Idiotastique is a portmanteau of idiophone — tuned percussion synthesis — and fantastique, a French word for ‘fantastic,’ which also conjures the imaginative genre.
Along with emulating wood blocks, steel drums, singing bowls, and tine pianos, the patch can be used to create bowed instruments that never existed and other exotic sounds.
The synthesis is a combination of subtractive synthesis and a very basic implementation of additive synthesis. Each voice has three sine wave oscillators, functioning as partials.
One oscillator tracks the keyboard. The second oscillator is DETUNABLE, which causes it to interfere with the first oscillator, and it can be modulated with NOISE, introducing more distortion. These form the “body” of the sound.
The third oscillator can be tuned to various INTERVALS. Harmonic and inharmonic intervals produce subtly different results. This oscillator forms the “overtone.”
The envelope controls the voices’ VCAs and their filters. The ATTACK and DECAY stage are limited to three seconds, but this is more than enough to create a wide variety of sounds.
The RETRIGGER button allows determines how the enevelopes retrigger — “off” will retrigger the envelope from its start position (0), “on” will retrigger the envelope from its current position.
The FILTER ENVELOPE can shape the overtone’s affect on the overall tone. RESONANCE can add sharpness to the sound.
A HIGH-PASS FILTER can be used to clean up the low-end and make the voices sound more “hollow.”
KEYTRACKING is important — setting keytracking less than 100% can help preserve the impression of a physical object, while diminishing aliasing. There is also a pitch-bend range control.
The original idea for this patch came from watching David Bessell’s video on wooden block synthesis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VmosJSL3xQ
The patch is stereo, with a slight stereo spread effect applied.
The MIDI is set to channel 1, but the MIDI note in module can be found on the second page of the patch, at the top, if you want to change the channel.