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The Musical Art of Synthesis

Nathan van der Rest & Sam McGuire

Focal Press 2015

New synths with unique features and layers of complexity are released frequently, with hundreds of different synths currently available in the marketplace. How do you know which ones to use and how do you get the most out of the ones you already own? The Musical Art of Synthesis presents synthesizer programming with a specific focus on synthesis as a musical tool. Through its innovative design, this title offers an applied approach by providing a breakdown of synthesis methods by type, the inclusion of step-by-step patch recipes, and extensive web-based media content including tutorials, demonstrations, and additional background information. Sam McGuire and Nathan van der Rest guide you to master synthesis and transcend the technical aspects as a musician and artist.


Synths are presented using a multi-tiered system beginning with basic instructions for all common synth techniques. Historical information is included for each type of synth, which is designed to help you understand how each instrument relates to the bigger picture. Advanced level instruction focuses on modern implementations and on mobile devices, with special focus on performing and practical usage. The goal The Musical Art of Synthesis is to bring all of the different types of together in the same discussion and encourage you to see the similarities and differences that force you to gain a better overall understanding of the synthesis process

Master's Thesis

A Unified Curriculum for the Teaching of Sound Synthesis

Nathan van der Rest

University of Colorado Denver 2014

Due to the universality of synthesizers and their parameters, it is possible for a user to learn synthesis as a concept rather than learning an individual instrument. This allows a user to be proficient on any given synthesizer despite its looks, layout, and format.


This study was conducted in order to compile a cumulative list of every synthesizer available along with their parameters in order to determine what the average synthesizer is capable of. Once this list was compiled, it was then used to generate a curriculum in which to teach synthesis to new users regardless of the make and model of the synthesizer they have access to. By creating a universal curriculum that encompasses all synthesizer formats, it is then possible to teach synthesis as a concept that can be applied to any individual instrument.



Modern MIDI

Sam McGuire with contributions from Nathan van der Rest

Focal Press 2014

A comprehensive guide to all things MIDI. Modern MIDI: Sequencing and Performing Using Traditional and Mobile Tools gives you all the tools you need to properly and effectively use MIDI in a modern setting, while still incorporating vintage MIDI gear.


Exploring typical workflows and techniques for both the studio and the performing environment, this book helps you navigate the changes that mobile computing has made to the way the music producers and engineers work with MIDI.


If you’re a MIDI user seeking to increase your efficiency and productivity while still gaining an understanding of the fundamentals of MIDI, or a music professional looking to incorporate your mobile devices into your creative process, this is the book for you. Modern MIDI shows you how to implement the necessary components to use MIDI on your iPad, Android phone, or laptop.

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