What is Synthony

Synthony is a space for designing and producing new music. Synthony is also a space for learning about music composition and arrangement. In fact, this product is working by using a completely new and original music theory. That's pretty neat! I believe it will change the shape of music to come as this theory continues to develop.

What is a music algorithm?

Composers have always used algorithms to write music. That's why good pieces of music feel like they have direction and energy, and bad music wiggles around until you turn it off.

For example, consider the structure of a song. When you hear a song on the radio, most of the time there are some patterns inside. We recognize patterns so naturally that we don't even have to think about it. When sketching out a score, a composer might put a placeholder for the intro, the exposition (first part), the development (second part), and the recapitulation (first part again) before they even put any notes in the score. This is the structure of the piece, best represented at Synthony through a list of Combos.

If you did not have this type of structure, where some parts are borrowed or repeated within the same song, then it would take a lot more attention and focus just to hear it. That's too much work. Let the pattern do the work for you.

Cortland Mahoney, Composer in Chief

Where did it come from?

Space aliens, pew pew pew. Just kidding.

Synthony is the result of the long, hard work of one real human composer - me! I have now been writing music for more than 10 years. I also taught myself how to write code 5 years ago. This very product in your eyes right now is the summary of my life's work. And it makes me so happy to be able to condense it down to the press of one button to write a new song.

What's the difference between making a song and writing a song?

This is a very important distinction, because it keeps us honest about the service we provide.

Composing and arranging music is hard. It is a real skill that takes a lot of practice to master. Traditionally, if you want to create a custom piece of music, you have to hire a producer to do that for you or do it yourself. The results are amazing, but the time involved is a lot.

We see it a little differently around here. We believe music creation should be open and accessible to all. That is why I want to help you learn about songwriting as you make songs! It's a win-win situation, right? Basically, if you understand the Song Designer, then you also understand the foundations of music composition. If you want more details and control for the specifics of your musical content, then there are plenty of places to help you learn about those aspects as well.

Why did you do it?

The reason for this is actually very practical.

Every time I open BitWig Studio to create a new dance track, I noticed myself repeating a lot of the same patterns over and over again. Remember how I said composers have algorithms? For me, I noticed my own music writing algorithm involved laying out the beat in a certain way, then putting in the bass line in a certain way, and finally the melody and other finishing touches. In short, even though every song is different, how I got there was more or less the same.

The beauty of code is that it can help you do those repeated processes automatically and more efficiently. So instead of spending 2-3 hours just outlining a track, I wanted to say "Okay, I want a track in the key of D minor that will be 8 minutes long. It needs four sections with these parts. Go!"

Now I can do that. And so can you.

What does this mean for composers?

I hope this helps composers. Just like any profession, the way you do your work must change with time or you'll be stuck in a dusty old past.

Already I witnessed that burn, when I was  working violinist. The demand for live classical music simply does not compare to other styles. So I started writing dance music instead. Techno music is more fun than classical music, other people like it more too, and it is ungodly in terms of the sounds you can make. New sounds make me drool.

A lot of people make dance music, and it's great! Then some smart and creative producers of pop, country, hip hop, and rock music also noticed their work is improved when they added the same tools that dance producers use: synthesizers, sequencers, drum machines, compressors, reverbs, DAWs... the list goes on. Each of those items helped me learn how to modernize my own music. And mastering each of those tools was extremely important for me to create Synthony, for you.

One very important long term goal of Synthony is to help composers across the globe learn how to express their musical algorithms with code. In my personal opinion, code is the most expressive artform we have today on Earth. The simple fact that a musician like me is able to learn to read and write code to produce software like Synthony goes to show how amazing open access to technology is. Let's share this light, so that the world may continue to evolve in new and exciting ways.