Create House Stabs in Thor for Reason

It's time for some old school synth tips. If you've got a desire to create some house music stabs and you're a Propellerhead Reason user, then this one's for you.  

Back in the day, we didn't have unlimited sample memory, and we didn't have much in terms of polyphony. The hardware synths, which are now in vogue... again, were what we were limited to. To add complexity to extremely limited technology, we had to get smart. One such trick was using stabs for dance tracks. You could sample a musical stab (chord) from a recording of a symphony, or a piano, and then riff for a while. House Music, especially back in the day employed tons of stabs, along with early trance, and so on. In this tutorial, I'd like to show you how to make an old school synth stab.

Step 1. Oscillators

Okay, so bring up an initialized Thor, and we'll begin! Because we're building from a synth and not a sampler, we're going to have to introduce some additional notes so that we can form the notes of our stab. To keep to the spirit of House, so to speak, I thought we could build from the Piano wavetable, within the Wavetable Oscillator. 

Pic 1

This will work perfect, as this particular Wavetable sounds much like it would if you were using an old Casio. In other words, it doesn't really sound that much like a piano. I'll set three of these oscillators up, and ensure that the all of the oscillators are being routed in to Filter 1.

Pic 2

Next, we'll need to adjust the semi-tones of each oscillator so that we get a chord, when we hit a key, instead of a single note. To do this, we'll adjust Oscillator 2's Semi knob to 7, and Oscillator 3's Semi knob to 3. As soon as you press a key, you'll hear that we now have a stab, of sorts. And, while we could use it '

Sound Designer, Musician, Author... G.W. Childs has worn many hats. Beginning in the U.S. Army back in 1991, at the age of 18, G.W. began learning electronics, communications and then ultimately audio and video editing from the Department of Defense. Upon leaving the military G.W. went on to work for many exciting companies like Lu... Read More


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