You know the sound. Listen to Devo’s “Whip It” or Parliament’s “Flash Light.” Like countless modern pop songs, they’re full of sounds that aren’t made by acoustic instruments; the sound is pure synthetic. You’re listening to electricity manipulated by a machine.
The machine of course is the synthesizer, and it’s been one of the most crucial building blocks of contemporary music. And yet, how many of us know how a synth works? How do a bunch of wonky tones coming out of a box covered in knobs and buttons translate to the memorable sounds of disco, or synthpop, or house or electro or EDM or Taylor Swift?
This guide is an attempt to demystify the ubiquitous sonic gadget—not for audiophiles or synth nerds, but for anyone that listens to music in the 21st century and is curious about how it’s made.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.