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1 Fluidsynth

A real-time software synthesizer based on the SoundFont 2 specifications.

1.1 Sound Font 2 Webpage


1.2 Fluidsynth Webpage

Fluidsynth webpage

One of zynthian's primary instrument weapons. It handles sf2 sample files which can contain a range of samples. Fluidsynth itself doesn't have a graphical frontend but it's designed specifically to allow other software to control it remotely which has lead to a range of control surfaces, of which the early use in zynthian demonstrates the flexibility of this approach.

Pianos, organs, strings, harpsichords, marimbas, guitars, bass

So you have access to the many sf2 files that are out there providing ranges of samples to impersonate almost any instrument one could model from a western 12 note scale!

Most people will simply load up the appropriate files and use them exactly as is and the zynthian parameters

1.3 Parameters

Parameter Description Comments
volume Example Example
pan Example Example
modulation wheel Example Example
expression Example Example
Parameter Description Comments
legato Example Example
breath Example Example
sostenuto Example Example
sustain Example Example
Parameter Description Comments
portamento on/off Example Example
portomento control Example Example
portamento time-course Example Example
portamento time-fine Example Example
Parameter Description Comments
env.attack Example Example
env.release Example Example
filter cut off Example Example
filter resonance Example Example

1.4 Other uses

But it doesn't have to be a full range of sounds ...

For instance I have 8 church bells in a sf2 file allocated to the keys of the F major scale which plays the appropriate sound when pressed.

There are also some Mellotron & it's antecedents sf2 files out there ( I bought mine) that allow the features like the foxtrot and a lead saxaphone to be played in single finger fashion....

1.5 Polyphone

Polyphone website

If you do wish to get creative with SF2 files then you will arrive very quickly at Polyphone. This is a truly wonderful tool for preparing and treating audio samples for use in sound fonts.

It used to be a bit of a pain to load on a Pi but there is a package in the Pi package manager for it now. There are MAC, Windows versions available from the Download page. Can't recommend this highly enough. Fantastic for soundscape work...