Live Synthesis and Sound Design

Welcome to the webpage for chapter 6 of my book “Performing Electronic Music Live”, which is about live synthesis and sound design. You can watch the accompanying tutorial video for this chapter here. In this video, I demonstrate how you can perform live with synths. My setup includes an OB6 hardware synth and a ROLI Seaboard, controlling the Equator MPE soft synth in Logic Pro X.

About the chapter:

Electronic music is defined by synthesis and sound design. Artists, companies and brands have unique sonic personalities that are instantly recognizable by their fans and customers. We can create unique sonic signatures through composition, arrangement, vocal styles, recording techniques, mix parameters and more – but electronic music would not exist without synthesizers and samplers. Synthesizers and samplers are well-loved for their impressive sound-producing capabilities. They also look and sound great on stage and allow us expressive control over the sound, in the moment.

This chapter discusses sonic branding, synthesis technology, introducing synthesis techniques like additive, subtractive, FM, waveshaping, sampling, granular, wavetable and physical modelling synthesis. It debunks typical controls like oscillators, amplifiers, amp envelopes, filters, modulation, clocks, effects and more. Next, the chapter offers an overview over the rich history of artists shaping their sound through synthesis and sampling. The last section shows how synths and samplers can be used on stage, introducing techniques for both hardware and software synthesizers.