MATRIXSYNTH: Learning Modular Conversations with guest host Todd Barton

Friday, November 26, 2021

Learning Modular Conversations with guest host Todd Barton

video upload by Learning Modular

"This is the replay of the September 2021 "ask me anything" Zoom session for Patreon subscribers of Learning Modular ( In this second session, Todd Barton ( was asking questions of Chris Meyer of Learning Modular, and moderating questions from the live attendees covering modular synthesis composition, performances, and systems. Subscribers to Todd's Patreon channel ( were also invited.

If you would like the opportunity to view these sessions live and ask your own questions, subscribe to Learning Modular on Patreon ( The August host was Trovarsi, and the October host was Kim Bjørn, with two more sessions planned to fill out 2021. Your response to these replays will determine if we continue them in 2022.

Here is an index to the subjects discussed in this session:

00:00 Introduction
01:33 What is the meaning of life? (Yes, Todd actually asked Chris that, and yes, Chris answered)
02:07 How does Chris not get overwhelmed when approaching The Monster to create a piece of music?
04:43 How does Chris know what he wants to compose?
06:28 Is there a narrative or structure to Chris’ work, or does he create free-form?
08:43 Thoughts from Chris and Todd on compositional “forms” for electronic music
15:47 When to ignore the 'rules'; when to lean on them
19:17 When to introduce a change in the music
23:50 Patching for evolution
28:03 Chris’ lighting during recent music videos
31:22 How much of a performance is written out versus improvised?
35:55 Editing improvisations down to tracks for an album
39:12 How do you organize it when more than one person is improvising together?
42:20 What is coming up for both of us?
45:00 Using synths as individual instruments versus cross-pollinating them
51:20 Todd on the new Buchla Music Easel
54:56 Patching 'from zero' versus pre-patching
56:26 Chris on color-coding patch cables
57:43 Creating the patch symbol language for Patch & Tweak
01:01:18 Serge Tcherepnin’s approach to creating synthesizers
01:04:55 Approaches to stereo and quad sound
01:15:00 Do we use MIDI?"

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