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WebAudio Tiny GM mapped Synthesizer [JavaScript]



webaudio-tinysynth is a small synthesizer written in JavaScript with GM like timbre map. All timbres are generated by the combinations of Oscillator and dynamically generated BufferSource algolithmically without any PCM samples.

  • There are two ways to use this library, CustomElement or simple Javascript library. The CustomElement can be used by a Tag in HTML, '<webaudio-tinysynth></webaudio-tinysynth>'. It has small graphical display and play controls like HTML5 <audio> tags. MIDI file drop is also acceptable. JavaScript version has no GUI and everything are controlled by function call. The synthesizer instance will be created like this: 'synth = new WebAudioTinySynth()'. You can control from the JavaScript API in the same way in either usage.

  • The APIs are MIDI like. Function send([midi-message],timestamp) receives MIDI message and generate sounds.

  • Two timbre set are supported. These are switched by quality option. quality=0 mode is light-weight chip-tune like sounds that use 1 osc per 1 note. quality=1 mode is FM based sounds and use 2 or more osc per 1 note.

  • webaudio-tinysynth has a built-in MIDI-SMF (.mid file) sequencer. It is initiated by function call or MIDI file drag & drop.

CustomElement version GUI :
./tinysynth0.png MIDI files is not loaded

./tinysynth1.png MIDI files is loaded
Upper red indicator shows Note#
Lower red indicator shows MIDI ch.


webaudio-tinysynth.js : JavaScript library
webaudio-tinysynth.min.js : JavaScript library minified version
Each one works with only one file, there are no dependencies.


Webaudio-tinysynth is confirmed to work with the following browsers

  • Chrome / Firefox / Edge / Safari

Live Demo

Test Pages are here :
soundedit.html (CustomElement playable demo with timbre edit function / MIDI keyboard via WebMIDI API)
simple.html (Most simple sample of CustomElement)
jstest.html (Use from simple JavaScript without GUI)


Load this Library

  • Necessary file is a webaudio-tinysynth.js ( or minified webaudio-tinysynth.min.js ) only. Deploy webaudio-tinysynth.js appropriately and load library:
    • <script src='webaudio-tinysynth.js'></script>.
    • Or load it from a CDN:
      <script src=''></script>
    • Or:
      <script src=''></script>
    • Or via npm (npm install webaudio-tinysynth --save):
      var WebAudioTinySynth = require('webaudio-tinysynth');

Without GUI

  • To make the instance of synthesizer without GUI, use following command :
    synth = new WebAudioTinySynth();
    Some options are acceptable. For example :

    • synth = new WebAudioTinySynth({quality:0, useReverb:0});
  • Then use the function calls described later for that instance. For example...
    synth.send([0x90, 60, 100]); // NoteOn:ch1 Note#:60 Velocity:100

With GUI

  • If you want to run on older browsers that don't support custom elements, you need a polyfill of 'CustomElements'. Following script tag will load polyfill from CDN. Be sure to read polyfill before webaudio-tinysynth.js
  • <script src=""></script>

  • Place webaudio-tinysynth element in HTML

    • <webaudio-tinysynth></webaudio-tinysynth>
    • To get instance of synthesizer for JavaScript API, as usual:
      synth = document.getElementById("wbaudio-tinysynth tag id here");


These attributes are for CustomElement.

Attribute Options Default Description
width String "300px" width of element
height String "32px" height of element
masterVol Number 1.0 master volume
reverbLev Number 0.3 reverb level
useReverb Number 1 disable Reverb if 0. It makes a little save the CPU consumption.
quality Number 1 0: 1osc/note chiptune like
1: 2 or more oscs/note FM based
src String null .mid file url
loop Number 0 loop playMIDI
disableDrop Number 0 disable MIDI file drop
graph Number 1 enable waveform graph
internalContext Number 1 Use internal audioContext
tsmode Number 0 default timestamp mode
perfmon Number 0 performance monitor
voices Number 64 Max number of simultaneous voices. Large number needs more CPU.
  • In default, necessary audioContext will be created internally. internalContext="0" will prevent this and should provide audioContext with setAudioContext() function.
  • Note that the webaudio-tinysynth may not be ready yet immediately after 'window.onload' if you use 'CustomElement'. especially be careful if using webcomponents polyfill. Use ready() function for wait to complete th initialize that return a Promise that will be resolved when initialize completed.
    isReady flag also be usable for confirming the synth is ready.
// use "then"
synth = document.getElementById("synth");

// or in "async" function : 
async function() {
  synth = document.getElementById("synth");
  await synth.ready();


These functions are available for polymer module and javascript version.


Constructor of WebAudioTinySynth for JavaScript version. This is not used for Polymer version. options is a object with members :

quality : Specify timbre quality same as setQuality(). default is 1.
useReverb : If zero, disable reverb function.
voices : max number of voices.

For example, new WebAudioTinySynth({quality:0, useReverb:0, voices:32})


Get current in-use AudioContext.

setAudioContext(audioContext, destinationNode)

In default, though audioContext is internally created and used, this function can specify audioContext should be used.
All sounds are routed to specified destinationNode, or audioContext.destination is used if destinationNode is not specified.
the audioContext in use currently can be accessed with getAudioContext() fucntion.


get name of specified timbre. m=0:normal channel voice,n=prog#. or m=1:drum track,n=note#


Switch timbre set.
q=0 : chip tune like 1 osc / note.
q=1 : FM based 2 (or more) osc / note.


Master volume setting. default=0.5.


Reverb Level setting. default=0.3.


if non zero, MIDI play is looped.


set max voices that simultaneous sounds, default is 64.


load MIDI data to built-in sequencer. mididata is a arraybuffer of SMF (.mid file contents).


load MIDI data from specified url


play loaded MIDI data.


stop playing MIDI data.


locate current playing position in tick.


get current MIDI sequence play status. return value is a object {play:playstatus, curTick:currenttick, maxTick:maxtick}


Set time stamp mode that is used in send() or Channel message functions.
If mode=0 timestamp is a time of in-use audioContext's currentTime timeline. If mode=1 timestamp is HighResolutionTime timeline.


Even webaudio-tinysynth has defaultly GM mapped timbre set, This function can overwrite with user-definable timbre.
m=0 : timbre for normal channel.
m=1 : timbre for rhythm channel (ch=9).
n : program number for normal channel or notenumber for rhythm channel.
p : timbre object. Source of this object can be created by soundedit.html (Details are not yet documented)


Reset all channel to initial state. Including all controllers, program, chVol, pan and bendRange.

send([midi-message], t)

midi-message is an array of midi data-bytes for one message. For example,
send([0x90, 60, 100], t) is for NoteOn ch=1 note#=60 velocity=100.
t is a timestamp that this message should be processed.
The timeline of t is depends on timestampmode that is set by setTsMode() function. If timestampmode == 0 (default), t is a time (sec) in timeline of the in use audioContext.currentTime. If timestampmode == 1, t is a time (msec) in HighResolutionTime ( timeline.
In both timestamp mode, this message will be immediately processed if t=0 or omitted. If timestampmode is omitted, the mode depends on tsmode in Attributes.

Channel Message Functions

Followings are voicing functions that controls each note directly. Each function is almost equivalent to corresponding send([MIDI-message],t) but prepared for human readability.

In these functions, the ch parameter specify the MIDI channel. Each channel has individual timbre and set of control parameters, for example bend, modulation, expression, and so on. ch range is 0-15. (In MIDI spec., called 'channel 1-16')
ch==9 is a special channel for rhythm. In this channel, each note number is assigned to individual percussive instruments according to GM drummap (Note number 35-81).

Almost function has the timestamp, t parameter. That specify accurate timing of the effect occur. Refer send() function for details of timestamp. Anyway the command is immediately processed if t is 0 or omitted.

noteOn(ch, note, velo, t)

Generate a note in specified channel. note is the note number that specify pitch. 60 is middle 'C'. velo is velocity that control the volume of the note. velocity range is 0-127. this function is processed same as noteOff() if velo is 0.

noteOff(ch, note, t)

stop the note that is generated by noteOn(). One noteOff() (or equivalent noteOn with velo=0) should be called corresponding to one noteOn() call.

setModulation(ch, val, t)

set modulation (vibrato) depth. val range is 0-127. +- 100 cent depth if val=127.

setChVol(ch, val, t)

set volume of the channel. val range is 0-127. Default value is 100.

setPan(ch, val, t)

Set pan of the channel. val range is 0-127. Default value=64.

setExpression(ch, val, t)

Set expression level. val range is 0-127. Both Expression and ChVol are control the Channel volume, but Expression is mainly used as note's articulation.

setSustain(ch, val, t)

Set sustain pedal state. While sustain is on, generated notes in that channel are sustained even corresponding noteOff() is called. Note that val is judged as 'on' if val>=64. Usually use 0 and 127 as a value.

setProgram(ch, pg)

Set timbre for that channel. pg range is 0-127 that is timbre number in GM map.

setBend(ch, val, t)

Set pitch bend state. Notes in this channel are all affected to this pitch modification. val range is 0 to 16384 and the center with no bend is 8192. sensitivity is depends on setBendRange() setting. Default state is 8192.

setBendRange(ch, val)

Set bend sensitivity for that channel. val unit is 100/127 cent. That means +-1 octave if 0x600, +-1 semitone if 0x80. Default value is 0x100 that means +-200 cent (2 semitone) range.


Stop all sound of specified ch immediately. All notes initiated by noteOn() go to noteOff state.


Control parameters of specified ch are reset. It includes Bend / Modulation / Expression / Sustain.

MIDI implimentation chart

Recognized Description
Basic Channel Yes 1-16. ch10 = drum track
NoteOn / NoteOff Yes note# 0-127 / velocity 0-127
Polyphonic Pressure No
Control Change Yes see bellow
Program Change Yes program 0-127
Channel Pressure No
Pitch Bend Yes -8192 - +8191
------------------------ ---------- --------------------------------
Control Number
1 Yes Modulation
6 / 38 Yes Data Entry
7 Yes Channel Volume
10 Yes Pan
11 Yes Expression
64 Yes Sustain
100/101 Yes RPN Index
------------------------ ---------- --------------------------------
Channel Mode Message
120 Yes all sound off
121 Yes reset all controller
123 Yes all note off
------------------------ ---------- --------------------------------
0 Yes Bend Range
1 Yes Channel Fine Tuning
2 Yes Channel Coarse Tuning
------------------------ ---------- --------------------------------
Universal SysEx
F0 F7 xx 04 03 lsb msb F7 Yes Master Fine Tuning
F0 F7 xx 04 04 00 msb F7 Yes Master Coarse Tuning
------------------------ ---------- --------------------------------
GS Exclusive
F0 41 xx 42 12 40 00 05 xx xx xx xx sum F7 Yes Master Tuning
F0 41 xx 42 12 40 00 05 xx sum F7 Yes Master Transpose
F0 41 xx 42 12 40 1x 15 xx sum F7 Yes Use For Rhythm Part
F0 41 xx 42 12 40 1x 4x xx sum F7 Yes Scale Tuning
------------------------ ---------- --------------------------------

Timbre Object Structure

As you can see that in source code, each timbre is represented as a object array. Fore example the program# 1 "Acoustic Grand Piano" is like this :


Each element of the array means a oscillator and object member means :

  • g: output destination 0=final output / n=FM to specified osc
  • w: waveform
    "sine"/"sawtooth"/"square"/"triangle" (basic waveforms)
    "w9999" (summing 1-4 harmonics)
    "n0" (white noise)
    "n1" (metalic noise)
  • v: volume
  • t: tune factor according to note#
  • f: fixed frequency in Hz
  • a: attack time
  • h: hold time
  • d: decay time
  • s: sustain level
  • r: release time (5 params make AHDSR envelope)
  • p: pitch bend
  • q: pitch bend speed factor
  • k: volume key tracking factor

You can test how these parameter work with 'Timbre Editor' panel in 'soundedit.html'. And the created timbre can be used with setTimbre() function.


Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0


Light-weight GM mapped WebAudio-JavaScript Synthesizer Engine / MIDI Player







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