Modular Synthesis

22 Sep 2017

This September, Nova Iskra starts its fifth program season. The first lecture and course are devoted to the fields of music and technology, and their meeting point within the field of modular synthesizers. Jan Nemeček and Branislav Jovančević will open an exciting and unpredictable world of contemporary music hardware to all interested participants, beginning with a public introductory lecture on Thursday, September 7th at 6 pm.


Introduce yourself to the world of modular synthesizers and integrate them into your sonic palette!

Use some of the most exciting electronic instruments of today!


Modular synthesizers are definitely the most popular "buzzword" on the contemporary music scene. From academic beginnings in the middle of the last century, through small, specialized producers and users, the overconsumptuion of digital and virtual tools for composing and playing (electronic) music has restored the fascination with modular synthesizers, unpredictable sound textures and the possibilities they provide. Popular performers such as Aphex Twin, Nine Inch Nails, Deadmau5, Gus Gus, Ricardo Villalobos, JamesHolden or Depeche Mode actively use this type of synthesizers in their performances or productions, while the list of avant-garde and experimental authors who active in this domain is endless.


The Modular Synthesis course provides an opportunity to get acquainted with the ever-growing scene of modular synthesizers for the first time in our region, as well as to try them out first-hand, learn how to use them and pair them with the equipment you are already using, or planning to use. In addition to getting to know the entire eco-system of modules and specific usage options, you will have the opportunity to use the equipment of some of the most acclaimed manufacturers, to receive mentor advice on how to incorporate modules into your own work, as well as to play around with a large number of modules at the end of each session, with the possibility of recording. 


Even though they reached the peak of their popularity only in the last five years, modular synthesizers are the forerunners of all of today's synthesizers, created way back in 1963. Initially very complicated to use and financially unattainable for most musicians, modular synthesizers were used for avant-garde and film music (Morton Subotnick, Wendy Carlos, Suzanne Ciani ...), while their influence on synthesizers and musicians of today is indisputable. The return of modular synthesizers was initiated by the company Doepfer and their A-100 format (now known as "Eurorack"), which enabled the emergence of relatively cheap components for making synthesizers and universal power supplies. This has increased the number of manufacturers from the initial few, to today's several hundreds, only in the world of Eurorack.


Free merging of different parts of synthesizers, samplers, effects and sequencers without a predetermined signal path is the main feature of this type of music hardware. The possibility of microtonal access and DIY combining of modules, implementation of specific "boutique" products and interfaces that have not been available so far in software nor in hardware are just some of the things that have become possible with the current "modular revolution", which does not show signs of stopping any time soon. A strong community around the users of modular synthesizers evolved in parallel with the development of hardware itself. Initially reserved exclusively for those with a deep pocket and spare time, it gradually began to expand and integrate very diverse profiles of users.


Therefore, the course is intended for all those interested in this topic, not exclusively musicians and sound designers. Technical knowledge is not a prerequisite for attending a course.


The Modular Synthesis course includes:


- 15 hours of practical work 

- Basics of sound synthesis

- Insight into the entire eco-system of modular synthesizers

- Exclusive opportunity to work with 40 different modules from prestigious manufacturers

- Detailed introduction to the most important modules and their functionalities

- Signal flow

- Integration of modular synthesizers with other instruments and DAW platforms

- MIDI, CV and other types of controls

- Efficient use of modules and hardware in live performance

- Use of modular hardware in music production

- One hour of free use of equipment at the end of each course sesion

- All accompanying audio equipment

- Mentoring support and individual consultations

- Possibilitiy of recording

- Refreshments and coffee

- Certificate of the course completion


 * The complete inventory of equipment that will be available to particiapants can be viewed here -


The mentors and lecturers are Jan Nemeček and Branislav Jovančević. Jan Nemeček ( has been engaged in music since 2003, when he started working with digital and early soft synthesizers. In addition to composing various electronic music mutations, numerous releases and notable performances at the biggest festivals in the country and abroad, Jan also deals with sound design, using a modular synthesizer at each step of improvisation. His performances over the last few years largely follow his fascination with the sound potentials of modular synthesizers. Branislav Jovančević ( is actively engaged in music from his early days. After classical music education (piano and baroque lute), he turned to more contemporary forms and instruments, and has been working on sound synthesis over the past five years. From 2015, he performs under the name kīr. He has performed at numerous festivals and music events in the country, as well as throughout Europe and the region. Bane is also a part of the team of  Drugstore, a popular Belgrade nightclub. The mentors of this unique course also have a joint music project Stepn‡ak, through which they channel their dedication to new music hardware, with an emphasis on modular synthesizers.


Special, promotional price of the course is 100 EUR, or 12.000,00 RSD. Payment is made in two installments – a 50% advance upon application (to secure your spot), the other half before the beginning of the first session. The participants will receive payment details by e-mail.


All interested participants can apply via the following link -, until September 18th! The course will be held at Nova Iskra over the course of September in the form of  2-hour sessions on Fridays, and 4-hour sessions on Saturdays - Septrember 22nd , 23rd , 29th and 30th.


For all those who would like to know more about the course, or would like to gain basic insights into this interesting field, Nova Iskra will also present an introductory lecture entitled (De) mystification and integration modular synthesizers on Thursday, September 7th at 6 pm. Entrance to the lecture is free, while for the future particiapants of the course it is its introductory session.