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Mark Polishook tutorial

Binary messages

The pattern for a binary message is


For example

is a receiver (the object to which a message is sent), a binary operator, and an operand.

Mixing = addition

Use addition (a binary operation) to mix two or more ugens.


Rewrite the previous example with the Mix ugen.

Or use Mix.arFill to create the same result.

Every time the function is evaluated, the argument i is incremented. So i equals 0 the first time the function is evaluated, i equals 1 the second time, i equals 2, the third time, and so on.

Scaling = multiplication

Apply an envelope, in the form of a low-frequency sine wave, to a WhiteNoise generator.


Dynamically modulate any parameter in a ugen (such as frequency, phase, or amplitude) with an envelope.

Setting the doneAction argument (control) to 2 insures that after the envelope reaches its endpoint, SuperCollider will release the memory it used for the instances of the SinOsc and the EnvGen.

Keyword arguments

Keywords make code easier to read and they allow arguments to be presented in any order. Here, the doneAction and the timeScale arguments are expressed in keyword style.


Additive Synthesis

Additive synthesis is as its name says. Components are added (mixed) together.


The promise of additive synthesis is that one can add sine waves to create any sound that can be imagined.

The problem of additive synthesis is that each and every sine wave and their envelopes have to be specified explicitly.

Create nuanced textures by scaling sine waves with envelopes and then mixing the result.

(Or use the Klang ugen to produce a similar effect).

Ring modulation

Multiply two UGens.

Amplitude modulation

Multiply two UGens and restrict the value of the modulator to positive values (use the .abs message to calculate 'absolute' value) to create what Charles Dodge calls "classic" amplitude modulation.


Compare "classic" amplitude modulation and ring modulation


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