Tone Generator

Inspired by the devices that sit in the back of physics classrooms with their brutalist, utilitarian enclosures hiding precision engineering inside, the Tone Generator functions like a workbench tool to unglamorously perform a job right. It is both sufficient to start playing music without any other modules and also unadorned enough to let other modules join along as you realize what you’re creating.

Its sufficiency comes via three connections – pitch CV gives you keyboard control, a gate on the output turns notes off when you’re not playing (with the gate switch down), and the output itself provides the sound. When you want to upgrade from on/off to having an attack/decay/sustain/release, just patch an envelop generator into the volume CV (flip the gate switch to open) and it’ll act as its own amplifier. Patch an oscillator into the volume CV instead (or alongside) for tremolo or, at audio rates, something more along the lines of ring modulation.

With dual output gates, you can arrange complex rhythms by sequencing timings right into the gates, perhaps with subsequent stereo processing. Freely move the slider to non-traditional root tunings, and achieve non-equal temper scales by using several in parallel, where each takes the duty of a single note and is selected by a sequencer, the MIDI Drum Trigger, or other device that links keypresses to gates, in order to turn each oscillator output on (see example image). Or, hook it up to an oscilloscope and act like it’s physics class…