Electronotes Newsletter is a Wellspring of Music Synthesis Circuits

Music Technology
Electronotes newsletters in the AS220 Lab in Providence RI

Electronotes newsletters in the AS220 Lab in Providence RI

Electronotes is a newsletter on electronic music synthesis that was started in 1972 by Cornell EE professor Bernie Hutchins. It’s a great source for electronic music schematics and circuit ideas. Early contributors to the newsletter were people like Robert Moog and Don Buchla, and a lot of interesting modular synthesizers like the ASM2 are based on circuits originally published in the newsletter. It’s an ongoing concern, with all new issues available for free on the Electronotes site.

I have to admit, a lot of the material is over my head. However, there is material here suitable for experimenters of all levels of experience. I found some great stuff in the Theory and Practice of Musical Sound Synthesis and How To Actually Build Something on the free materials page.

Print copies of the old issues are available, and you can also request specific issues or app notes from the archives. If you ask, Bernie will most likely post them in the special requests section. If you’re overwhelmed by a three foot tall stack of paper, try the curated collection of circuits in the Musical Engineer’s Handbook, or the Builder’s Guide and Preferred Circuits Collection.

Please note the Electronotes FAQ; these books and newsletters are not published by anyone else, and the only place to get the authorized works is through the Electronotes site. If you find the Preferred Circuits Collection on Amazon, consider it an unauthorized copy.

4 thoughts on “Electronotes Newsletter is a Wellspring of Music Synthesis Circuits

  1. Dave Walters says:

    My denius best friend subscribed to these, and built my first synth based on the schamtics. 3 VCOs, 2 LFOs, 2 Envelope Generators, Ring Modulator, filters, mixer, it was a sweet rig. Nice memoires.

    1. Dave Walters says:


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Shawn Wallace

Shawn Wallace is a MAKE contributor, artist, programmer, and editor living in Providence, R.I. He designs open hardware kits at Modern Device and organized the Fab Academy at the Providence Fab Lab. He makes iPhone synthesizers with the Fluxama collective and is a member of the SMT Computing Society.

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