(compMus2) Brief Notes about Tassman

The very brief intro to Tassman

Tassman works by connecting modules together to make instruments.

  • You create your instruments in the Builder view. You play them, and adjust parameters (knobs, sliders, etc.) in the Player view.
  • Basic modules you’ll want to explore include:
    • Generators: Vco (voltage controlled oscillator), Vcs (vc sine oscillator), and Lfo (low frequency oscillator)
    • Envelopes: Adsr is the primary envelope generator. It needs to used in conjunction with a Vca (voltage controlled amplifier). You take the output of the adsr into one inlet of the vca, and the output of the Vco into the other inlet of the vca. The various Gain, Knob, Slider, and Volume modules can also be used.
    • In/Out | MIDI: Keyboard (monophonic), Polykey (polyphonic), Vkeyboard and Polyvkey for velocity sensitive keyboard input. The Vkeyboard and Polyvkey are usually used in conjunction with the Vadsr envelope (variable adsr), with velocity modulating the amount of sustain in the envelope. (Velocity could also modulate a filter frequency cutoff, etc.)
    • Mixer: Polymixer, required if you use a Polykey or Polyvkey. It must come before an output module.
    • In/Out | Outputs: Audio Out, Level (VU meter), Stereo Audio Out.
    • Filters: to come.

Tassman operates according the voltage control model of classic analog synths. Voltage input modulates a given parameter of a module. In this case, voltage input is a MIDI number (usually a note number of continuous controller). You create modulation by connecting something to a modulation input, and then setting the modulation gain input knob on the front panel of the module. This last step is very important. If you don’t raise the input modulation gain for the appropriate input, you will not get any modulation of that parameter. Setting a knob to straight up will generally give you 1 volt/octave tuning.

A basic patch with some basic connections:

  • Polyvkey, ADSR, Vco, Vca, polymixer, Stereo Audio Out
  • Polyvkey output gate signal (outlet 1) to Adsr input trigger signal (only input)
  • Polyvkey output pitch signal (outlet 2), which equals the MIDI note number, to Vco frequency modulation input #1 (top inlet). Remember to go into Player view and set the mod1 input gain to straight up.
  • Outputs of the Adsr and the Vco to the inputs of the Vca (it doesn’t matter what order).
  • Output of the Vca to the Polymixer.
  • Output of the Polymixer to Stereo Audio Out.

Now you can play with parameters, such as waveform of the Vco, settings of the Adsr, and mod1 gain of the Vco.

You can add to the fun by adding a filter between the Vca and the Polymixer. Modulate it with an envelope, velocity signal, or Lfo.

Saving and Loading Instruments

  • Remember that your saved instrument is part of a single database file for Tassman. Once you save an instrument, it will show up under the instrument heading in the file browser.
  • To truly save your instrument, you need to select the saved version in the file browser and choose File | Export from the menu. Pick a spot to save it. Copy that file to some type of backup.
  • To get your instrument back into Tassman next time you work, choose File | Import, locate the file, and hit ok. Your instrument will show up in a folder under the Import heading in the browser.

More fun tomorrow.


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