Learn to create your own electronic sounds for musical productions using Propellerhead's Reason and Native Instruments' Absynth. By working through a series of practical, hands-on activities, you'll gain an understanding of the skills necessary to produce and replicate the electronic sounds common in today's modern music. This course begins by introducing you to the basics of how synthesizers work, sound design concepts, and how to program a wide variety of synthesizers. From there you'll explore more detailed aspects of sound creation and manipulation including imitating acoustic instruments, FM, oscillator sync, ring modulation, and advanced modulation; techniques that you can transfer to any hardware or software synthesizer.
By the end of this course, you will:
Use control signals and understand control signals in Reason's SubtractorUnderstand digital samplersUnderstand modulation and MIDI controlBuild complex sounds and create sonic gestures (macrosynthesis)Understand the basic sound design elements of visual media
Berklee Online and Propellerhead have come together to offer an educational discount on the Reason. Once you enroll in the course, you will be able to purchase this package at the discounted price through the Required Course Materials link on your My Home page. Early enrollment is encouraged to ensure software delivery prior to the start of the course.
Lesson 1: Overview of Electronic Music Synthesizers
What's a Synthesizer?Synthesizer SpecsmanshipSynthesizer Architecture: Generators and ProcessorsProperties of SoundPitchTimbreLoudness
Lesson 2: Using Control Signals in Sound Design
Types of ControlEnvelope GeneratorsControlling Pitchthe LFOUnderstanding the Korg Polysix
Lesson 3: Control Signals in Reason's Subtractor
Subtractor ArchitectureFixed and Flexible Modulation Routings in SubtractorReal-Time Control
Lesson 4: Sound DesignCharacteristics and Editing
Sound CategoriesMusical FunctionsInstrument TypesSound CharacteristicsSound EditingThe Art of Tweaking--Sound Editing and Redesign
Lesson 5: More Sound DesignDesigning Sounds
Sound Redesign, Function SwappingCreating Sounds from ScratchThe Default PatchImitating Acoustic InstrumentsSolo Brass InstrumentsEnsemblesClassic Electronic SoundsFilter SweepsElectronic PercussionLFO Patterns
Lesson 6: Understanding Digital Samplers
Understanding Digital SamplersVirtual SamplersSampling ConceptsSaving MemoryLoopingSampling Applications
Lesson 7: More on Digital Sampling
Drum MachinesVelocity Cross-SwitchingUsing Effects with a Sampled InstrumentSampling Project
Lesson 8: Extended Subtractive Techniques
Timbre and WaveshapeBasic Geometric Waveform ReviewWave MixingChorusingWaveshapingFrequency Modulation (FM)Linear and Exponential ControlLinear FMAmplitude Modulation (AM) and Ring ModulationOscillator Sync
Lesson 9: Advanced Modulation and MIDI Control
Modulation RoutingsMatrix ModulationVector SynthesisWave SequencingStep-Sequenced ControlControl with Gate SignalsAdditional Modulation Routings within ReasonLFO TriggerModulation Routings between DevicesTempo ControlLFO Sync
Lesson 10: MacroSynthesis
The Sound Spectrum Viewed as a Three-Dimensional SpaceCreating Complex Sounds by Combining over TimeSonic Gestures
Lesson 11: Sound Design for Visual Media
The Role of Sound Design for VisualsSound Design vs. Film ScoringElements of MusicCase Studies
Lesson 12: Final Project Posting and Discussions
Final ProjectWhere Do I Go from Here?How to Grow Your Current SetupSuggested Additional Reading
Author & Instructor
For Michael Bierylo, teaching Music Synthesis at Berklee is just one component of an eclectic and highly creative career. From his Virtual Planet studio, he's completed film, video, and multimedia scores for clients like Hasbro Interactive, Nintendo, MSNBC, Nickelodeon, VH1, Martha Stewart Living, and Universal Studios' Islands of Adventure. He's also a guitarist, composer, programmer and sound designer for the uncategorizable new music avatars Birdsongs of the Mesozoic. His solo album Life Line earned four and a half stars from the All Music Guide, and he's a voting member of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences.
Author of nine books and a recognized expert on music technology, David Mash is Vice President for Information Technology at Berklee College of Music. One of Berklee's true innovators, he founded the nation's first music synthesis department, developed the Center for Technology in Music Instruction, and assisted in the design of the country's largest networked music learning facility, the Berklee Learning Center. He has also scored award-winning digital films, and appeared on such programs as Newton's Apple, CBS Evening News, 3-2-1 Contact, and National Public Radio's All Things Considered.
To be successful in this course, you should have good computer skills, know how to configure your computer for sound, and have a MIDI keyboard. Before taking this course, you should also be familiar with concepts like digitization, signal flow, multi-tracking, equalization, signal processing, and MIDI; all of which are covered in our Desktop Music Production course.
PC Web Browser: Firefox (Recommended), Chrome, Internet Explorer 10 or higherMac Web Browser: Firefox (Recommended), Chrome, SafariFlash Player: current versionQuickTime: current versionAdobe Reader: current versionReason 8Native Instruments' Absynth 5One of the projects in this course will have you apply what you’ve learned to create sound design elements for a video clip. To do this, you’ll need to use any DAW that supports Quicktime video playback. These include Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Logic ProX, Cubase, Sonar, Nuendo, or Digital Performer. Although Reason does not support video playback, there are utilities available that will allow a video clip to play in sync with Reason. These include
ReSync 1.1 for Mac or PC or
ReasonSync for Mac.
Berklee Online and Propellerhead have come together to offer an educational discount on Reason. Once you enroll in the course, you will be able to purchase this package at the discounted price through the Required Course Materials link on your My Home page. Early enrollment is encouraged to ensure software delivery prior to the start of the course.
Mac OS X 10.7 or laterProcessor: Intel Mac (multiple cores highly recommended)Memory: 4 GB RAM or more highly recommended3 GB free hard disk space (program may use up to 20 GB scratch disk space)Free USB port for Ignition KeyAudio interface with low latency to play software synthesizers in real-timeMIDI Interface and MIDI keyboardWindows 7 or laterIntel or AMD processor with dual cores4 GB RAM or more3 GB free hard disk spaceMonitor with 1024x768 resolution or largerA 16 bit Windows compatible audio card, preferably with an ASIO driverFree USB port for Ignition KeyAudio interface with low latency to play software synthesizers in real-timeMIDI Interface and MIDI keyboard
Got a question? Contact our Academic Advisors by phone at 1-866-BERKLEE (U.S.), 1-617-747-2146 (INT'L), or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can also answer basic questions in the comments below. Please note that all comments are public.