mostly existing material, rather than being newly written and structured from the ground up, it’s all good.

thumbs up
Put me down for a purchase once this all gets sorted - I love reading new books on synthesis!!!
It looks like I will be using, which will put the price around $15. Still have a few final touches to add (then layout), so a Labor day pub date is possible. It will be 8.5 x 11 (US letter size) so the drawings don't get scrunched.

The Tao is a preface. It will add $0.03 to the cost of the book, given the number of pages I have now. As I said before, it is a joke, meant to put students with a fear of patching (they really do exist) at ease.

Is there a preference for the binding? Choices are perfect bound, which comes apart if bent backwards, or coil binding, which eventually breaks into annoying little bits of plastic.
I would love a hard copy or PDF, as I could use a PDF on my tablet much easier than a Kindle-formatted doc.

That font, though. d'oh! Good for intros, but definitely not good for the main body of the text, too much effort to read.

Coil binding would make it easier to lay the book out flat when working with it.
My preference would be for the coil binding, despite the risk of breakage. Heck, at $15 per, I could afford to buy two copies in the eventuality that the breakage occurs.
Coil for certain if meant to be used as a reference whilst patching and learning.
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