Eurorack 101 musings

The Best Thing I’ve Discovered about Modular Synthesis / Eurorack

I’m a total newbie in modular synthesis and currently have 2 oscillators, 2 filters, a Maths, one VCA, one delay, and one hardware sequencer. I initially bought this gear thinking that I was going to play the keyboard into it and have an amazing big fat analog synth to play into my game and film tracks, which I have done, but Eurorack offers so much more. When I added a sequencer (in my case the Stillson Hammer), my Eurorack became a live, playable instrument, which opened up a whole new world of glorious limitations. I now have 4 tracks (and only two usable because I don’t have enough oscillators) and 16 steps. It’s really made me focus on what’s important, the groove and the short hooks. I like to write these long, winding things, but the challenge of writing something good in 16 steps has made me rethink a lot of how I write music. There still is a time and place for the long melody lines, but the challenge of writing 3 to 6 good notes is another thing entirely. I also am finding that the sequencer gives me the freedom to choose 6 good notes, then change one and evolve melodic material over time. Incredible!

To try this on your own with spending thousands on gear: Write a 3-6 note melody with some rhythm. Now change one note. Then change another. See if you can color something sad. Now try happy. It’s sort of a freedom through limitations process. Enjoy!