“Melodic Metal” by Mark Mosher – One Patch Performance Series with Ableton Operator

I posted a new “One Patch Performance” to YouTube. One Patch Performances are a series of experimental videos I’ve come up with where I use an instance of one synthesizer plus automation to create a song. 

Watch embedded video. Performance notes are below.

In this song I use Ableton Operator, Chorus, and Ping-Pong delay. I’ve placed these elements into an instrument rack then assigned Macros to various parameters.

I created a custom patch for Operator from scratch. I won’t go into extreme detail on this patch is it’s fairly complex, but here are some highlights and performance notes. I used the new partial editor (P. 389 in the Manual), and modulation of the FM algorithm on the fly.


I also assigned “Time” which is a global control for envelope rates to a Macro knob alone. I also modulate oscillator levels, LFO rates and more. I then created some simple melodies which I stored into MIDI clips. I then recorded an improvisation where I manipulate these automation parameters in one pass in real-time.

I have an oscilloscope and spectral analysis window at the top of the video which illustrate the amazing range of the harmonic content being created by Operator’s.

In the end, I’m hoping this video inspires you to dig deeper with some synths to create unique sounds and to use automation to add dynamics to your tracks.


Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder CO

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Hi, this is Mark Mosher. Welcome to my blog. I’m a synthesist, Composer, Producer, and Visualist living in Boulder CO. I’m also the founder of the Rocky Mountain Synth Meet and Synth Patrol.

I’ve been blogging wince 2005 and this blog is a mix of posts on artistic news as well as synth tech & technique posts under the category Modulate This!

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3 responses to ““Melodic Metal” by Mark Mosher – One Patch Performance Series with Ableton Operator”

  1. Very nice. Absolutely. This is where we see how powerful Ableton can be with its limitless racking and automation potential.
    Fooling around now on this rainy day with an Operator rack, sporting a single chain, that I assembled last night (Honestly I am quite new to attempting to program patches using FM synthesis but I am finding it tonnes of fun learning all the tricks).
    I’ve got a very minimalist MIDI music clip which I’ve duplicated several times repeating ONE note at a fixed pitch, and I am challenging myself to use FM and automation to invoke all of the tonal variation and thereby creating any interesting progressions or transitions exclusively with Operator’s FM and Live effects included in the aforementioned chain (2 Phasers, a Chorus and a Reverb). Interesting to note that the first Phaser is used to provide extra harmonic content for the FM output. I was pleasantly surprised by the effect phasing had when placed after the output of an FM-generated patch. This was an eye-opener for me, as I realised that depending on synthesis used while programming a patch, different effects have…well,…different effect.
    Cheers for your nice blog, Mark


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