Tags: posts polarity-music Frequency Modulation Phase Modulation Synthesizers Video Editing Gravity Modulator

Exploring the World of Frequency Modulation and Creating Rhythmic Videos

Tutorial | May 21, 2019

In this video, I discuss the topic of frequency modulation (FM) and the differences between exponential and linear FM. I explain how exponential FM works by modulating the nodes of an oscillator, while linear FM modulates the frequency directly. I also mention the confusion between phase modulation (PM) and frequency modulation in some synthesizers. I highlight the Phase 4 synthesizer as a great tool for FM sounds and talk about my recent EP release on Bandcamp. I share my process of creating music videos, focusing on creating the music first and then editing the video to fit the music. I explain how I use empty wave files to create a BPM grid in Final Cut. Lastly, I provide an update on the gravity modulator in the Bitwig Discord community and thank viewers for their engagement and support.

You can watch the Video on Youtube - support me on Patreon

Questions & Answers

Maybe you dont watch the video, here are some important takeaways:

Questions and Answers

1. What is the difference between exponential frequency modulation and linear frequency modulation?

Exponential frequency modulation involves modulating the nodes of a sine wave oscillator with an audio signal, resulting in a pitch modulation that follows an exponential curve. On the other hand, linear frequency modulation directly modulates the frequency using the modulate out and can only be achieved with a limited range of frequencies in the current setup. Exponential frequency modulation is often easier to implement, while linear frequency modulation requires additional steps to neutralize the curve or pitch mapping from the nodes to achieve a linear curve.

2. Is there confusion between frequency modulation (FM) and phase modulation (PM) in some synthesizers?

Yes, there is often confusion between frequency modulation and phase modulation in synthesizers. Some synths, like the DX7 and FM8, are labeled as FM synths, but they actually perform phase modulation. This discrepancy in labeling can cause confusion because phase modulation and frequency modulation have different techniques and outcomes, even though they both involve modulating the frequency or pitch of an oscillator. It's important to understand the specific modulation technique used in a synthesizer to avoid misunderstandings.

3. How can the Phase 4 synthesizer be used to create FM-type sounds?

The Phase 4 synthesizer is well-suited for creating frequency modulation (FM) sounds. It offers various features that allow for the generation of complex FM-like sounds. In particular, the soft clip function in Phase 4 is effective for creating aggressive bass sounds commonly found in genres like dubstep and drum and bass. By using the sine wave and adjusting the soft clip knob, users can achieve dynamic and distorted bass tones. The Phase 4 synthesizer is highly recommended for those looking to explore FM-type sounds.

4. What is the process of creating videos with music in Bitwig?

When creating videos with music in Bitwig, it is recommended to first create the music and then import it into a video editing software like Final Cut. This approach allows for a focused and coherent musical composition without being influenced by the visual elements. To synchronize the video with the music, empty wave files can be exported from Bitwig, representing the desired tempo and bar divisions. These wave files can then be used in Final Cut as a grid or guide for aligning the video footage. Visual effects and techniques, such as light scope, mirroring, and lens flares, can be applied in the video editing software to enhance the visuals. This method prioritizes the music and ensures a cohesive integration of audio and video elements in the final product.


This is what im talking about in this video. The text is transcribed by AI, so it might not be perfect. If you find any mistakes, please let me know.
You can also click on the timestamps to jump to the right part of the video, which should be helpful.

[00:00:00] Hey, I wanted to make a small video about certain stuff that happened in the recent days.
[00:00:07] And one topic that a lot of people are interested in is this frequency modulation topic, where
[00:00:13] I showed you basically exponential frequency modulation, where you track the audio out
[00:00:22] of a sine wave oscillator into the pitch input jack.
[00:00:27] So you modulate with the audio the pitch of an oscillator.
[00:00:33] And that's not real frequency modulation.
[00:00:36] It's still frequency modulation, but it's called more or less exponential frequency
[00:00:41] modulation because you modulate the nodes.
[00:00:48] And the nodes have different step size than a linear frequency curve.
[00:00:53] So you have more like an exponential curve in the pitch or in the frequency modulation.
[00:01:00] And what people want is basically linear frequency modulation, where you modulate the frequency
[00:01:08] and you can only do that with the modulate out.
[00:01:13] And you can modulate this slider here, which is the frequency and not the pitch.
[00:01:20] And the problem with that is that the range of these frequencies here are not that high.
[00:01:27] It's only 27 Hertz minus negative and positive.
[00:01:34] So you basically can do real frequency modulation in the grid right now.
[00:01:41] You can try to use this method here, which I've shown you, and put something in between
[00:01:48] to basically neutralize the curve or the pitch mapping from the nodes to the frequencies
[00:01:57] to get a real linear curve, basically.
[00:02:02] But it's very hard to do and phase modulation is much more easier to do, but it's still
[00:02:09] called phase modulation.
[00:02:12] There's also, I think, a lot of confusion also for myself that a lot of synths actually do
[00:02:18] phase modulation and they are called frequency modulation, but they do phase modulation like
[00:02:25] DX7, I heard, and FM8 and so on.
[00:02:29] So it's basically, it says they do FM, but they really do PM.
[00:02:37] And yeah, that's basically that you always can learn.
[00:02:42] So I'm not so a technical person.
[00:02:46] I'm more like a musical person.
[00:02:48] I do music.
[00:02:50] I don't create instruments.
[00:02:52] And yeah, I wanted to put this out to the show basically where I did it wrong or to show
[00:03:02] you people what's going on with this topic.
[00:03:06] And yeah, there's this video and you can look it up on YouTube.
[00:03:11] I put a link in the description from Audio Digital and he explains it very well.
[00:03:17] It's a good video and yeah, link in the description, click it and yeah, leave a comment there and
[00:03:26] in all cases a thumbs up.
[00:03:29] I also want to mention the Phase 4 synthesizer is really great for FM type of sounds.
[00:03:39] And I just discovered that you have even at the end here and soft clip and I really like
[00:03:48] soft clips for bass sounds when you have kind of these harsh, a mid-range bass sounds in
[00:03:55] dubstep or drum bass.
[00:03:58] As you can see here when you have a nice sine wave here or when you turn this knob up, at
[00:04:04] the top you get a nice soft clip.
[00:04:07] That's really great for nasty bass sounds.
[00:04:09] I really love the Phase 4.
[00:04:11] It's basically everything in there that you need for FM type of sounds.
[00:04:17] And when Phase 4 released later last year, I think I completely forgot that I have FM
[00:04:27] rate installed.
[00:04:28] It's that good.
[00:04:30] It's really great synthesizer.
[00:04:32] It's everything in there you need to make great sounds.
[00:04:36] And yeah, I highly encourage you to use Phase 4.
[00:04:40] It's really great sound.
[00:04:41] The next thing I want to talk about is my EP which released yesterday.
[00:04:48] And it's on Bandcamp.
[00:04:50] There's also a link in the description.
[00:04:52] I released a small video with some kaleidoscope actions inside from one of the tracks.
[00:05:02] And yeah, I put a link in the description.
[00:05:04] You can view it on here, some snippets on Bandcamp.
[00:05:10] And yeah, it's only 5 euros so you can buy it.
[00:05:14] And yeah, on that topic I want to talk about this video I created and how I created it
[00:05:21] because some people ask me how I do video and audio stuff.
[00:05:27] How I basically import video inside Bitwig to create the music for that also.
[00:05:35] But it's actually pretty simple.
[00:05:36] I create the music first and then I export this music and then I cut the video to the
[00:05:43] music.
[00:05:44] Because I think when you start with the video first, the video waits so much or brings so
[00:05:52] much stuff into your music so you completely lose your focus on the music and shift it
[00:05:59] towards the video.
[00:06:03] So you basically watch a video and then you want to have certain events inside this video
[00:06:09] reflected in the music.
[00:06:11] So you create additional sounds because you want to have reflected this event in the sound.
[00:06:18] So that's not what I want to do.
[00:06:21] I want to create music first and then I cut the video to that.
[00:06:26] And how I do it is basically pretty simple.
[00:06:29] I go inside Bitwig and load my track and then I select one bar or two bars on half a bar,
[00:06:39] something like that.
[00:06:41] And then I export this clip empty as a wave file.
[00:06:45] So I have a completely silent wave file and that is imported inside Final Cut here.
[00:06:53] As you can see at the bottom here, I have a lot of one bar 85 bpm wave, empty wave samples.
[00:07:03] And then I can use that to snap my videos to it.
[00:07:08] So you can basically have like a grid, a bpm grid or bar grid inside Final Cut because
[00:07:16] there is nothing like that inside Final Cut.
[00:07:20] You have only time lines basically or seconds and minutes.
[00:07:31] And choosing that empty wave files, you have a nice bpm grid.
[00:07:38] And every time something happens or a bar is basically over, then a scene is changing.
[00:07:48] Then you get this rhythmic feel.
[00:08:01] So it's a pretty nice way of creating rhythmic videos.
[00:08:06] And yeah, I want to basically focus on the music first and then create the video to that
[00:08:14] music.
[00:08:15] I think it's much, much better for the music than the other way around.
[00:08:25] And these snippets, these video snippets here are basically some different footage from
[00:08:32] free video sites or Vimeo or stuff I like.
[00:08:37] Very basic simple stuff like water or smoke, cities, something like that.
[00:08:45] And I use these effects here inside Final Cut like a light scope and mirroring stuff.
[00:08:54] Basically simple stuff layer stuff on top of each other and then you create visual pleasing
[00:09:02] videos.
[00:09:05] A little bit of lens flares on top and yeah, that's basically it.
[00:09:20] And I want to give you an update on the gravity modulator inside Bitwig Discord, which is
[00:09:27] highly active since the beta released.
[00:09:30] Am I created a much, much better version of the gravity patch, as you can see here.
[00:09:39] It's much, much simpler and it utilizes an ATSR for the smoothing and it works really
[00:09:46] great and I have this patch inside my GitHub repository so you can download it there and
[00:09:56] try it out.
[00:10:00] You have your base value and then use this value to change the modulation or some values.
[00:10:09] And if you release the knob, then it goes back to the ground value.
[00:10:13] Yeah, and that's it for this video.
[00:10:15] Thank you to everyone who commented on my videos, explained different topics or asked
[00:10:23] questions and people who try to make patches better.
[00:10:29] And yeah, it helps a lot to understand this new grid thing inside Bitwig Studio.
[00:10:35] And I really like the idea that we as a community create stuff together and help each other
[00:10:41] out.
[00:10:42] And it's really fun.
[00:10:46] So yeah, thank you.
[00:10:48] Thank you for watching and I put all the links from this video in the description below.
[00:10:54] And I see you in the next video.
[00:10:57] Thank you and bye.
[00:10:57] Bye.