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Symbol Types

Author juergen

This content is for an older version of Synfire. The current version is more streamlined and advanced, but most of the functionality shown here still exist.

In Synfire musical figures are represented by Symbols. There are different symbol types which are intended for different musical purposes and represented by different colors. 

The meaning of the symbol types is described in the manual, chapter Concept >> Figures >> Symbol Types. The video below is meant to illustrate the matters described in the manual. The video also demonstrates that the mapping of the symbol types to the horizontal or vertical scale, as it is described in the manual, only works directly in that way, if all other influencing factors, especially the voice leading by the parameter 'Interpretation' are off (bypassed).

The video is structured in three parts:

1. (Up to 04:30): Demonstrates the influence of the Parameter 'Interpretation'. In the following parts of the video this influence will be switched off.

2. (04:30 to 08:20): Demonstrates the mapping of the symbol types to the scales when horizontal and vertical scale are identical (demonstrated with the C major chord of the C major key).

3. (The rest of the video): Mapping of the symbol types when horizontal and vertical scale are different (demonstrated with the G major chord of the C major key).

There are some points regarding symbol types that are not discussed in the video:

  • The difference between Vertical Scale Type Symbols (Turquoise color) and Chord Type Symbols (Green color): 
    Both are mapped to the vertical scale and in the video they have produced the same result. The manual says about the green symbols that "internally they are handled in a special manner that is optimized for the simultaneous sounding of multiple notes." This effect obviously only come into play when voice leading (Parameter 'Interpretation') is effective. But I had it switched off in the video and there also were no simultaneous sounding symbols.
  • The Arpeggio Type Symbols (Purple color) are not only suitable for creating arpeggios as the video might suggest. They also can also be used for chords since these symbols are always mapped to chord notes.


Note: Please report if the video contains any incorrect, misleading or incomplete information. I currently still have the raw version and could change it.


Sun, 2012-12-23 - 20:23 Permalink

Guau!!! Juergen Fascinating,meticulous and elegant tutorial

 For me, your best tutorial video until now.

I really appreciate your effort to help us selflessly,offering your time and wisdom about synfire.

To handle synfire the basic,the first is to choose the appropriate symbol types and the second,for me the more important is to understand the interpretation parameter and the voice leading,is to know the essence of the magic of synfire,what makes it special and different.

I have the hope that you continue your serial videos with the interpretation parameter and the voice leading

A lot of thanks Juergen,this video is a great help  




Sun, 2012-12-23 - 22:01 Permalink

It is a very good tutorial. Nicely complements the explanation of the figures in the manual Synfire.

Sun, 2012-12-23 - 23:08 Permalink

Interesting, thanks for additional info for manual about symbol types/handling in Synfire P/E 

( that is your lesson goal )


Sat, 2013-01-05 - 19:31 Permalink

Your tutorial is excellent!


You are very clear and the pace of presenting information is perfect.


I eagerly anticipate your future offerings!



Mon, 2013-01-07 - 07:57 Permalink

Thank You for an outstanding explanation. The program becomes more clear to me after one of your tutorials. Bravo Juergen!

Wed, 2018-03-07 - 12:03 Permalink

I am a bit late to the party but I would also like to add my thanks for a very clear and helpful video :)