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The Art Of Physical Modelling - David Bessell | Podcast

Working With Modular Synths And Software By Rob Puricelli
Published September 2021
David Bessell Electronic MusicianDavid Bessell Electronic Musician

For decades, synth manufacturers and sound designers have strived to recreate the sounds of acoustic instruments, such as brass, woodwind and strings. Digital sampling was launched in 1979 but was unable to express the subtleties and nuances of acoustic instruments, until Physical Modelling came to prominence in the 1980s and 1990s.

In this interview, David Bessell talks to Rob Puricelli about how he was inspired by this and sought to explore it further using modular synths and software. 

Show Notes


00:38 - Introduction
01:22 - Where did your career start?
03:24 - What sparked your interest in physical modelling?
05:08 - How do you begin to create a physical model?
07:51 - What do you use to create your physical models?
11:17 - When using modular to create models, what modules would one require?
13:55 - Are you using modelling to recreate or create anew?
21:14 - What other methods of modelling exist?
23:23 - Why do you think physical modelling didn’t catch on?
29:11 - What’s the future for physical modelling?
32:47 - What methods do you use to perform with your physical models?
36:40 - How can someone begin to get into physical modelling today?

Checkout the Physical Modeling 101 course on SOS Tutorials here: 

David Bessell - Biog

Before studying at the Royal College of Music, where he covered orchestration and composition, the latter of which he carried on at the Guildhall, David Bessell first made a name for himself as a session musician, arranger and programmer for bands such as Killing Joke and Suede. As a solo artist and as one quarter of analogue synthesizer quartet Node (alongside Flood, Ed Buller and Mel Wesson, who took over from Gary Stout), he has made a name for himself as a highly experimental musician with a particular interest in physical modelling, exploring the creation of tones that sound and behave like natural acoustic instruments, or in some cases, sound like nothing physically possible in the real world. 

Interviewer: Rob Puricelli - Biog

Rob Puricelli.Rob Puricelli is a Music Technologist and Instructional Designer who has a healthy obsession with classic synthesizers and their history. In conjunction with former Fairlight Studio Manager, Peter Wielk, he fixes and restores Fairlight CMI’s so that they can enjoy prolonged and productive lives with new owners. He also writes reviews and articles for his website,, and other music-related publications, as well as hosting a weekly livestream on YouTube for the Pro Synth Network and guesting on numerous music technology podcasts and shows. He also works alongside a number of manufacturers, demonstrating their products and lecturing at various educational and vocational establishments about music technology.

Twitter: @failedmuso
Instagram: @failedmuso

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