Suzanne Ciani 4 Buchla patch setup and techniques in VCV

Hi there!

Every once in a while, I get obsessed with The Buchla world… It lasts a few weeks and then is passes … go figure…

This time it was about the techniques and setup of Suzanne Ciani. He she uses space modulations ho she uses interchangeable melodies. Her crazy setup, her MARF 248, the way she sends LPGs into other LPGs.

Thankfully, she is very generous about her techniques, she explains them in detail in many lectures. After hours of youtube conferences, pausing video to see where the cables are leading, and also finding the holy grail: her Buchla cookbook that she wrote in 1975 (she mention it a lot but I couldn’t find it on any forum, and finally it was on the official cultural organism website that curated it in the first place!)

So here is a patch inspired of her current setup (200e), that I programmed to play “improvisation on 4 sequences”.

Feel free to explore it, make it your own and post the result here!

Here are all the sources that led me to this:

The VCV patch to download:

The performance:

Her many lectures:

Her 1975 Buchla cookbook:

Her system on modular grid:

There are some notes within the patch on how to perform it. Some other notes on my explorations creating this patch:

Ciani music is all about buchla … In VCV, Buchla is all about NYSTHI!

The 4 sequences are programmed on the Impromptu write seq 64, a good alternative to the Buchla Quad sequ voltage source 251e

The sequences are send into the 4to1 seq switch of the Buchla MARF 248 (what a monster!) which is replaced here by NYSTHI Squonk and ML seq switch.

The melodies and other channels of the squonk are send to the mighty Bidoo Acne, which replaces the Buchla router signal 210e

Ciani has two complex oscillator the 259e and the 261e. Both have a modulation oscillator which can be replaced by Bog audio LVCO. They also share a timbre section that can be replaced by Repelzen Refold. The main oscillator of the 259e is a customizable wavetable oscillator. Plaits does the trick in wavetable mode. The 261e is analog smooth variable waveshaping, and can be replaced by Fundamental VCO-2. (commercial alternative: Hora Pure VCO, with integrated wavefolder, sounds perfect!)

All is sent back in the Acne, and goes through a dual bandpass filter, and a net of lowpass gates controlled by some quad AD. NYSTHI easel series does the work.

Everything goes into two H9 multi-fx… my CPU can only afford two Mverb, but feel free to add any delay, flanger, waveshaper in the signal path.

Then everything goes back into the system interface model 227e, here replaced by the Nysthi quad panner…

The NYSTHI quad panner is so cool! I only have a stereo system, but I use the 3rd dimension for volume and it’s already really nice!

I’ll keep on investigate and post any news here, how about you post your own Ciani patching technique tricks here? :slight_smile:


thank you so much for sharing this. every once in a while i get obsessed with the buchla world too, so this means alot: gonna jump head first into this, cheers!

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Wow… Some mornings are brighter than others… this Morning Mrs Ciani asked to do the entire 1976 cookbook in VCV! I dropped an email to her label if it was ok to post that on copyright question, and she answered few hours later with a very kind email!

Though I share this part which is interesting for the VCV community in general:

“I am so very touched by your recreation of the 4-sequencer patch. Bravo! That is a wonderful start. Now I wonder if you can do any of the other operations as well that the cookbook talks about…But perhaps I’m asking too much! I find the “Multiple Arbitrary Function Generator” indispensable for many of the techniques and wonder if you have a digital version of that.”

I think I’ll try to expllore the entire cookbook in VCV :smiley: if you falks want to join the expedition :slight_smile:

So I have a lot of work to do… and we need a 248 in VCV! Needless to say how much my day is made!


what a great day you are having, congrats :slight_smile: i think the source code of a recreation of the 248 is here

and\or here

i don;t even know how to write a plug-in to vcv and i never built successfully the enviroment needed to develop such a plug-in, i guess i have a lot of reading to do :slight_smile:


Thank you! I am sure there is someone who can help us in this quest! @synthi :smiley:


Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve been trying to learn more west coast stuff and this will be incredibly helpful! I took advantage of the sale Arturia had and picked up the Buchla Music Easel V and I’ve been having fun with incorporating it with VCV via Host. Half the time, I don’t know exactly what I’m going to get out of the darn thing but I love playing with it and learning how it works. Once again, thanks! I’ve got something to fill up the weekend :slight_smile:

Today I finally decided to put together a track using them. I drew inspiration from Morton Subotnick and created


Wow, what a cool story this is becoming. This also reminds me that I wanted to explore West Coast stuff more. Is there a good listening list anywhere?

i’m trying to understand how to switch from sine to sawtooth (see the picture attached). i am able to do this with bernoulli gate but i want sequnce it: any advice on which 32 step sequncer/triggers? how would you approach this? @pyer i cannot thank you enough, i keep coming back to this post, the vcv patch is really eye-opening and for an amateur like me its heaven, cheers :slight_smile:

patch notes: uMAP controls A B mix in the upper left side of VESSEK

it is triggered randomly by bernoulli gate, same gate is used to modulate the waveform on VCO-2

the idea is to have a triangle most of the time just like the notation marks in the suzanne ciani PDF

suzanne ciani technique.vcv (20.9 KB)


Nice! In Buchla oscillators, there is a waveshaper knob that goes from sine to saw. She is CV controling this with a 16 step sequencer, set to zero on most step, and 100% on some steps

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straight forward, thanks

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Illusstrated here


oh wow, yes, exactly what i needed to see

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For oscillators that do not offer a waveshaper like that, you could pass the sine and sawtooth outputs to a crossfader and again use the sequence to control the crossfade from 100%-A to 100%-B.

This should work for sequencing any switch between signals.


Great result, it’s quite recognizable! Well done.

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yes! totally forgot about that. i never use crossfaders… thanks

the original patch is really on the edge of my cpu\gpu power and it is hard to experiment with it. so i made this tiny version just to check things out, i think the next step is to modulate the octaves (as she expalins in her video above)

vcv is so much fun :slight_smile:

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Her sequencer have Oct switches but it can be done by adding your melodic sequence with another random sequencer, same as waveshape, most step 0%, some steps 100%, and attenuate the output for the maximum reach is 1v

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I’ve only just thought of this, I should have mentioned it before. A slew-limiter between the sequencer and the crossfader cv should reduce glitches.

I think I’d use a switch with a rhythm oriented sequencer.

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