Generative Music Tools: LFOs and Pitch Quantization – On demand

Level: Intermediate

There are a broad array of techniques musicians can use to generate music in Max. One fundamental component of traditional analogue synthesiser use is the LFO, or low-frequency oscillator. Additionally, pitch quantization can be an extremely powerful tool, especially when used alongside the values generated by an LFO.

This workshop will provide you with the information to construct both devices in Max, giving you a broader palette of compositional tools.

Session Learning Outcomes:

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

  • Learn the basics of LFOs and pitch quantizers.

  • Build a standalone LFO patch with variable waveforms and a functional UI.

  • Build a quantizer which will map incoming pitch values to user-defined scales/modes.

  • Use both devices to control parameters of sound synthesis and assist in generative music composition.

Session Study Topics

  • Generative music

  • LFOs and waveforms

  • Pitch quantization

  • Composition through MIDI and software instrument manipulation.


  • A computer and internet connection
  •  Access to a copy of Max 7 or 8 (i.e. trial or full license)

About the workshop leader 

Samuel Pearce-Davies is a composer, performer, music programmer and Max hacker living in Cornwall, UK.

With a classical music background, it was his introduction to Max/MSP during undergraduate studies at Falmouth University that sparked Sam’s passion for music programming and algorithmic composition.

Going on to complete a Research Masters in computer music, Sam is now studying a PhD at Plymouth University in music-focused AI