Reflection- Synthesizer Interactive Timeline

After reflecting on the feasibility of what I can achieve within six weeks with no prior coding knowledge, I have decided to limit my project, an interactive timeline of music technology, to explore elements of electronic music synthesis. I hope to create an interactive timeline with analog synthesizers, frequency modulation synthesizers, wave-table synthesizers, sample-based synthesizers, software synthesizers, and other significant types of synthesizers. Synthesizers can often be unintuitive to newcomers because, unlike acoustic instruments, their interfaces consist of high-technological components: knobs, patch cable inputs (in the case of modular synthesizers), buttons, and tiny screens with layers of menus. Many functions on synthesizers have technologically advanced labels that require prior electronics knowledge to understand the physical processes taking place to shape the sound, such as: Low-Pass Filter, Low Frequency Oscillator, and Envelope Generator. I hope to familiarize people who are unfamiliar with electronic music synthesizers by creating a timeline with interactive digital representations of different types of synthesizers, self-produced music samples that demonstrate the sonic character of each type of synthesizer, and information on the historical context of each type of synthesizer in musical works and music industry. The hardest part of this will be acquiring the coding knowledge needed to make these digital representations truly interactive. I want someone using my project to be able to use their mouse to flick a virtual switch, press a virtual button, or turn a virtual knob and witness a change in the sound created. I will need to educate myself through online materials on coding and digital media, but also ask for an expert’s advice. This element of my project will be challenging, but it is important to me because I have learned that experimentation is a crucial factor in learning to intuitively use synthesizers to make music. Creating music samples will be a much easier task because of my experience doing so, but I will have to become more familiar with some forms of synthesis that I have neglected in the past. Finally, I will need to address the cultural impact of different forms of synthesis. I will do this through adding text that describes the historical context of each different form of synthesis and adding links to outside media. By taking this three-pronged approach to my project, I hope to make this project truly interdisciplinary by developing and employing technical skills, music composition skills, and writing skills.

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