I'm not an electronic music expert, but I'm confused about , and how it differs from . Is the process of creating new sounds for a ? Or something else entirely?

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    Synthesis (σύνθεσις) in Greek means composition. Apr 29, 2015 at 16:40

1 Answer 1


Synthesis is almost always used to refer the the technology inside the synthesizer that actually produces the sounds. Examples would include Analog Synthesis (like the old Roland 303, 202, Juno 6 Synths), FM synthesis (the Yamaha DX7), Sample and synthesis (known under various proprietary names) is the most common, it starts with a sampled sound which is then modified by the internal filters.

The sample methods allow for more simultaneous notes to be played. This is called polyphony. More powerful hardware has led to analog modeling synthesis, which attempts to achieve the widely preferred sound of the old analog boards, without as much limitation in polyphony.

When you are creating the sounds your synthesizer will produce, you are programming the synth. Think of synthesis as the engine of your synthesizer.

  • So is synthesis really a separate topic from synthesizer or should they be synonyms?
    – Josiah
    Apr 28, 2015 at 13:50
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    They are not synonyms but they are not separate. A piano and a harpsichord both have keyboards, but the internal mechanism for producing sound is different, so they get played differently. The term synthesizer implies synthesis, but you could talk about synthesis without it (but that would probably be an engineering discussion). The way to build a cloud would be to have a synthesizer tag, and tags for the kinds of synthesis (FM, Analog etc.) Or if you want less tags, just call the tag Synths & Synthesis. Synth is always short for the whole instrument.
    – Jay Skyler
    Apr 28, 2015 at 14:53
  • Thanks for the explanation.
    – Josiah
    Apr 28, 2015 at 15:50

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