Sunvox Tutorial/The sunvox interface


The Sunvox InterfaceEdit

A tutorial on the interface of sunvox music software.

Tutorial objectivesEdit

Once you have completed this tutorial, you should be able to:

  • Identify interface elements
  • Switch between pattern and module views on mobile devices
  • Use the mouse or touchscreen
  • Use the sunvox menu system
  • Use the sunvox keyboard
  • Use a computer keyboard on systems which support it
  • Use a MIDI keyboard on systems which support it
  • Change the sunvox colour theme

IntroductionEdit

This tutorial helps you to answer the question:

I have installed sunvox, but now what?

You will learn to recognise the bits and pieces of the interface, and interact with them. You will see what options exist for using a musical, or a computer keyboard as well as the onscreen keyboard for playing notes.

After completing this tutorial, you should be ready to tackle the next one and learn how to make basic music with sunvox.

What am I looking at?Edit

Open Sunvox, and look at the interface.

If you are on a desktop computer you will see, starting at the top:


  • a block of lines with a stylised keyboard beneath them the pattern editor
  • on the left, an area which is either open, or contains some sliding bars the parameter area
  • on the right, a series of interconnected boxes the module display
  • on the bottom, a space marked with a timeline. the pattern timeline

If you are on a mobile device with a constrained screen, you will see the same interface except that you will only see one of the last two (the pattern timeline and the module display), and there will be a button to let you switch between them.

There are also some menu icons and buttons.

Why can't I see everything on my mobile device?Edit

As we saw in the previous section, not all the areas of the display are visible on mobile devices, although you can switch between the module display and the timeline when you need to.

This is by design.

  • Arranging things visually takes some screen real estate.
  • The module display is for tweaking your sounds (you will learn more about this later.
  • The timeline is for arranging segments of your song.

You can see that you will not usually be working on individual sounds at the same time as you are arranging your song structure, so switching between them is a good tradeoff on a limited size screen.

Getting things doneEdit

You can control Sunvox with a number of techniques.

If you are using a device with a touch screen, you can use a stylus or your finger to select items and interact with them.

If you are on a desktop computer, you can use a mouse to select items, navigate menus and so forth. You can also use your keyboard to activate notes, enter data and use some hot keys for functions like saving your music.

If you have a desktop computer, or sometimes a suitable tablet, with a MIDI keyboard attached you can configure Sunvox to accept notes from the keyboard as well. We will look into that in more detail later.

Menus in the interfaceEdit

In the top left you should see the small Sunvox icon.

This is the main menu which offers options to load and save files, export music to WAV format, show the toolbar and the touch theremin, and setting preferences for Sunvox.

In the top right hand corner you should see the horizontal lines which are the icon for the pattern menu.

This menu allows for editing of the pattern's settings as well as selecting and editing the content in patterns.

To the immediate right of the icon to the pattern menu is a lock symbol. While it is locked, the pattern won't be edited. While it is unlocked, note entries will go into the active pattern and there will be options visible to the left of the menu icon. We will look more closely into those options later.

In both the module and timeline windows there are menu icons in the top left. Those menus are available at the same time in the desktop version because both the module and timeline windows are open at the same time. In the small touchscreen interface, what's available depends on which window is visible at the time.

Changing the lookEdit

Sunvox enables you to change the shape and size of the different parts of the interface. Clicking and dragging on the borders between the different parts of the interface is how you increase or decrease the size of any one part. On touchscreen interfaces, touching and swiping the borders also works to change the size and shape of interface parts.

Under the main menu, there is also a preferences option. If you select the preferences option, the preferences window opens. This window has a number of options, of which one is the Interface option. Under this option:


  • Window parameters Window size or fullscreen setting on a full computer
  • Scale Manage interface scaling to match your display
  • Color theme Choose a theme for the user interface features
  • Max FPS Control how rapidly the interface updates
  • Control type Manage what sort of control interface you are using
  • Show text keyboard Manage whether or not you need a text keyboard for text entries
  • Shortcuts Configure keyboard shortcuts for Sunvox actions

Playing notesEdit

There are a number of ways of telling Sunvox to play a note.

Virtual KeyboardEdit

In the Sunvox interface, at the bottom of the track area, is a virtual keyboard which will send a note signal when the buttons are touched or clicked.

MIDI KeyboardEdit

If you have a MIDI keyboard plugged in to your computer, and correctly configured (MIDI configuration is a menu option under the Preferences part of the main menu) then Sunvox will accept MIDI signals as input.

Physical KeyboardEdit

Sunvox will also read letters and symbols from a conventional computer keyboard and translate them into note signals.