Exercise C: Making a Sound Change Over Time
One of the best things you can do to make your sequences interesting is to have
Instrument parameters (settings) change as the sequence plays. This keeps your
sequence from sounding too mechanical and static.
What we’re trying to do
- Learn how to make continuous changes to Instrument parameters.
- Create a short “ambient” sequence that focuses on slowly
evolving sound changes. Use at least two tracks, and make it about
one minute long.
What to turn in
What to do
First review and practice the techniques described in
Automating Instrument and Effect Parameters.
Then do these things...
- Create a one-minute sequence that uses automation to make slow,
gradual changes in the sound of the patches used in your sequence.
The style of the music should be “ambient” —
slowly evolving, without pulsation from drums or other strongly rhythmic
- Use SubTractor, Malström, or Thor instruments, and avoid
ID8, which doesn’t allow you to adjust enough parameters.
- Use patches whose envelopes allow the sound to last as long as you have
the keys down, rather than coming to an end quickly like a snare drum
does. These are sometimes called “pads,” because they
can provide an unobtrusive harmonic background to support other, more
foreground instruments. If necessary, set the amplitude envelope to make
the sound fade in and out slowly (long attack and release times). Hold
down a note or chord for a long time.
- Automate the lowpass filter cutoff frequency.
This parameter is called different things in different instruments,
but look for Filter 1 (or A) Frequency, and be sure the filter is set to
lowpass (LP). When this parameter has a low value, the sound will be soft
and muted; when it has a high value, the sound will be louder and
- Automate LFO Rate and/or LFO Amount parameters.
The LFO creates cyclical changes in some other synthesis parameter (such
as pitch). In order to hear these changes, Amount must be greater
than zero. Rate determines the speed of the changes.
- [Optional] Automate the Mod Wheel, if it does something
interesting in the patch you’ve chosen. Sometimes the Mod Wheel is
set up to control several synthesis parameters at once (e.g., in
SubTractor “Clean Xfade Pad”). Automating the Mod Wheel will
work well in such patches.
Please note that automating pitch bend, while a worthwhile technique, is not
what we’re talking about here.
Here are some patches to try (all from the Pads folder).
Ambivalent, Clean Xfade Pad, Dark, FeedAche, Minimalism (LFO2 Rate), Organic,
Alien Strings, Mars Choir, Moist, Stringy Things, ToneWheel Pad, Vocal Space.
All these pads respond to frequency changes on both filters A and B.
There is a long history of