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Designing Your Modular Synthesizer: What Archetype Are You?

Today, we are excited to share a new modular guide by the talented synthesist Mother DessicantDesigning Your Modular Synthesizer.

Click on me to read the full PDF

Unlike Allen Strange’s Electronic Music or Chris Meyer’s Patch & Tweak, this guide doesn’t go into the what’s & how’s of modular synthesis itself. Instead, DYMS delves into synthesist archetypes and how you can construct a purposeful modular instrument that synchronizes with your musical goals.

Or, put more succinctly by Mother Dessicant:

This guide is meant to help the reader make the right decisions for building their own, unique modular instruments.

The intro to DYMS is short and sweet: two sections. We start off with some thought explorations of why Your Synthesizer Is Trans and then move into a foundational question of this guide, “What kind of synthesist are you?”

Luckily, this isn’t a ‘fill in the blank’ answer and MD provides you with the classification structure to (hopefully) identify your synthesist archetype.

DYMS Synthesist Archetypes

  • Explorer: “No idea what I’m trying to ‘achieve’ here, I just think modular is fun!”
  • Musician: “I want to perform electronic music live on a modular instrument.”
  • Composer: “I want exact control over a lot of analog equipment for studio/sfx work.”
  • Fancier: “The holistic experience of ill-explored sonic realms is my goal, not recorded ‘music’ as we know it.”
  • Collector: “I just want a monster system. A towering, blinking, buzzing, musical battlestation.”

Once you identify with one of these archetypes, you can hop over to the chapter that explores the approach in more detail. And when we say more detail, we mean 3 sub-sections for each archetype with pages and pages of nuanced, in-depth thought about how to construct a modular synthesizer.

There’s even a fun aside on building generative ambient cases, with killer quotes like:

If Krell Music is the “kickflip” of the modular world, I would argue that making generative music in an established scale and temperament is the 720 gazelle flip of modular.

Even if you don’t know skateboarding, that’s still a fun analogy. And DYMS as a whole is chock full of humor while still clearly being written by an expert synthesist.

To read the full guide simply click here: DESIGNING YOUR MODULAR SYNTHESIZER.

To contact or support Mother Dessicant, please use the following links:

  • contact: vtuerff[at]gmail.com
  • donations: vtuerff[at]gmail.com (Paypal)

Regarding donations, MD wrote:

Donations are nice but all I ask is if this guide helped you, please share it with another person. Perhaps it will help them as well! If it proves popular, It’s my goal to release this guide in an illustrated, full-color, physical form someday soon.

And finally, a giant thank you to Vera / Mother Dessicant for all of the effort it took to create this guide for the community.

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