These tutorials arose from my own initial struggles with learning Kyma, and were spurred on by subsequent needs of my private students. Learning a new language (whether a spoken language or computer language) is not trivial. But my struggles have produced one advantage, in that I still remember vividly my misunderstandings and wrong turns in trying to master the mind-boggling opportunities that Kyma affords (as I became a beta tester for the new Kyma 7 I was pleasantly surprised at the many ways in which Kyma has become more user friendly and instantly available on a deeper level). Out of these struggles have come a set of tutorials, still being developed as you read this, that perhaps can help those of you who do not come naturally to the Kyma language. Personally when I first acquired Kyma I planned to spend a full year going through the Kyma X Revealed experience and exploring the vast Kyma libraries before I began to work creatively. I believe this has paid off as a long term strategy, but what of those of you who don’t have the time I had to leisurely plow through the wondrous treasure troves of material? And so I began these tutorials in the hope that perhaps I could, in some small way, hasten the understanding of all those who, like me, may be somewhat technologically challenged in certain areas.

ORGANIZATION: Each tutorial has two parts: the text, and the Sound files for these texts. Texts are found in these Insights posts, and the Sound files can be downloaded using the links given with each separate tutorial. The tutorials are divided into subjects, which in turn are divide into TASKS. Each task has a Sound with which you work out the task, and is followed by an answer where you can check your work with an acceptable version of how it might look and sound.

I would welcome feedback on these tutorials to enable me to hopefully make them even better. I have set up a special email account to handle these communications at:


To use this specific tutorial you will need to have a basic understanding of MIDI keyboards and how to set them up to control music equipment. You will, in other words, need a setup with a functioning MIDI keyboard and MIDI interface, along with the accompanying audio interface needed for all Kyma uses.

I suggest you first go through the Overview guide found in the Kyma Help menu. The following should be explored at a minimum:

  • Getting Started
  • Signal flow editor and parameters
  • Controlling Sound parameters

In addition, I would highly recommend at least a cursory examination of Kyma X Revealed, especially the following:

  • Introduction (pp 19-22)
  • The Virtual Control Surface (pp 33-44)
  • Sound Files and Sounds (pp 97-98)
  • The Sound Editor (pp 99-134)

It is not necessary to master every example or concept, but it would be advisable to go through enough of it so you know where the topics are if you need help, and to formulate a general idea of what Kyma is about.

Barton McLean. Petersburgh, NY, 1/15/16


Tutorial A. Getting things sounding, organized, and uncluttered, Part 1

1A. Triggering and Gating from a MIDI keyboard
1A. Answers
1B. Auto triggering/gating using !BPM
1B. Answers
1C. Auto triggering/gating using a low frequency oscillator
1C. Answers
1D. Gate the gate (trombone) with check box
1D. Answers
1E. Gate the gate (flute) with check box

Tutorial A. Getting things sounding, organized, and uncluttered, Part 2

2. Mixing Sounds
2. Answers
3. Cleaning up the VCS in order to easily see Sounds’ organization
3. Answers
4A. Split MIDI keyboard
4A. Answers
4B. Splitting MIDI keyboard in 4 parts
4B. Answers

Tutorial B. The StepSequencer, Part 1

1. StepSequencer Introduction: Similarity with MIDI keyboard
1. Answers
2. The StepSequencer as an automated MIDI keyboard
3. Shamelessly stealing sequencer expressions from other Sounds
3. Answers
4. Shamelessly stealing expressions from other Sounds: random pitch order
4. Answers
5. Adding more steps to existing parameter fields
5. Answers

Tutorial B. The StepSequencer, Part 2

6. Using Smalltalk to save typing in parameter fields
6. Answers
7. Extra Values controlling Sample start: Selectable Sound
7. Answers
8. Spectrum Sample play w Extra Values in StepSequencer
9. One little tweak makes all the difference
9. Answers
10. StepSequencer controlling timbre with !KeyTimbre
10. Answers

Tutorial C: Generating Patterns Outside the StepSequencer, Part 1

1. !Gate pulsing pitch array
1. Answers
2. Same pitch array pulsed with !BPM
2. Answers
3. Same as # 2 with LFO varying !BPM speed
4. Sequence of values
5. Your basic sample and hold with white noise

Tutorial C: Generating Patterns Outside the StepSequencer, Part 2

6. Triggered S & H with keyboard trigger sampling white noise
6. Answer
7. Triggered S & H sampling LFO, with keyboard trigger
8. Triggered S & H sampling LFO (with formant change) with independent BPM & tempered scale
9. S & H controlling frequency filtering
10. Sampling multisegment envelope & lotsa bells & whistles

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