Learn Synthesis with Pure Data S01E07
August 26, 2021

Learn Synthesis with Pure Data S01E07 – Adding MIDI Pitchbend to Our Synthesizer

MIDI Pitchbend in Pure Data

Learn Synthesis with Pure Data S01E07 – Adding MIDI Pitchbend to Our Synthesizer

Learn Synthesis with Pure Data S01E07 – Adding MIDI Pitchbend to Our Synthesizer

MIDI pitchbend is a special controller in the MIDI protocol that allows one to bend pitches smoothly. As we are building our synthesizer in Pure Data, we need to see how we can convert this 14 bit controller data stream into frequency information that allows for the bending of pitch up and down. In this video, we will see how to do that and add this functionality to the synthesizer we are building in PD. By the end of this video, we will see how to smoothly bend pitch up and down at definable ranges of semitones. Pitchbend functionality adds a whole new dynamic to the synthesis of sound.

The pitchbend data stream in MIDI is a 14-bit stream. It’s range of values is 0 – 16383 and allows for a great deal more resolution than other MIDI controller messages. As such, it must be handled uniquely when implementing pitchbend control over an audio signal. In this video, we see exactly how to do that. Adding this pitchbend functionality to our synthesizer will allow one to select how wide of a range that he or she wants to be able to bend pitch and then use a standard pitchbend wheel or touch strip to then bend pitch up and down from a central frequency within their own specified ranges.

While this process requires some math skills, the most important requirement in logical thinking. One needs to know how to transform number range values in a logical way that also provides ease of use and intuitive response to the performer. This video shows how this can be done.

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