Synthesis with Max: Physical Modelling

Level: Intermediate

What you will learn in this course

Cycling 74’s Max / MSP offers a vast playground of programming opportunities to create your own synthesis devices. In this workshop you will build your own synthesis device that utilizes a Physical Modelling architecture. This workshop aims to provide you with suitable skills to begin exploring Physical Modelling synthesis devices in the Max MSP environment.

Session Learning Outcomes

By the end of this session you will be able to:

  • Build Physical Modelling devices via MSP oscillator objects
  • Explore Physical Modelling spectral sonic properties

  • Construct modulation sources for Physical Modelling synthesis devices

  • Define the sonic timbre and strengths and weakness of Physical Modelling synthesis

Session Study Topics

  • MSP oscillator objects for Physical Modelling
  • Sonograms, scopes and the frequency domain

  • LFO, line & envelope properties

  • Physical Modelling’s timbre. Strengths and weaknesses


  • A computer and internet connection
  • A good working knowledge of computer systems
  • An basic awareness of audio processing
  • Good familiarity with MSP
  • Access to a copy of Max 8 (i.e. trial or full license)

About the workshop leader

Ned Rush aka Duncan Wilson is a musician, producer and performer. He’s known best for his YouTube channel, which features a rich and vast quantity of videos including tutorials, software development, visual art, sound design, internet comedy, and of course music.