Patchbook Save

Markup language and parser for writing and distributing patches for modular synthesizers.

Project README

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About PatchBook:

PatchBook is a markup language and parser for writing and distributing patches for modular synthesizers created by Spektro Audio. The markup language is designed to be easily readable and writeable by humans while the parser can process .txt files written in the PatchBook format and output a JSON file that can be used by other applications to display and process the patch's data.

Patchbook Version: 1.2 Parser version: b3

Table of Content:

  • Markup Description
    • Voices
    • Connections
    • Parameters
    • Comments:
    • Examples
  • Parser
    • Requirements
    • How to Use
    • Data Structure

Markup Description


Voices must be written in all caps, without any spaces before the name and followed by a colon.

  • BASS 1:
  • VOICE 1:
  • LEAD:

Every connection described after a voice annotation will be assigned to that voice.


Every connection (patch cable) must be annotated using the following format: - Output Module (Output Label) >> Input Module (Input Label).

- Maths (Ch. 1 Unity) >> Polaris (CV 2)
- Tides (Bi) >> Braids (Timbre)

While the >> indicator can be used to indicate a standard connection, it could (and should) also be replaced by more specific indicators according to the kind of signal being sent from the Output Module to the Input Module:

  • >> for CV
  • -> for Audio
  • p> for Pitch (1v/oct or Hz/V)
  • g> for Gate
  • t> for Trigger
  • c> for Clock


- Metropolis (Pitch) p> Braids (1 V/Oct)
- Pamela's Workout (1) c> Penta (Clk)
- Braids (Out) -> Polaris (Input)

Additional info:

  • The manufacturer's name should only be included if the module's name is too generic (example: VB Modular ADSR).
  • Non-modular equipment (such as audio interfaces, recorders, and other synths) should be written in all caps: NAME OF GEAR (Input or Output).
  • While specific module names are preferable, they can also be replaced by more generic names such as VCA, ADSR, Oscillator, etc.

Extra arguments:

Additional GraphViz arguments such as color, weight, and style can be appended to the connection line in between brackets and separated by commas.


- Metropolis (Pitch) p> Braids (1 V/Oct) [color=red, weight=3]

Supported GraphViz arguments: color, weight, style, dir, and arrowtail.


Parameters can be annotated in 2 different ways: single line or multiline. Every parameter annotation must start with an asterisk character before the module name.


* Function: Rise = 50% | Fall = 50% | Curve = 30%


* Braids:  
	| Mode = CSAW  
	| Color = 50%  
	| Timbre = 50%  

Additional info

  • Parameter values can be written as knob / fader position (percentage), specific value followed by unit (5Hz, 10ms, etc.), or as a descriptive value (fast, slow, simple, complex, short, long).
  • Parameters are not assigned to any voice since the same module can be used in multiple voices.


Comments can be added to the patch by prepending two forward slashes (//).


// This is a nice comment


Example 1

	- Metropolis (Pitch) p> Braids (1v/oct) [weight=3]
	- Metropolis (Gate) g> Function (Trigger)
	- Braids (Out) -> Optomix (Ch1 Signal)
	- Function (+ Out) >> Optomix (Ch1 CV)
	- Function (- Out) >> Braids (Timbre CV)
	- Optomix (Out 1) -> AUDIO INTERFACE (input)

	* Metropolis:
	| BPM = 124
	| Swing = 0
	| Root = F
	| Scale = Minor
	| Mode = F. Forward
	| Stages = 16

	* Braids:
	| Mode = Fold
	| Timbre = 30%
	| Timbre CV = -20%
	| Color = 0%

	* Function: Rise = 50% | Fall = 50% | Curve = 30%
	* Optomix: Damp = 0% | Control = 100%

Example 2


	- Metropolis (Pitch) p> Aether VCO (CV)
	- Metropolis (Gate) g> Maths (Ch 1 Trigger)
	- Metropolis (Gate) g> Maths (Ch 4 Trigger)

	* Aether VCO: LFO Freq = 5 | LFO PWM = 7
	- Aether VCO (Pulse) -> Mixer (Ch1)
	- Aether VCO (Sub 1) -> Tides (Clk)
	- Tides (Bi) -> Mixer (Ch2)
	- Aether VCO (Sub 2) -> Z3000 (HSync)
	- Z3000 (Saw) -> Mixer (Ch3)

	- MultiLFO (LFO 1) >> Tides (Smoothness)
	- MultiLFO (LFO 2 Triangle) >> Tides (Shape)
	- MultiLFO (LFO 3 Triangle) >> Z3000 (PWM)
	* MultiLFO:
	| LFO 1 Freq = 3.8
	| LFO 1 Shape = Sine
	| LFO 1 S&H = 0
	| LFO 2 Freq = 1
	| LFO 3 Freq = 1
	* Tides: PLL Mode = True | Freq = 60% | Smoothness = 70%
	* Z3000: Freq = 1pm

	- Maths (Ch 1) >> Multifilter (CV)
	- Maths (Ch 4) >> uVCA (Ch1 CV)

	- Mixer (Output) -> Multifilter (Input)
	- Multifilter (LPF) -> uVCA (Ch1 Input)
	- uVCA (Ch1 Output) -> AUDIO INTERFACE (In 3)


The PatchBook parser is a Python program that can read text files written in the PatchBook format and generate a JSON file.


  • Python 3

How to Use

To use the parser, download the python script, open the terminal and use the command:

python3 path/to/script/ -file /path/to/textfile.txt

After loading the text file into the parser, you can use the following commands to process it:

  • module: Outputs a list of connections and parameters for a specific module.
  • connections: Prints a list of all connections organized by type (pitch, gate, clock, etc.).
  • export: Generates a JSON file based on the input text file.
  • graph: Generates a code that can be copied to pasted into the Graphiz Online editor to generate a signal flow chart for the patch (that can be downloaded as a SVG or PNG file). Non-programmers have the option to use the Patchbook to GraphViz Online Converter to create flowcharts without having to install Python and use the parser.

Example syncpll signal flow generated using GraphViz

Alternatively, any of the above commands may be invoked on the command line with a dash prefix, in which case the text file is parsed, the command is executed, and the program exits. This makes it possible to produce (for example) an SVG file in one step like so:

python3 path/to/script/ -file /path/to/textfile.txt -graph | dot -Tsvg > /path/to/svgfile.svg

Graphs are constructed horizontally left-to-right by default, but you may use the -dir option to change the direction of the graph to vertical top-to-bottom like so:

python3 path/to/script/ -file /path/to/textfile.txt -graph -dir DN

Data Structure

Patchbook Data Structure

Patchbook was created by Ícaro Ferre / Spektro Audio.
Twitter: @icaroferre / @spektroaudio

Open Source Agenda is not affiliated with "Patchbook" Project. README Source: SpektroAudio/Patchbook
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