linux music tutorial: seq24, part 1

I promised I’d make an introductory tutorial to seq24, and now, I’ve delivered! If you’ve tried seq24 in the past and been confused by it, hopefully this will clear up some of the mysteries; if you’ve never tried it, this might just encourage you to give it a go!

There’s an unspoken “step zero” here — get yourself a working copy of seq24. I’m not sure about other distributions, but on Ubuntu, especially 64-bit, the packaged version seems very unstable. The best thing to do is to grab the 0.9.1 version from the seq24 Launchpad and install that — this new release includes a bunch of bug-fixes, and a few new features, too.

The original plan was for a straight screencast, like my earlier synth tutorials, but I was so impressed by Kdenlive that I decided to have a bit of fun with it — hopefully the fun I had comes through in the finished product.

For downloaders, there’s also a 720p WebM version available.

linux synth tutorial: part 5

In part 5 of my Linux soft synth tutorial, I look at the concept of modulation — changing synth parameters over time. We saw an example of this in part 4, where we used an envelope to control the volume of a sound over time; modulation extends this to other parameters, such as the pitch of the oscillators and the filter cutoff. Modulation can use envelopes to change parameters over the length of the sound — in fact, there’s a second envelope in Xsynth-DSSI just for modulation — or the low frequency oscillator, or LFO, to perform repeating rhythmic changes.

Modulation can produce effects ranging from subtle vibrato through to sweeping soundscapes and alien sound effects. Either way, it’s a powerful way to breathe life and movement in to what might otherwise be a dull sound.

High-res Ogg Theora version is here, or watch the Youtube version after the jump!

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linux synth tutorial: part 4

In part 4 of my Linux soft synth tutorial, I look at Xsynth-DSSI’s amplifier section, and particularly the “envelope”, which defines how the volume of your sound changes over time. By tweaking the envelope, you can make your sounds fade in and out softly, hit hard and then slowly fade like a piano, or come on strong and then disappear just as quickly, like a xylophone.

High-res Ogg Theora version is here, or watch the Youtube version after the jump!

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linux synth tutorial: part 3

In part 3 of my Linux soft synth tutorial, I look at the next major component of the traditional analogue synth — the filter. The filter… uhh… filters the sound from the oscillators, typically cutting away at the high frequencies; the effects range from the subtle to the drastic, especially once you start tweaking that “resonance” parameter. In fact, analog synthesis is sometimes called “subtractive synthesis”, due to the way the filter cuts away parts of the sound.

High-res Ogg Theora version is here, or watch the Youtube version after the jump!

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linux synth tutorial: part 2

In part 2 of my Linux soft synth tutorial, I look at the oscillators in Xsynth-DSSI, the different kinds of sounds they can produce, and some of the ways they can be combined to create more interesting sounds. The oscillators create the raw synth sound, before it’s shaped by the filter and amplifier, so it’s more responsible than any other part of the synth for the general timbre of your sound.

Again, if you’re on Chrome or Firefox, or you just want to download it for later viewing, you can grab a high-res Ogg Theora version here, or watch the Youtube version after the jump!

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