I have always been really interested in learning how to use a modular synthesiser, so when this opportunity came up, I knew I had to go! As a large rack with many modules can rack up costs (no pun intended…) it is somewhat of a difficult field to get in to without any prior experience, so I was very grateful for the Yorkshire Sound Women Network in Sheffield for putting it on.
The event was held in DINA venue in Sheffield, a city which is becoming a renowned hub for artists and creators. We were in the capable hands of Zoe Blade and Nina Richards, who have designed their own sequencer module called the Stepper Acid (pictured below as the modules in the top row)
Zoe ran through the basics of synth patching in a powerpoint. Although it was a topic I’m now becoming familiar with through my degree, it still added usual perspective and interesting bits of knowledge, helping me to consolidate what I already know and helping others who might be less familiar acquaint themselves with the key principles.
Once we had covered the fundamentals of sound and music synthesis, we moved on to the more proactive part of the workshop. Software company Audulus had been kind enough to sponsor the event, which allowed us all to get our own software copy of a modular synth. I thought this was a great way to make it accessible to all those there and means that I can continue with this in my own time too!
We worked through the very basics of patching up an oscillator to a stereo mixer to generate some sound output, to slightly more complex notions of using filters and other effects processing, although this was really just scratching the surface of all the things that it would be possible to do with the software and indeed with the real hardware itself.
I was lucky enough to get to have a go on their modular at the end of the session, and can see how creative it can be- the possibilities of sound synthesis are almost endless! It still seemed a little daunting, but hopefully practise with the software will increase my competence and allow me to make some exciting new sounds!