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MaxMSP Tasks

The Synthesis for Max Task

Task 5 Name: Breaking Glass Task Set: w5i Due: w13i Weighting: assessable (15%) Courses: cmc2a
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Task Summary All CMC2a tasks VLE

Investigate some of the ways of using synthesis methods in Max.

To cover:

- Karplus-Strong string synthesis/modelling
- Additive, Subtractive synthesis...


MSP Tutorials

MSP Examples

The Task

  • Using these zipped patches (same as above) in Max 5.x as a template, or any of the above mentioned tutorials or examples (if you wish: feel free to recreate your own specialised patch if you wish after studying the template), investigate synthesis in MaxMSP.

  • Examples of tasks might be:
    • to develop a simple monophonic synth using at least two different methods of synthesis and allow for control over at least two controlled parameters (e.g. modulation frequency, amplitude modulation level);

    • to develop a simple polyphonic synth (see tutorial 21: using poly~);

    • to develop a simple synth which in some way models a particular sound.

    • In each of the above control of the synth might be from a MIDI keyboard, the qwerty keyboard, some other controller or a generative procedure.

    • In the case of each of the above a simple demonstration of ten or so seconds, plus full documentation is required for excellent marks;

    • Alternatively, you might prepare a short composition which uses as it's basis effects or techniques particular to certain forms of synthesis. In this case, the composition should be between thirty seconds and one minute in length.

  • NB you are encouraged to adapt your own creative practice in these tasks. If possible use styles and materials with which you are familiar.

  • Annotate the patch giving full details of how the patch works.
  • Please ensure that, in as far as you are able, your patches work immediately they are opened. If your patch or patches use audio files, include short samples that are 'preloaded', (but also include methods for loading user samples, too). Include functioning presets.

  • Make a demo recording of your patch working according to the instructions for this task. Use adoutput~ for the easiest way of doing this:

    record a demo

  • Added value
    By completing the details of the task you will achieve at least a pass mark. By imaginatively and creatively considering how you might implement the task originally you can add value to your submission, and this added value may increase your mark significantly. Even when making videos of short demonstration tasks try to consider musical and performance criteria.


  • Compress (zip) your patches, demos, etc. into one file called your_student_number_"maxsynth" (e.g. 0504335_maxsynth.zip), include a readme with your name and student number and, if necessary, how to use or just open the patch.
  • Submit a copy of the files to the i-Centre on 2pm Tuesday December 19th 2017

The Projects

The projects and tasks are designed to help you through the various courses and materials that you'll have to deal with, and also to provide an active and practical element to what could otherwise become a rather dry and technical exercise. Tasks are small exercises - you may be asked to complete one or two per week. Projects are larger and carry a higher percentage of the mark. We will undertake two, three, four or more projects and tasks. The final project is usually an individual choice project, and will be worth significantly more than the others in terms of percentages in your portfolio. We will usually try to set aside a time to perform the projects in a public setting.