These are my music-related books. Click on the links on the left for further details of the books. If you want to know about some of my non-music books, check out my website.
Analog synthesis works by taking a sound source and shaping it with a filter. This is a simple but powerful technique which allows you to create warm, rich, energetic, and commanding sounds, and with some care you will find tones with detail, complexity, and delicacy.
You will have heard these techniques used on many recordings and will immediately recognize the sounds they produce. After reading How to Make a Noise: Analog Synthesis you will be able to create and control these classic sounds when you apply the techniques to hardware or software synthesizers.
FM synthesis adopts a completely different approach to creating sounds when compared with either analog or sample-based synthesis. Instead of starting with a bright sound and making it dull and/or shaping it with a filter, FM synthesis starts with a simple wave—usually a sine wave—and distorts it (usually with another sine wave). The interaction between the two (or more) waves creates and shapes the sound over time.
How to Make a Noise: Frequency Modulation Synthesis shows you how to create a broad, detailed, highly nuanced range of controllable tones. These principles can then be applied to any synthesizer with frequency modulation capabilities.
Sample-based synthesizers can be used to create the sound of a full orchestra or individual instruments. They can replicate the sound of a full drum kit, delicate vintage gear, and specialist instruments. Samplers allow one musician to play the bagpipes, a harp, a lute, and a whole orchestra, all at the push of a button.
As well as offering the facility to recreate the sound of real instruments with a high degree of sonic fidelity, sample-based synthesis also allows real sounds to be used as the basis for new sounds. These sounds can then be manipulated and mangled to create unimagined sounds with genuine complexity and depth.
How to Make a Noise: Sample-Based Synthesis looks at how to sample, create, and control sounds—from high fidelity realistic recreations of real instrument in their original environment, through creative warped tones, to drums and loops—and the tools and techniques that are available to help.
Jumpstart Your Music Career is for every musician who wants to earn a living—and to sustain a long-term career—making music. It offers the musician a path to proactively manage and develop their own career, by focusing on:
- Finding, building, and maintaining a fan base.
- Leveraging the fan base to generate a sustainable source of income.
By bringing the two elements together the musician can then develop a strategy to forge a long-term career making music.
How to Make a Noise: iPad Synthesizers Edition looks at how to create and control sounds using iPad synthesizers.
The book introduces sound creation from first principles focusing on each element in turn: sound sources, filters, envelopes, low frequency oscillators and other modulation sources, FX, frequency modulation synthesis, and brings the pieces together as you begin to create and control your own sounds. It illustrates each aspect with examples using five synthesizers available for the iPad: BassLine, ReBirth, iELECTRIBE, iMS-20, and NLogSynth Pro.
Cakewalk Synthesizers: From Presets to Power User, second edition is the ultimate guide to understanding and using all of Cakewalk's synthesizers and learning about synthesizer programming.
The book features the complete range of Cakewalk (and rgc:audio) synthesizers, including Rapture, Rapture LE, Dimension Pro, Dimension LE, Beatscape, Session Drummer 2 and Session Drummer 3, Z3TA+, and Pentagon I. There's also a free download to accompany the book.
Becoming a Synthesizer Wizard: From Presets to Power User is for:
- People who are new to synthesis and who want to understand the basics and take their first steps in creating and controlling sounds with synthesizers.
- Musicians who are familiar with synthesis, but who want to solidify or expand their knowledge so they can use their tools more fully.
- Anyone who wants to build, share, and perhaps sell their own synthesizers.
The book looks at synthesis from first principles. It focuses on the elements of synthesis and the building blocks, and it highlights its examples using four leading modular synthesizers (Zebra 2, KarmaFX Synth Modular, VAZ Modular, and SynthEdit). From these building blocks, the book looks at a range of sound building techniques that can be used with the featured synthesizers, or can be readily applied to any other synthesizer.
The book is also a great introduction to SynthEdit for anyone who wants to create—and then share or sell—their own synthesizers.
How To Make A Noise: A Comprehensive Guide to Synthesizer Programming, is perhaps the most widely read book about synthesizer programming (and there's a free downloadable version, too). It is a comprehensive, practical guide to sound design and synthesizer programming techniques using:
- subtractive (analog) synthesis
- frequency modulation synthesis (including phase modulation and ring modulation)
- additive synthesis
- sample-based synthesis
Making music is only half the story if you want to earn your living making music: the other half is the business. Rocking Your Music Business:
- introduces the business of music, and
- tells you what you need to do to set up and run that business—both in terms of what you need to do, and the tools you need to run that business at home and on the road.
You don't need a major record label to have a career—especially with all of the changes that the industry has been undergoing in the last few years—but you do need a successful business and business infrastructure, and Rocking Your Music Business is the handbook that needs to be on the bookshelf of every musician who wants to take their business as seriously as they take their music.
Sample This! Third Edition
The book has been written for both experienced musicians who are looking to expand their understanding of how to use the most modern tools that are available to them and for first time users of samplers. Sample This! also includes a coupon for a free PC VSTi sample-based synthesizer together with a wide range of sample material.
Project5 Power! is the comprehensive guide to using this sophisticated piece of software (both versions 2.0 and 2.5) and the included synthesizers, effects, and loop tools in all stages of the music creation process from the first beat through to producing a CD and putting your tracks on the web.