Machines at Work


Machines at work is yet another example which showcases how Sporth can be used to produce sequenced music. It is comprised of main sounds with aux efects.

Tables and Variables

Being a largely sequenced patch, this patch is highly reliant on tables:

 _sine 8192 "1 0 0.1 0.8 0.8" gen_sinesum
 _seq 32 "38 0.7 41 0.2 43 0.1" gen_rand
 _sqrseq "74 77 79 81" gen_vals

The patch also uses three variables.

 _rms var
 _bass var
 _clk var
 _note var


To begin, a clock signal is generated via dmetro and bpm2dur. To get sixteenths notes, the tempo (92), is multiplied by 4. We set this to the variable clk so it can easily be used throughout the patch.

 92 4 * bpm2dur dmetro _clk set

The bass sequence is created using tseq in shuffle mode, using the table and weighted random distribution seq. Before being sent to tseq, the clock signal clk is fed through a clock divider to effectively get eigth notes.

 _clk get 2 0 tdiv 1 _seq tseq 0.001 port _note set

The bass instrument is composed of three oscillators, the first two being FM oscillators via fosc. These are slightly detuned and an octave apart from one another. Each oscillator has their own sinusoidal LFO controlling modulation index, which effectively controls the brightness. To add more grit, the usually sine lookup table supplied to fosc has extra harmonics for some extra grit.

 _note get mtof 0.1 2 1 (0.1 1 sine 1 3 biscale) _sine fosc
 _note get 12.1 - mtof 0.1 1 1 (0.1 1 sine 4 7 biscale) _sine fosc +

The third oscillator is a triangle wave, tuned a fifth up.

 _note get 7 + mtof 0.2 tri +

Next, the the signal is modulated by the exponential envelope signal generator tenvx. A copy of the tenvx signal is saved to the variable rms.

 _clk get 2 0 tdiv 0.001 0.01 0.3 tenvx dup _rms set * 

the bass filter is passed through a lowpass filter butlp with a 3000 hz cutoff, and then saved to the variable bass for later.

 3000 butlp _bass set


The second instrument created is a square oscillator instrument. To begin, the envelope signal is generated from clk. A copy of clk is created to be used next.

 _clk get dup 0.001 0.02 0.1 tenvx 

The envelope and the clock signal swap places, so that clk can feed tseq. This generates the sequencer signal for the square wave.

 swap 0 _sqrseq tseq 

The clock is retrieved once more, and fed into a maygate signal, which is then scaled by 12, and then added to the sequence signal. This has the effect of making the sequence occasionally jump an octave.

 _clk get 0.2 maygate 12 * +

To smooth jumps between the notes, the portamento filter port is used, then the MIDI value is converted to frequency with mtof.

 0.005 port mtof

Next, the amplitude of the square oscillator is set to 0.3


The pulse width is determined by a sinusoidal LFO, scaled between 0.2 and 0.8.

 10 inv 1 sine 0.2 0.8 biscale 

Afterwards, square is finally called, and then multiplied with the envelope signal generated previously. This signal is then put through a butterworth lowpass filter with a 2kHz cutoff.

 square *  2000 butlp

Next, the square signal is put through a tempo-synced delay, timed to work at a 3 sixteenth note time delay.

 dup 0.7 92 bpm2dur 0.75 * delay 1000 butlp -4 ampdb * + 


The bulk of the pad sound is mostly built from three bandlimited sawtooth oscillators. Examining a single oscillator, it can be seen that a fixed pitch is assigned, and the amplitude is being modulated via a randome line segment generator randi.

 76 mtof 0 0.2 0.2 randi saw 

This gets duplicated two more times, with different pitches and instances of randi. They are all combined together into one signal.

 65 mtof 0 0.2 0.5 randi saw +
 67 mtof 0 0.2 1 randi saw +

The pad signal is fed through a moogladder ugen. The cutoff frequency is modulated by an LFO signal, scaled between values 1000 and 3000. The moogladder ugen loses gain with the resonance set to a high 0.5, so the signal is doubled.

 12 inv 1 sine 1000 3000 biscale 0.5 moogladder 2 *  

This signal is fed through a delay, timed to work with a quarter note delay time.

 dup 0.7 92 bpm2dur delay 1000 buthp -3 ampdb * + +


The final sound added to the mix is a percussive white noise instrument. Unlike the previous sounds, this uses its own clock signal, but it is synced to the same tempo as the clock. For the clock signal, prop is used. Prop is a microlanguage within Sporth for generating complex rhythms.

 92 "-+|-2(-+)|-4(++--)|-?-4(-+-+)" prop 

The prop signal is fed through maytrig to make it less dense...

 0.7 maytrig

...which in turn is used to produce an exponential envelope signal via tenvx.

 0.001 0.1 0.1 tenvx 

Next is the noise source is generated by randh being modulated at audio rate with randh. Then it is fed through butlp.

 (-0.3 0.3 sr (1 5 13 randh) / randh) * 4000 butlp

The ampltiude of the noise source is modulated by a morphing signal via cf. The first signal is a series of tiny gate signals generated with tgate, whose parameters are being randomly modulated.

 (10 40 1 randh) metro (0.001 0.015 2 randi) tgate 

The next signal is just a constant "on" signal 1.


These two signals are crossfaded from one to the other via a smoothed toggle signal tog, synced up with the clock signal clk.

 _clk get 0.5 maytrig tog 0.01 port 
 cf *

This generated signal is fed througha tempo sycned feedback delay, set to a delay line of 3 sixteenths notes.

 dup 0.7 92 bpm2dur 0.75 * delay -10 ampdb * + 

This instrument is then piled onto everything else on the stack.



Before the effects are prossed, every instrument (minus the bass), is scaled by "rms" signal of the bass (which is actually just the amplitude of the bass). The signal can be scaled between -3 and 2 db. This acts as a bootleg signal ducker. When the bass turns on, the rest of the instruments back off.

 1 _rms get - -3 2 scale ampdb * 

To give the bass even more space, we put the isntruments through a highpass filter.

 500 buthp

These instruments are fed through the chowning reverb jcrev.

 dup jcrev 3 ampdb * +

The bass signal from what back is retrieved from bass, and given a bass boost via eqfil. Then, everything is summed together and attenuated a bit so things do not clip.

 _bass get  100 20 3 eqfil + -2 ampdb *