What's the most effective way to understand terminology?

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What's the most effective way to understand terminology?

Post by MatrixGravity » Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:23 am

In my few years of producing music, I've come across a variety of electronic terms that I'm familiar with, but I don't understand well enough to explain them myself. Now, I'm not asking anybody here to explain what these words mean. Rather, I'm just asking for a good way that I can learn and understand them myself. What kind of books can I buy in order to learn about this type of stuff and understand it well enough? I just want to be able to understand music on a technical level. I just want to be knowledgeable. I just want to understand this stuff, and be able to explain it to other people if needed. Please help. Thank you!

-Arpeggiator
-Attack
-Automation
-Bass
-Compression
-Cutoff
-Decay
-Decibel
-Delay
-Distortion
-EQ
-Envelope
-Flanger
-Gain
-Gater
-Highpass
-LFO
-Lead
-Lowcut
-Lowpass
-Modulation
-MIDI
-Panning
-Phaser
-Parameter
-Plugin
-Release
-Resonance
-Reverb
-Sustain
-Synth
-Treble
-VST
Last edited by MatrixGravity on Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What's the most effective way to understand terminology?

Post by jeffrey1121 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:41 am

whoa there, don't strain yourself! welcome to VSE!

Here's an example of a book you could buy:

or you could wiki it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthesizer

But honestly, I would recommend simple experimentation to understand what each of these things means. That's how I learned m'synthy smarts. Plus it doesn't help that much of this stuff is made more bewildering when you approach it from a very technical standpoint. You have to have patience more than anything and at the same time you must be very self-forgiving because most of this is indeed very complicated. There really isn't any "fast way" to learn this stuff. :|

I can't be alone when I say that even though I've been doing this for about 8 years, there are still some things I don't understand. side-chaining? :? FM synthesis? :? h**l, I barely know how reverbs work. I would even go as far to say that only the most mentally gifted amongst us here understand 100% of everything there is to know about synths/software/production.

that's all I have, hope it helps.

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Re: What's the most effective way to understand terminology?

Post by Kidney05 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:47 am

This almost feels like a fun test, because I think I could tell you what any one of those means! If you want, pick 5 and i'll try explaining to start.

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Re: What's the most effective way to understand terminology?

Post by silikon » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:04 am

VSE has a glossary of terms; here

Not to sound trite, but Google is a wonderful resource, as is wikipedia;

Sound on sound have a pretty wide array of tutiorials and outright explanations here

There are magazines (Future Music, Computer Music, Sound On Sound, Tape-Op, Etc.,)

If you want synthesis broken down in terms of what each section or module does, I suggest going to Doepfer's website, downloading their A-100 manual here (careful, it's like 40MB) and read through all the modules and what they do. This serves you well because many of the modules in an A100 system can be found in other machines; then you'll be able to understand a bit more, and have a little understanding how parts of the synthesizer relate to each other and what function they serve in the overall signal flow.

edit: Forgot -- Muffwiggler's Forum also... this topic specifically - Right here.
echo 1 > /dev/awesome

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Re: What's the most effective way to understand terminology?

Post by GuyaGuy » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:14 am

jeffrey1121 wrote:whoa there, don't strain yourself! welcome to VSE!

Here's an example of a book you could buy:

or you could wiki it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthesizer

But honestly, I would recommend simple experimentation to understand what each of these things means. That's how I learned m'synthy smarts. Plus it doesn't help that much of this stuff is made more bewildering when you approach it from a very technical standpoint. You have to have patience more than anything and at the same time you must be very self-forgiving because most of this is indeed very complicated. There really isn't any "fast way" to learn this stuff. :|

I can't be alone when I say that even though I've been doing this for about 8 years, there are still some things I don't understand. side-chaining? :? FM synthesis? :? h**l, I barely know how reverbs work. I would even go as far to say that only the most mentally gifted amongst us here understand 100% of everything there is to know about synths/software/production.

that's all I have, hope it helps.
Yep, pretty good book, although I never really used his MO for creating patches. And yeah, to really understand them you should get your hands dirty to see how things work and sound.

The Sound on Sound "Synth Secrets" articles are pretty good for an overview of synthesis, although they can often be a bit involved and technical: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may99/a ... nthsec.htm

Some of the terms on the list aren't specifically related to synths; most of those can be found in a book like Creative Recording, which can be picked up used for a couple of bucks: Effects & Processing:

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Re: What's the most effective way to understand terminology?

Post by sequentialsoftshock » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:16 am

-Arpeggiator: Makes the notes go boop de bop be boop bop playing single notes of a chord.
-Attack: How quickly or slowly the sound starts.
-Automation: Automates things. Like. Makes them do things without your input.
-Bass: :lol:
-Compression: Limiting sonic frequencies & boosting others to match a set decibel level. Or some s**t.
-Cutoff: Kind of like brightness or "grit"
-Decay: The measure of how long it takes to peak into sustain.
-Decibel: Measure of loudness.
-Del- f**k IT.

I give up. No offense, but do you know ANYTHING about music ? It's okay if you don't, but some of these are VERY basic. Welcome to the forums though !
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Re: What's the most effective way to understand terminology?

Post by MatrixGravity » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:27 am

sequentialsoftshock wrote:-Arpeggiator: Makes the notes go boop de bop be boop bop playing single notes of a chord.
-Attack: How quickly or slowly the sound starts.
-Automation: Automates things. Like. Makes them do things without your input.
-Bass: :lol:
-Compression: Limiting sonic frequencies & boosting others to match a set decibel level. Or some s**t.
-Cutoff: Kind of like brightness or "grit"
-Decay: The measure of how long it takes to peak into sustain.
-Decibel: Measure of loudness.
-Del- f**k IT.

I give up. No offense, but do you know ANYTHING about music ? It's okay if you don't, but some of these are VERY basic. Welcome to the forums though !
No offense taken. Yes, I know quite a bit. I've been producing for over three years, (FL Studio).

Like I said earlier, I am familiar with the majority of these terms. I just don't know them well enough to be able to explain them, if that makes sense. I use functions like "cutoff, attack, reverb,etc" all the time.

I just want to take the time to actually learn how they work and be able to understand them thoroughly. I talk to a lot of other producers, and if I ask them a basic question like, "can you explain what Cutoff does?", they IMMEDIATELY know! They know it so well that they are able to explain it effortlessly.

THAT's where I want to be. That's the knowledge I am after. I want to be able to be that smart about music. I just want to be able to know enough to explain it. That's it.

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Re: What's the most effective way to understand terminology?

Post by sequentialsoftshock » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:31 am

Alright I get it. Have you been working solely in software ? It might help to pickup a decent synthesizer with knobs to really dig in and figure it out by use.
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Re: What's the most effective way to understand terminology?

Post by MatrixGravity » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:33 am

jeffrey1121 wrote:whoa there, don't strain yourself! welcome to VSE!

Here's an example of a book you could buy:

or you could wiki it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthesizer

But honestly, I would recommend simple experimentation to understand what each of these things means. That's how I learned m'synthy smarts. Plus it doesn't help that much of this stuff is made more bewildering when you approach it from a very technical standpoint. You have to have patience more than anything and at the same time you must be very self-forgiving because most of this is indeed very complicated. There really isn't any "fast way" to learn this stuff. :|

I can't be alone when I say that even though I've been doing this for about 8 years, there are still some things I don't understand. side-chaining? :? FM synthesis? :? h**l, I barely know how reverbs work. I would even go as far to say that only the most mentally gifted amongst us here understand 100% of everything there is to know about synths/software/production.

that's all I have, hope it helps.
Thanks! Looks like a good book. I will definitely try to see if I can buy it. I definitely see what you mean.

But I wish it was as easy as reading though.It's much harder for me. For example, if I look up the definition on google for LFO, I get this.

"An LFO is a low frequency oscillator specifically designed for applications lower than the discernible frequency span."

It just doesn't make sense to me at all. I can read it over and over but I still understand absolutely nothing. It's just too overwhelming. How am I supposed to grasp this stuff when it's explained in such a difficult manner? It's pretty discouraging you know? I want to learn this stuff, but at the same time it's so technical and I just don't know how to really grasp it.

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Re: What's the most effective way to understand terminology?

Post by sequentialsoftshock » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:35 am

An LFO isn't necessarily an audible sound, but it can trigger something to repeat etc. It's a modulator hat can be tuned sometimes to audible spectrum.
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Re: What's the most effective way to understand terminology?

Post by MatrixGravity » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:36 am

sequentialsoftshock wrote:An LFO isn't necessarily an audible sound, but it can trigger something to repeat etc. It's a modulator hat can be tuned sometimes to audible spectrum.
Once again, I don't understand those type of words, so that kind of stuff goes right over my head.

"modulator," "audible spectrum". None of that means anything to me because I don't understand any of it..

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Re: What's the most effective way to understand terminology?

Post by tekkentool » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:44 am

Those people who are more capable of explaining are more than likely just more experienced than you. If you've spent 3 years producing but have difficulty explaining these terms quickly off the top of your head with no effort you're either some kind of folk musician or you haven't been spending enough time and effort on it. Spend more time producing and researching and the knowledge comes, I learnt the first time by lurking the forums here and f**k around with VST's. Lurk some, google some, play some.

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Re: What's the most effective way to understand terminology?

Post by Kidney05 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:55 am

tekkentool wrote:Those people who are more capable of explaining are more than likely just more experienced than you. If you've spent 3 years producing but have difficulty explaining these terms quickly off the top of your head with no effort you're either some kind of folk musician or you haven't been spending enough time and effort on it. Spend more time producing and researching and the knowledge comes, I learnt the first time by lurking the forums here and f**k around with VST's. Lurk some, google some, play some.
to go three years and not know what modulation is... or any of that stuff... :? :shock: :roll:

OP, just google or look up anything you don't know for definitions. you'll get the hang of it soon.

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Re: What's the most effective way to understand terminology?

Post by MatrixGravity » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:56 am

tekkentool wrote:Those people who are more capable of explaining are more than likely just more experienced than you. If you've spent 3 years producing but have difficulty explaining these terms quickly off the top of your head with no effort you're either some kind of folk musician or you haven't been spending enough time and effort on it. Spend more time producing and researching and the knowledge comes, I learnt the first time by lurking the forums here and f**k around with VST's. Lurk some, google some, play some.
No, the reason why I don't understand music terminology is because I never music seriously enough to want to learn. I spent my first 2 years producing music, just as a hobby. I experimented with VST's, I made tracks, that's it. Now, it's my third year, and I'd like to take it more seriously and learn the terminology.

But like I said, every-time I attempt to read about music, I never get anywhere because it's all so complex and hard to understand.

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Re: What's the most effective way to understand terminology?

Post by MatrixGravity » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:57 am

Kidney05 wrote:
tekkentool wrote:Those people who are more capable of explaining are more than likely just more experienced than you. If you've spent 3 years producing but have difficulty explaining these terms quickly off the top of your head with no effort you're either some kind of folk musician or you haven't been spending enough time and effort on it. Spend more time producing and researching and the knowledge comes, I learnt the first time by lurking the forums here and f**k around with VST's. Lurk some, google some, play some.
to go three years and not know what modulation is... or any of that stuff... :? :shock: :roll:

OP, just google or look up anything you don't know for definitions. you'll get the hang of it soon.
It's really not that surprising. Three years I spent making music as a hobby, I didn't care about learning anything technical like that. Why would I waste my time on something that was purely for fun? Now that I'm taking it more seriously, now I'm trying to learn.

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