Digital Sound & Music: Concepts, Applications, & Science, Chapter 6, last updated 6/25/2013
Figure 6.60 Oscillator block stripped down
In its most basic functionality, the oscillator block simply generates an audio signal of
some kind. In this case, we chose to provide several different options for the audio signal,
including an object for generating basic sine waves (cycle~), sawtooth waves (saw~), square
waves (rect~) and triangle waves (tri~). Each of these objects takes a number in to its leftmost
inlet to set its frequency. The selector~ object is used to select between multiple signals, and the
desired signal is passed through based on the waveform selected in the connected user interface
dropdown menu (umenu). The inlets and outlets may seem strange when used in a standalone
patcher file, and at this stage they aren’t really useful. However, when the file is linked into the
bpatcher object, these inlets and outlets appear on the bpatcher and allow you access to these
signals and control values in the main synth patcher.
While this module alone would enable you to begin synthesizing simple sounds, one of
the purposes of the modular synthesizer blocks is to be able to wire them together to control each
other in interesting ways. In this respect, we may want to consider ways to control or manipulate
our oscillator block. The primary parameter in the case of the oscillator is the oscillator
frequency, so we should incorporate some control elements for it. Perhaps we would want to
increase or decrease the oscillator frequency, or even scale it by an external factor. Consider the
way some of the software or hardware synths previously discussed in this chapter have
manipulated the oscillator frequency. Looking back at the programming mode for this block,
you may recall seeing several inlets labeled “frequency control” and some additional connected
objects. A close view of these can be seen in Figure 6.49.
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