Below, Helge Krabye will share MetaSynth tips. - He has organized each
tutorial into a project. Each project contains instructions with images as well
as preset libraries and input sounds. Some of the downloadable preset libraries
and sounds have been compressed into Stuffit files, so be sure to install the
latest version of Stuffit
Expander. You will then be able to generate the output sounds yourself. -
Select the project below, load MetaSynth on your Mac - and enjoy!
You are allowed to download the files below and use them to remix or create you own musical composition under this Creative Commons license.
• One Drop (is enough)
"One Drop (is enough)"
it possible to create a musical piece with only one small sound source - like
a single drop of water? Since the greatest rivers, waterfalls and oceans are nothing
but collections of single water drops (and some fish...), I allowed myself to
use only this single sound. All variations (children) have been developed by manipulating
this sample (mother) in the Image Synth, Effects window and Filter window in MetaSynth.
• Listen to the drop sound:
One drop (is enough) by Homeless Balloon
• Click here to download a zipped file of the one drop sample as well as a bank of MetaSynth presets. The One Drop musical piece was composed by using a variation of sounds generated by these presets. Other sounds were created by manipulating the sounds in various ways in the Effects Room. Note: This MetaSynth preset bank requires MetaSynth 5.0 or later.
• If you want to test MetaSynth, go here and click on the "Software" link and then "MetaSynth", and you may download a fully working demo version. We highly recommend that you purchase the full version of MetaSynth. Is a stunning piece of software that is capable of creating sounds and musical effects never heard before!
Recording the sample
I started off by trying to record a drop falling into a glass
bowl full of water. I soon found out that the neighbor's dog was disturbing
my recording - or was
it my own breath? A single drop of water doesn't make much sound, even if I use
a sensitive condenser microphone. After turning up the mic pre amp, holding my
breath and hoping that the neighborhood dog had fallen asleep, I was able to
one perfect drop - with a little reverbration tale to give it personality.
Creating new sounds in the Image Synth
I loaded the drop sample into MetaSynth,
and played around with it in the Image synth window. By painting several thin,
horizontal lines and using only the drop sample
as input, I discovered how I could create percussive sounds, sustained sounds
and distorted sounds. I like to work with micro scales, because they make it
possible to create frequencies between the ordinary notes in a traditional scale.
I could now get interesting harmonics (adding more horizontal lines), chorus
effects (making my lines thicker or very close to each other), percussive effects
(using the Pulse tool to cut the lines in short pieces, see below), controlling
the attack (by fading in the lines), and more. I could also fatten up some sounds
by painting a new line one octave below the fundamental frequency (the shortest
way to do this is by marking the line with the select tool and holding down the
Option key while clicking on the octave down arrow).
This is basically how I created
the different versions of my drop sample. I would ad panning information by either
painting over the image with colored brushes,
or by using filters (in the Image Synth window) with color information. - When
you are learning to use MetaSynth, you will not keep your head between the covers
of a book or manual - you will experiment, look at the screen and listen!
There are several ways to control the tempo when making rhythmic
patterns in MetaSynth.
I started with the Image Synth:
If you click and hold down the mouse over the
little watch on top of the Image Synth, you can adjust how long it will the take
the Image Synth to play the whole
image from left to right. If you hold down the Option (alt) key while clicking,
you will see the beats pr. minute. Example: If you set the speed to 120 bpm,
a horizontal line, set the grid to 64 and click on the Pulse button (on the tool
bar to the right), your line will be chopped into pieces starting
each second. By setting the tempo to 240, 60, 40, 80 or a similar number, you
can create slower or faster patterns in sync with your other patterns. - I did
this with my original drop sample as input, but also with my second or third
generation samples. In the mixing process, I had fun adding several rhythmic
with different time signatures, but which still played in sync.
If you choose to paint your rhythmic components in the Image Synth, you should
first add a blue grid (by clicking on the little blue symbol on top of the window).
The grid will not affect the playback, it is only a visual guide. How the grid
will look, depends on your grid setting. You can listen to the pitch of your
tone by holding down the Ctrl key when you click on the screen. And then, just
paint and listen!
You can also create rhythmic patterns and effects in the Effects window. The
button will reorganize the content in your sample and play it back depending
on your settings. The Grain button will take time slices of your audio and play
it back in a different order. The Stretch button is very interesting, because
you can turn a short sound into a long one, with interesting results. In combination
with the Inertia button (which sustains certain frequencies), I used stretch
to get the long synth-sounds out of my original short sample. (The sound becomes
kind of "metallic", so if you want warm synth sounds, it is better to let the
Wave Table generate the sound input.)
Composing and mixing
Because I am using ProTools both for composing and mixing,
I imported all my sounds into ProTools, created six stereo tracks and started
placing my sounds
on the tracks. I could also have used MetaTrack (from U&I Software) for this
job, but personally I like the amount of control over levels etc. that I have
in an audio sequencer like ProTools.
When I compose, however, I try not to have too much control. I just choose the
sounds which inspire me most in that moment, place them on a track and listen.
may result in a short sequence from ten to thirty seconds long. When I get tired
or bored, I turn off my Mac and do something else (like playing acoustic guitar
or eating carrots). Later that day, I might get some ideas again, and I sit down
to compose more. After a few days, I have usually developed enough interesting
sequences to put the whole composition together. This will also be the time when
I have to kill some darlings... A sequence might sound good, but it just doesn't
belong to this universe. A good rule is: If in doubt, throw it away! Chick Corea
once said these words about playing with other musicians, and I think we can
learn from him as well: "Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything,
don't play anything."
When adding sounds on top of each other, I discovered that some sounds needed
extra filtering and adjustment to function in my mix. I went back to MetaSynth
and recreated these sounds and used an extra filter (either in the Filters window
or by using the Parametric EQ button in the Effects window. Since MetaSynth creates
ProTools friendly stereo files (deinterleaved), I automatically heard my changes
when playing back my mix in ProTools.
(note: this tutorial by Helge Krabye is also included in the "MetaSynthia
2 CD-project" available from Glen Bledsoe's home page.) (June 2005)
copyright 2007-2012 Helge Krabye