Synth 101: Learning the Basics

A three-part tutorial that introduces you to the world of synthesizers.

Synthesizers are enjoying their biggest wave of popularity since they first came onto the mainstream cultural radar in the 1970s and 1980s.

Are you wondering what the fuss is all about?

Find out in the free “Synth 101” three-part tutorial available at – an online community for Yamaha synthesizer, workstation and stage piano users seeking tips, sound libraries and support.

In Part I you’ll learn what a synthesizer is and what makes it different from other kinds of electronic keyboards. You’ll also find an introduction to various synth techniques and definitions of basic terms such as waveform, filtering, and software synthesizers.

Part II takes a deeper dive into the many different musical purposes of synthesis (i.e., emulating real sounds versus creating never-before-heard ones) and provides a detailed answer to the all-important question, “What’s the difference between analog and digital?”

Finally, Part III covers the “how” – the various methods synthesizers use to create their sounds, including comprehensive definitions of subtractive, additive and FM synthesis, as well as sampling and modeling – along with the pros and cons of each.

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