Tuesday Lab Experiment

This is a composition using only sounds from the Doepfer Modular system. Early electronic music appropriated lab equipment designed for physics and psychology experiments and turned it toward artistic ends. Over the years, the essential tools for analog electronic synthesis have largely remained the same: there are sources, and there are processors. What has changed is the tools have gotten smaller and more affordable, so that more musicians than ever can build complex electronic instruments from reconfigurable modules.

A piece in three movements, “Tuesday Lab Experiments” represents my exploration of some of the sonic possibilities of analog modular synthesis. In each one of the three movements, entitled Spectral Glow, Dance, and Storm, I navigate the sounds of the Doepfer modular system. Read on


The source material for this assignment was any spoken passage (I recorded a short excerpt from “I Get a Hit“), from which only the unvoiced consonants were allowed. The only processing allowed for this project was cut, copy, paste, and changing the amplitude. With these processes, a somewhat surprising variety of effects are possible.

At first, I experimented mostly with pasting whole consonant sounds, and ordering them to make rhythmic motives. However, I quickly realized that, by taking a very small section of any given sound and pasting it repeatedly, it would make a buzzing tone with a perceptible pitch. Read on