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How to Make 80s Synthwave Arpeggiators Like Kavinsky | Tutorial

For this video, we were joined by our online lecturer, Alex Thomen, to showcase how you can make arpeggiated synths like Kavinsky.

Kavinsky’s music is best known for blending hypnotizing melodies with vintage synth sounds, giving his tracks that nostalgic 80s synthwave feel. You’ll most likely be familiar with his track, ‘Nightcall’, which was used in the Drive Original Movie Soundtrack. Although this technique is great for learning to compose, arrange and produce in the synthwave genre, you’ll also be able to adapt these skills to a range of musical styles.

If you want to learn more skills like this, please check out our flagship degree programmes, which are available both in person at our London campus and online.

To demonstrate this technique, Alex uses Logic Pro’s 80s-inspired stock synth, RetroSynth, and loads up a pad sound. To make sure the sound is snappy enough to arpeggiate, he modulates the synth’s attack and release so it’s ready to be channelled into Logic’s MIDI arp tool. Alex runs through some of the theory behind the rhythmic note speed before choosing the way he wants his notes to be played out by the arpeggiator. Using this method of programming arpeggiation, you can come up with your own unique patterns to take your synthwave music to the next level.

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