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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

How did you learn?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion Goto page Previous  1, 2 [all]
Author How did you learn?
milkshake
Still the best software modular synth out there: Clavia G2 Demo and its free.
Having used this from the beginning, I just cringe at the UI of modern software modular synths.

And the best place to learn it all:
Rob Hordijk's SynthesisWorkshop.
Keltie
Pelsea wrote:
.

It's kind of like using the force.


applause
userfriendly
I think you are being too hard on yourself. Some of the best musicians in the world often feel like they don't know anything about their craft. My bet is that you know wayyy more about synthesis than you think you do. I think it is a good thing that you are questioning your ability. I think thats what makes you improve....You know, unless it gets to the point where you can't do anything because as soon as you try to you just start freaking out about how little you know.... If thats the case, maybe think about talking to someone with a PhD in psychology. Anyway, I think you should take the leap and buy a few modules. Just see what happens. Don't worry about making music for now. Just have some fun. If you get a few modules and it seems to get worse or you feel even MORE frustrated, consider taking a break from synths for a week or so. My bet is you will be thirsty to come back to it and give it another go. There is nothing wrong with noodling. As much as it seems like noodling is wasting time, I'm sure that 90% of wigglers here would agree that noodling is a huge part of the learning process. cheers! screaming goo yo
captjrab
There are many thought processes going on simultaneously when using a modular. The undercurrent is making music, but on top of that is figuring out modules and the interplay of modules and meanwhile you are focused and doing, not really listening which are two different processes. Then there is the imagined stress of time and wanting to cram as much knowlege in as possible.

Recording and listening back will help alot.

Set aside time for straight experimentation without the expectation of music.

Just cuz you think you are noodling doesnt mean it’s not good or worthwhile. There can be amazing musical moments no matter your level of experience. In fact, experience has its own creative issues like backing yourself up into a corner or creating a rut.

The point is, you are where you are supposed to be, so dont future trip.Take you time and dont be self defeatist.
tau_seti
I only have one PhD but it’s not in any music related field so it didn’t help. wink

But this:

milkshake wrote:
I learned synthesis on a modular synth.

Modular synths are by far the easiest way to lean it.

What you do is: Start with one module, listen to it, turn the knobs, patch an output into an input and get a feel for what it does. Only then add an other module, do the same as the first module. Now patch them together, outputs to inputs and turn the knobs while listening to the various points in the patch. With just 2 modules, a normal oscillator and a filter, you can create sounds unobtainable with pre patched synths.

To fully master a modular synth takes decades, just like any other musical instrument.


Absolutely. I had an MS-20 and Dark Time/Dark Energy and didn’t get much until I took the plunge. Buy a clean VCO (intellijel Dixie ii?), VCA (doepfer a-132-3?) , VCF (maybe a Harvestman polyvocks?), a Maths for “LFO” and envelope generation duties and you are golden to start. You will figure it out fast.

But if you listen to what pioneers like Morton Subotnick said, your journey is important. Coming to this thing and not knowing is the whole point.
matthewjuran
userfriendly wrote:
If thats the case, maybe think about talking to someone with a PhD in psychology.

Or psychiatry.

Other people are key. Paying them with money, a transaction of skill, friendship, or you might get lucky and not have to pay. Do that for years while practicing and experimenting with the new thoughts you make with them.

Electrical engineering degree made a foundation for me by formal interactions but that’s only one way. I also listen to music for hours every day and formally played music as a minor.

Generally knowing what being content is like helps with frustration and focus for me. Have you felt like you wouldn’t rather be anywhere else before? Being out in the sun with my own car, tent, chair, cooking experience and tools, food, fire, and water does it for me sometimes. I was taught all of that then practiced using the tools by myself.

That might seem far away from modular synthesizers but just the hardware isn’t going to fix problems.
ggillon
I learned modular with the 0-coast. What a lovely synth
gonkulator
Dcramer wrote:

There’s several of us around who give lessons over Skype and the like, if you’re interested in giving it a try, send me a pm and we can find a time to connect and I’ll show you the basics of Modular! w00t


This is the right idea: finding a tutor that can run you through the basics, especially if you can do it in person. Find someone who lives nearby who knows enough to get you going, and who can answer your questions.
motorhead412
ggillon wrote:
I learned modular with the 0-coast. What a lovely synth


Same. The 0-Coast acted as my modular training wheels.
naturligfunktion
It's not that hard and it does not require a phd, but it do take some time to learn, just like anything else. Luckily we live in the digital age so there are loads of forums, videos and what not where you just can ask and people will quickly help.

Like anything, it comes gradually. But that's the fun, you are always learning! I have been making music for a decade now but everyday is a blessing, because there is always a layer underneath to discover, to learn more, to have fun. Don't be to hard on yourself and focus on having fun smile

Also:

milkshake wrote:
I learned synthesis on a modular synth.

Modular synths are by far the easiest way to lean it.

To fully master a modular synth takes decades, just like any other musical instrument.


I absolutely agree.
JoshuaTSP
I feel ya OP.

So similar to how I feel. Helpless and worthless.

I had long posts typed up describing how I felt similar......but in the end, the answer comes down to me not putting in the time or not trying hard enough with synth/modular.
Guitar/Bass came a lot easier to me and now that this isn't.......I'm giving up. I haven't touched in instrument in at least 6 months due to being frustrated.

So everyone here is already giving the correct advice.

realization: I suck because I don't try.

Put in the time. Put in the effort. Do the research and learn.

Set your goals and expectations accordingly. It's not going to be great or easy at first. I've made the mistake in the past, of expecting greatness with little effort or knowledge and to magically manifest itself out of thin air.

Keep trying and it will come eventually.
Or it won't and you'll move on.

I'm going to follow this advice. Starting today.
witchbutter
I gained my first real understanding building subtractive synths in Reaktor. This is possibly one of the worst ways to learn. A major advantage of modular in general is that you get to see and touch the signal path, which makes it a lot easier to understand. After you move on from subtractive/additive you need to read.

I'm reading Musimathics right now, a textbook that explains a lot of it in terms of math. For me that's great, but if you hate math there are lots of books out there.
kindredlost
Learning a modular came from building one because that was the only way I could have one back in the 1970's.

I had an Arp Axxe and learned the usual architecture of subtractive synthesis so transferring that to a modular was fairly easy to get a sound.

The difference was the modular that I had (a PAIA kit) was computer controlled so it was that aspect which was more difficult for me to grasp. That was hard back when you had to deal with rudimentary machine code.

I'm lucky I was able to get that at an early stage of my synth learning adventure because it helped me follow along with the various forms synthesizers took on. They all eventually were computer controlled and it is ubiquitous now.

I have to say I feel bad for someone just starting out today when there is such an abundance of formats, synthesis types and interface controls to confound the choice. If I were to start I'd do just what the OP is doing and ask for help.

I live in a small town with no one to bounce ideas off of. The internet is my tutor now. Magazines such as "Keyboard", "Polyphony", "Electronic Musician" and "Computer Music Journal" were my guides in the early years.

There is a small state university in my home town. I approached them about donating some of my modular synth setup but they didn't seem interested. Things don't change much around here. It takes someone with a certain attitude to have an electronic music program I guess. I'd think it should be standard fare by now. seriously, i just don't get it
kindredlost
My post above wasn’t really very helpful so maybe this will be...

Start by trying to learn what different “pure” waveforms sound like. Get an oscillator which outputs sine wave, square wave, sawtooth wave and triangle wave. This will be a good way to familiarize your ear with even versus odd harmonics. The next step is to get a state-variable resonant filter which allows you to see the effect of eliminating and boosting the harmonic content (or “partials”) from the source oscillator. Next you can add modifiers such as envelope generators and low frequency oscillators to see what happens with motion control of the filter and pulse wave content. Of course an amplifier or VCA in the signal chain is helpful anywhere along the way. Same with a mixer. These five building blocks are a good way to start discovering patch techniques.

Adding vco’s and vca’s and eg’s will liven up the sound but attempting to learn how to patch with a larger set of basic modules can be daunting. Start small and add as needed then move on to new ways with complex vco’s and so forth.

This is a simple exercise in subtractive synthesis which is a fundamental building block of electronic sound creation. Of course there are other ways to synthesize sounds but an understanding of the basics of sound elements can help to train you ear for the more exotic possibilities found with all forms of sound synthesis.
Monty McG
I saw a new book at this years Synthfest in Sheffield. Think it was called Push and Tweek or something like that. Looked really good, but was £50 cash - no cards - and I didn’t have enough on me. Really nice coffee table book with stacks of info covering all sorts of synths, modules etc from basic to complex. Sadly, I think it’s usually £60 online. Might put it on my Christmas list.
Blairio
matthewjuran wrote:
userfriendly wrote:
If thats the case, maybe think about talking to someone with a PhD in psychology.

Or psychiatry.

Other people are key. Paying them with money, a transaction of skill, friendship, or you might get lucky and not have to pay. Do that for years while practicing and experimenting with the new thoughts you make with them.


This was my experience. I was familiar and happy with fixed architecture synths of all persuasions such as, additive, subtractive, FM digital. When I decided to dip my toe in modular I relied on a good friend/ collaborator who had 'gone modular' a few years before me, and also the knowledge of the folk running my local synth shop (Rubadub here in Glasgow). Both helped with understanding basic patching techniques and also making sensible module purchases.

I would start with a semi modular synth, and a few modules to augments its capabilities. One reason for this is that if you decide modular is not for you, you can sell your few modules, and retain your semi modular synth.

My route to modular 5 years ago was a Doepfer Dark Energy mk1 and a Doepfer 32hp beauty case holding a BubbleSound VCOb oscillator, Doepfer A140 ADSR, and Liivatera noise module. These really extended the Dark Energy mk1's sound and potential. I still have all of these, though my 'euro rig' has grown to 18U of 84 HP.
Hi5
Started with Max/MSP in my youths so modulars were a simplification. Ultimately came down to studying each type of building block. Once you have a few under control you start to see more how they fit all together. Most “traditional” synth sounds are fairly simple. Its the immediacy of control that differentiates what I can do on a modular
Exhale
I think nowadays it's pretty simple. Lots of youtube, pdfs.
VCV rack... etc...
But how did people learn in 80s, 90s ?
SOS magazines. Meetings.
jmcecil
Exhale wrote:
I think nowadays it's pretty simple. Lots of youtube, pdfs.
VCV rack... etc...
But how did people learn in 80s, 90s ?
SOS magazines. Meetings.

Or, like many of my friends and I did, for example with the Korg DSS-1 that came with an electrical engineers guide to the synth written in Japanenglish, you just sit down a f around till you find something you like.
justchris86
Im still learning! University of youtube and this forum!
909one
I have owned a variety of fixed synths in the last 20 years, and it wasn't until I started on modular or semi-modular that I really understood what was happening. I think fixed architecture synths actually make it more difficult to learn. With modular you have to physically make the connections and with fixed arch synths sometimes its a lucky guess what it is going on.

I started with a Moog Mother about two years ago, got really passionate about it, and then kinda dropped it, sold it. Then about a year ago I picked up some more synths, a Korg Minilogue and Microbrute, and it piqued my interest again. I remember thinking, I'm never getting into modular, that's too much. Then I started getting bored with those synths only after a month or so and I was trying to figure out why boredom set in so quickly after every synth I got, and I realized it was because I wasn't creating the sound myself.

I picked up a 0-Coast and it was all over from there. That was really the turning point. If you can figure out the 0-Coast you are well on your way to modular.

I sold a bunch of stuff and its only really been about 8 months of full on modular and honestly I learned it so fast once I went fully modular. The theory is actually not very complex. The complexity I think comes from the way that each manufacturer decides to interpret the theories, and you have to figure out each manufacturer's thought process in order to get to the root of what each module is doing.

I purposely tear down my patches every time I sit down to play, because it forces me to learn and figure out new ways of signal flow. I also record everything and started taking notes to reference what I did in a patch so I can pull from that in the future.

Its funny, because the modular looks so intimidating if you don't know whats up, purely because of the aesthetic of the wires in front, but its not really all that complex once you understand even the basics. You have a sound source , it gets processed in timbre or dynamics and sent to an output. If you want to animate anything in the system, be it the sound source or the processing of that sound, that's where control voltage comes into play. Its essentially a bunch invisible little hands that are turning a bunch of pots, or turning on and off switches for you.
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