A synth pad is a sustained chord or tone generated by a synthesizer, often employed for background harmony and atmosphere in much the same fashion that a string section is often used in acoustic music. Typically, a synth pad plays many whole or half notes, sometimes holding the same note while a lead voice sings or plays an entire musical phrase. Often, the sounds used for synth pads have a vaguely organ, string, or vocal timbre. The main feature of a synth pad is very long attack and decay time with extended sustains. In some instances pulse-width modulation (PWM) using a square wave oscillator can be added to create a vibrating sound. Much popular music in the 1980s employed synth pads.
List of notable usage
- West End Girls by the Pet Shop Boys
- Creating & Using Synth Pad Sounds by Mike Senior, SOS, May 2010