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Mark Vail - The Synthesizer

A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding, Programming, Playing, and Recording the Ultimate Electronic Music Instrument.

Veteran music technology journalist, educator, and performer Mark Vail tells the complete story of the synthesizer: the origins of the many forms the instrument takes; crucial advancements in sound generation, musical control, and composition made with instruments that may have become best sellers or gone entirely unnoticed; and the basics and intricacies of acoustics and synthesized sound.

Vail also describes how to successfully select, program, and play a synthesizer; what alternative controllers exist for creating electronic music; and how to stay focused and productive when faced with a room full of instruments. This one-stop reference guide on all things synthesizer also offers tips on encouraging creativity, layering sounds, performance, composing and recording for film and television, and much more.

Published in 2014, 432 pages, over 371 illustrations, 279 x 216 mm

Includes a companion website.

Table of Contents:

Foreword by Michelle Moog-Koussa

  1. Trendsetting All-Stars
  2. Acoustics & Synthesis Basics
    Real-World Acoustics
    Types of Synthesis
    Audio Sources: Oscillators, Noise, & More
    VCAs, Envelopes, & LFOs
    Envelope Followers & Pitch-to-Voltage Converters
    EQs & Filter Banks
    Analog Sequencers
    Analog Delay
    Digital Delay
    Other Effects
  3. Choosing Your Synthesizer(s)
    What’s Your Budget?
    Musical Tastes & Goals
    Hardware vs. Software
    Portability & Power
    Programmability: Pros & Cons
    As Others Have Done
    Modular Synthesizers in the 21st Century
    An Overview
    Modular Synth Shopping
    More on Eurorack Modular
    More on FracRak Modular
    More on Serge Modular
    Convincing Analog & MIDI Synths to Coexist
    MIDI-to-CV Conversion
    CV-to-MIDI Conversion
    Synths & Controllers with Keyboards
    Alternative Controllers
    Wind Controllers
    Touch Controllers
    Hand-Held Controllers
    Struck Controllers
    Controllers for Microtonal Tunings
  4. Composition, Programming, & Performance Techniques
    Scoring to Picture
    Composing for Living Art
    Following Through on a Thought
    Sage Advice from a Master
    Scoring with Intent, Even When Intimidated
    Patching, a.k.a. Programming
    Encouraging Synthesists’ Creativity
    When & How to Experiment with Sounds
    The Good & Bad of Non-Programmability
    Programming for Progress
    Fun with Modular Synths
    Layering Synth Sounds
    Programming for Expression
    Tools of the Trade
    Dependence on the Tried & True, but Moving Forward
    Modular Apparitions
    Defying the Dependence on Visuals
  5. Recording the Synthesizer
    As It Was & How It’s Become for the Switched-On Innovator
    Serial vs. Random-Access Media
    Strategies for Recording Film & TV Scores
    Harnessing the Power of Modular Synths with Ableton Live
    Automated Mixing
    Outboard Processing: Preparing Audio for Recording
    Recording Direct & Expanding for Surround-Sound
    Appendix: Selected Bibliography, Museums & Films, Manufacturers, Blogs, Dealers & Stores
  6. Index
Publisher: Oxford University Press / ISBN: 9780195394894
Author: Mark Vail
Medium: Book


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