(compMus2) Soundscape Compositional Techniques

otherwise known as closet of technique, 1:

It’s important to develop a set of audio processes that you can apply to all samples as ways to generate material for your compositions. We’ve been going over some of these ways in class, but I want to make sure the list of possible things is clear. 

This post will start on techniques in Kontakt that can be used on any sample file.

Load up a sample and map it across the range of the keyboard. Use the sampler option in the playback module. Listen to the sound as you play keys across a wide range (high, low, extremes and moderate). Are there key ranges where the resulting sound is overall interesting? If so, focus on that range for further processing. Are there parts of the playback on any given note that are more interesting than others? If so, adjust your sample start and end points, and/or loop points, to focus on the more interesting part of the sound file. 

Try your samples forward (default) and in reverse. There is a reverse button available in the playback module if you select sampler as the playback mode. If you want to use reverse playback in time machine mode you need to reverse the sample in an audio editor. 

Try two or more notes with different intervals. You might get some interesting cross rhythms with loops.

Try adding a filter in the group insert effects portion of your instrument. Repeat the above steps and see what is interesting. 

Use LFO modulation on your filter cutoff frequency and/or resonance control. Random LFO waveforms can provide interesting modulations for background material. Be sure to try adjusting the amount of effect the LFO has on the parameter. Also try adjusting the lag time of the effect. 

Map MIDI note number to the cutoff frequency of a filter. Same advice as above – adjust modulation amount and lag time. Remember, more than one modulator can be mapped on to a single parameter.

Try adding reverb to the instrument insert or send effects. Try different reverb presets, but also modify as desired. Size affects reverb time. Stereo affects the stereo width of the reverb. Color adjustments are also useful. 

When working with any processor, make sure you are aware of what effect it is having on the audio. Compare the sound with the effect on and with it in bypass mode. 

If you like a sound both with and without a particular audio effect, think about using both in your composition, and crossfading between the two. Or use both at the same time with panning control.

Try the time machine in the playback module. Experiment with different playback speed percentages and grain sizes. 

Make a multi-instrument that is comprised of variations of one instrument. Make slight changes to each instrument, such as changing the playback percentage speed in time machine, using different grain lengths, using different filter settings, using different reverb settings for each instrument. Try panning the instruments to different places in the stereo field. 

Try using global effects (in the output section of the rack). Global reverbs are nice, as well as different EQ settings. I like the 3×2 filter as well.


Leave a Reply