E. J. Walsingham


Dream Machine

and other patches

Allen Strange, Dream MachineBox A Doepfer Dream Machine
Box A
1. Allen Strange, Dream Machine
2. Doepfer, Dream Machine


This is the cleverest of all classical patches, a delightful combination of simplicity breeding complexity and overarching elegance.

Fig. A1 is the original from Allen Strange's Electronic Music Systems, Techniques and Controls. The is also a Doepfer version I have somewhere that I will add - now fig. A2.

Strange's Electronic Music Systems is only available second-hand. McGraw-Hill used to sell a pdf of the first edition but no longer do so. Copies of the first edition now sell on the usual platforms (Amazon, Ebay, Alibris, Abebooks) for upwards of $100 and the second edition north (sometimes far north) of $200. PDF copies sometimes pop up and I have today (23Oct19) found a reasonable copy here - https://s3.amazonaws.com/arena-attachments/414578/f886cffe9297937b28dbf0da2a5b8a13.pdf. I had, until now, only ever seen the first edition, apparently, the second is even better. Here's a download.

Strange 1st ed, 1972
Box A1
Strange 1st ed, 1972
Strange 2nd ed, 1982
Box A2
Strange 2nd ed, 1982

I noted in 2009,

As everyone knows, Allen Strange's Electronic Music Systems, Techniques and Controls is the best book on analogue synthesizing. It includes copious exercises throughout but two sections are of particular note. The chapter on control voltage sources includes two key patches, 'correlation of random voltages' and Dream Machine. and ends with a series of exercises and projects, of which I will list the relevant ones below. Then, the final chapter of the book is 'scores for analysis and performance': again I will list the ones I might use, snap-dragon

Here are some other enticing patches originally shown on the above Snap Dragon page. The page and comments were written in 2009.


Allen Strange, control voltage exercises

1-3. contemplate acoustical and electronic instruments
4. experiment with linear and exponential functions
5. become aware of the voltage range used on your equipment as it is important for subsequent exercises
6. experiment with intervals on three VCOs [this is building up nicely]

7. 'if you have access to integrators, quantizers and multipliers (coupled VCAs), turn discrete control voltages from keyboards, sequencers etc. into continually varying functions. A fixed voltage may also be made into a fluctuating voltage by multiplying it with a sloped voltage such as an EG, LFO, fluctuating random etc. Now reverse the process and turn varying functions into discrete levels. Invent an instrument based on this process.'
8. experiment with alternate tunings, starting with Robert Ehle's Prelude in 19 Tone Equal Temperament, by attenuating the voltage from a keyboard.
9. now try the Asian 7-tone equal-temperament.
10. set up alternate tunings and a method of switching between them
11. 'take a single voltage function and apply it to every controllable parameter in your instrument', repeat with two and three control voltage sources.
12. Daniel Goode's Faust Crosses..', see below
13. random access sequencing after Frank McCarty , see fig B1
14 John Cage's Williams Mix, uses shaped pieces of pre-recorded tape. Simulate the shapes with VCAs.
15. interacting tapes, a similar idea to the Apples&Pears patch below, see fig B2
16. Robert Ashley's String Quartet Describing the Motions of Large Bodies - a real string quartet making scraping noises which are processed through logic gates.
17. extracts from patch books: a) ARP Axxe bass b) Roland 'guns' c) PAIA 'small dog or laughing hyena or creeping bird?' see fig B3, [this is difficult to read].

Allen Strange, control voltage exercises #1 Allen Strange, control voltage exercises #2 Allen Strange, control voltage exercises #3
Box B
1-3. Voltage Control exercises
from Allen Strange Electronic Music Systems, Techniques and Controls

Allen Strange, scores for analysis and performance

1. Douglas Leedy, Entropical Paradise (with Bird Call) fig C1
2. Frank McCarty,  Stochastic Arp fig C2
3. Mark Styles, Orion Rising fig C3
4. John Strawn, Akarui Tsuki fig C4
5. Dan Wyman, A Shadow of Its Former Self

although I have attached some of the diagrams for my own benefit, these only make sense in the context of the text. Buy the book.

Douglas Leedy, Entropical Paradise (with Bird Call)  Frank McCarty,  Stochastic Arp  Mark Styles, Orion Rising  John Strawn, Akarui Tsuki
Box C
1. Douglas Leedy, Entropical Paradise (with Bird Call) 
2. Frank McCarty,  Stochastic Arp 
3. Mark Styles, Orion Rising 
4. John Strawn, Akarui Tsuki
from Allen Strange Electronic Music Systems, Techniques and Controls

Box D
1. Daniel Goode, Faust 

Daniel Goode's Faust crosses the Raritan somewhere in East Africa and finds himself back home, a little south of the Reich...

Now there's a title for you (as we Welsh tend to say). Essentially, the piece involves picking a tune, setting up the first few notes on the sequencer and than gradually working through the rest of the tune setting one note at a time, so the piece gradually 'wipes over' itself. He suggests Yankee Doodle on a 10-step sequencer, I'll have an 8-step to begin with and am inclined towards the last few notes of the Beethoven violin concerto. Strange says don't use a quantizer, I am inclined to have one VCO with and one without. Just waiting on Tom from Analogue Solutions to come up with the SQ8. Mr Goode has a terrific web site here [he used to — the link has died] and Faust is in the scores (one of the one-pagers), fig. D1.

Apples and Pears
Box E
1. Apples and Pears

Apples and Pears

The best example from Apples and Pears is shown as fig. E1. I'm inclined to try it with BBC Radio 4 (speech) as the voice and Radio 3 (music, usually classical) rather than the Chopin Nocturn.

The Development and Practice of Electronic Music by Jon H. Appleton and Ronald C. Perera (eds.) 1975

Page created 18-Oct-2019 | Page updated 15-Nov-2020