Multichannel Spectral Synthesis in Max

Membership plan: Getting Started | Topics: Sound Design

Course overview

In this workshop you will create music based on multichannel spectral analysis and resynthesis in Max. Spectralism is a popular technique in which composers utilize the spectral profile of sound as a key feature of the process, blending harmony and timbre in interesting and novel ways. This workshop includes performing spectral analysis in the free app SPEAR, importing the frequency analysis files into Max and manipulating them to synthesize musical ideas via Max’s data (coll) and multichannel (MC) objects - the aim is to provide you with suitable skills to begin exploring multichannel spectral synthesis in the Max MSP environment.

What you'll learn

  • Identify key concepts and techniques in spectral music
  • Analyze, manipulate, and export sound data using SPEAR
  • Design a multichannel spectral synthesis system in Max
  • Explore the spectral and timbral possibilities by manipulating the spectral playback

Who is this course for?

  • Sound designers looking to get started with multichannel spectral music
  • Music producers and composers interested in learning multichannel spectralism techniques

Course content

  • 1- Introduction to Spectral Music and Synthesis
  • 2 - Analysing an audio file with SPEAR
  • 3 - Importing the SPEAR analysis into Max
  • 4 - Formatting the analysis data for multichannel synthesis
  • 5 - Playing the Analysis Back with MC Objects
  • 6 - Creating Variations on the Spectral Material


  • Computer and internet connection
  • Access to a copy of Max 8 (i.e. trial or full license)
  • Access to a copy of the free SPEAR app

Course schedule

Meet your instructor

Umut Eldem is a composer, pianist, and researcher. His musical works and research focus on the exploration of synaesthesia as an artistic medium. He has given lectures on his research of synaesthesia, and had his audiovisual works and installations combining sound and colours presented in Belgium, Turkey, Romania, Russia, and Luxembourg. Umut Eldem is currently a PhD researcher at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp, and musical director of the theatre collective Mixed & United. He gives lessons and workshops on music history, musical analysis, and audiovisual design. He is also the keyboardist of the bands Starblind = Earthbound and Transport Aerian. His current PhD research entitled ‘The Hearing Glass: Synaesthetic Correspondences in The Musical Practice’ intends to take the results of his previous research and develop them into an inter-sensory theory of audiovisual art.

Useful links

SPEAR app:

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