How Do You Add Portamento in Serum: A Step-by-Step Guide

Portamento is a versatile and essential feature in modern music production, allowing producers to smoothly glide between notes for a more fluid and expressive sound. In this step-by-step guide, we will delve into adding portamento in Serum, a popular software synthesizer. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced producer, this article will provide you with the necessary tools and techniques to incorporate portamento into your tracks, elevating your melodies to new heights.

Understanding Portamento: What Is It And Why Is It Important In Music Production?

Portamento, also known as glide, is a musical effect in which the pitch gradually slides from one note to another. It is an essential technique in music production as it adds a sense of fluidity, expressiveness, and emotion to a composition.

By smoothly transitioning from one pitch to another, portamento can create a sense of connection between notes, resulting in a more cohesive and melodic sound. It is commonly used in various genres such as electronic, pop, and R&B to add depth and uniqueness to musical phrases and melodies.

Understanding the concept of portamento is crucial for producers and musicians as it allows them to craft melodies and solos that are rich in texture and musicality. It helps in conveying certain moods or feelings within a composition and enhances the overall musical experience for the listener.

In this article, we will explore the step-by-step process of adding portamento in Serum, a popular virtual synthesizer, to enable producers and musicians to effectively incorporate this technique into their music productions.

Setting Up Serum: Configuring The Necessary Parameters For Adding Portamento.

Setting up Serum is the first step towards adding portamento to your music production. Configuring the necessary parameters in the software will allow you to control and customize the glide effect.

To begin, open Serum on your digital audio workstation (DAW) and load the desired patch or create a new one. Once the plugin is loaded, you can start configuring the necessary parameters.

First, locate the “Global” tab in the Serum interface. Here, you will find the necessary controls to enable and adjust portamento. Look for the “Porta” section, which stands for portamento.

Within the Porta section, you will find the “Always On” button, which needs to be enabled to activate the glide effect. Next, adjust the “Porta Time” knob to set the desired glide time. Higher values will result in longer glide times, while lower values will create quicker transitions between notes.

Additionally, you may want to adjust the “Pitch Bend Range” parameter, which controls the depth of the pitch bend effect applied during portamento. Experiment with different values to find the desired pitch modulation range.

By properly setting up Serum and configuring these necessary parameters, you will be ready to add portamento to your music and achieve smooth and seamless pitch transitions.

Enabling The Glide Feature: Activating And Adjusting The Glide Feature In Serum

The glide feature, also known as portamento, is an essential tool in music production that allows for smooth pitch transitions between notes. In Serum, enabling and adjusting the glide feature is a straightforward process.

To activate the glide feature in Serum, start by selecting the oscillator tab in the interface. Look for the “Glide” parameter and ensure it is activated by clicking on the button. This will enable the glide feature, allowing your notes to transition smoothly.

Once you have enabled the glide feature, you can adjust the glide time to determine the speed and duration of the pitch transitions. The glide time is measured in milliseconds and can be adjusted using the dedicated knob or by entering a specific value.

By experimenting with different glide times, you can achieve various effects. A shorter glide time will result in faster transitions, while a longer glide time will create more gradual and smoother transitions between notes.

Keep in mind that the glide feature will only be applied when you play legato, meaning that the next note is triggered before releasing the previous note. This adds an extra layer of expressiveness to your melodies and can bring your music to life.

Choosing The Portamento Time: Selecting The Desired Glide Time For Smooth Pitch Transitions.

Portamento is a powerful tool in music production that allows for smooth transitions between pitches. To achieve this effect in Serum, it is important to choose the appropriate portamento time. The portamento time determines how long it takes for the pitch to glide from one note to another.

In Serum, the portamento time can be adjusted using the “Porta” knob found in the Global section of the synth. By turning the knob clockwise, the portamento time increases, resulting in longer glides between notes. Conversely, turning the knob counterclockwise decreases the portamento time, creating shorter glides.

The choice of portamento time depends on the desired effect and musical context. For slow, legato passages, a longer portamento time can create a smooth, expressive glide between notes. On the other hand, a shorter portamento time can be used for faster passages, adding a subtle touch of pitch bending.

Experimenting with different portamento times can help achieve the desired feel and mood in a track. It is recommended to try various settings to find the perfect balance that complements the overall musical composition.

Adjusting The Pitch Bend Range: Modifying The Pitch Bend Range To Control The Depth Of Portamento.

Pitch bend range is a crucial parameter when it comes to adding portamento in Serum. By adjusting the pitch bend range, you can control the depth and intensity of the glide effect.

To adjust the pitch bend range in Serum, follow these steps:

1. Locate the “Global” section in the Serum interface.
2. Click on the small triangle icon to expand the section.
3. Look for the “PB Range” knob, which stands for pitch bend range.
4. Drag the knob left or right to increase or decrease the pitch bend range.

Increasing the pitch bend range widens the pitch modulation, resulting in a more noticeable and dramatic glide effect. Conversely, decreasing the pitch bend range makes the glide effect more subtle and gentle.

Experiment with different pitch bend range settings to achieve the desired level of portamento in your music production. Keep in mind that the optimal range may vary depending on the specific sound and context of your project.

Mastering the pitch bend range parameter will allow you to add depth, character, and excitement to your melodies by harnessing the power of portamento in Serum.

Applying Portamento to Single Notes: Adding glide to individual notes for a sliding effect

Applying portamento to single notes in Serum allows producers to create a unique sliding effect between each note. This technique is commonly used in various genres of music, including electronic, R&B, and pop, to add a smooth and fluid feel to melodies.

To apply portamento to single notes in Serum, start by selecting the desired note or notes that you want to slide. Then, enable the glide feature and adjust the portamento time parameter to control the speed of the slide. The longer the portamento time, the slower and more noticeable the slide will be.

Experiment with different portamento times to find the desired slide effect. For shorter slides, a portamento time of around 10-25 milliseconds is typically used, while longer slides may require a portamento time of 50-100 milliseconds.

By adding portamento to single notes, producers can enhance their melodies with expressive and dynamic slides, adding depth and character to their music productions.

Using Legato Mode For Continuous Portamento: Exploring The Legato Mode To Achieve Seamless Transitions Between Notes.

Legato mode is an essential feature in Serum that allows for continuous portamento between notes. When legato mode is enabled, the glide effect will only be applied to overlapping notes, creating a smooth and seamless transition between them.

To use legato mode in Serum, first enable the glide feature by adjusting the Glide knob in the Global tab. Next, make sure the Mono button is selected, as legato mode only works in monophonic mode. This means that only one note can be played at a time, and subsequent notes will trigger the glide effect.

Once legato mode is enabled, start playing a series of overlapping notes. As each new note is played, instead of triggering the immediate glide effect, it will smoothly transition from the previous note using the desired glide time set in the Portamento Time section.

Using legato mode can add a level of expressiveness and fluidity to your music. It is particularly useful in genres like jazz, where sliding between notes is a common technique. Experiment with different glide times and pitch bend ranges to achieve the desired effect and create unique melodies.

Tips And Tricks For Creative Portamento Techniques

In this section, we will dive into some advanced techniques and creative ways to use portamento in Serum. By experimenting with different settings and approaches, you can achieve unique and interesting results in your music production.

One tip is to combine portamento with other modulation effects. For example, by applying a slow LFO to the portamento time parameter, you can create evolving and evolving pitch glides.

Another technique is to use portamento on sustained chords or arpeggios. This can create a smooth and flowing transition between the notes, adding a sense of movement and progression to your music.

Additionally, you can try using different waveforms in the oscillator section and modulating the wavetable position with an envelope or LFO. This can lead to dynamic and expressive portamento effects.

Exploring the use of portamento in combination with filters, effects, and other plugins can also open up endless possibilities for creative sound design.

Remember to experiment and trust your ears while working with portamento in Serum. Don’t be afraid to break the rules and discover your own unique techniques for adding depth and character to your music.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ 1: What is portamento and how does it work?

Portamento is a technique that allows you to create smooth pitch transitions between different notes in a synthesizer. It creates a sliding effect from one note to another, adding a sense of fluidity and cohesion to your melodies. In Serum, portamento can be achieved by adjusting the glide time parameter, which controls the speed at which the pitch transition occurs.

FAQ 2: How can I add portamento in Serum?

To add portamento in Serum, follow these steps:
1. Open Serum in your DAW and select the oscillator tab.
2. Choose the desired wavetable and adjust the pitch to the starting note.
3. Locate the “Global” tab and find the “Glide” parameter.
4. Enable the Glide option and adjust the Glide Time to determine the speed of the pitch transition.
5. Play different notes on your MIDI keyboard or draw them in your piano roll to hear the smooth sliding effect between them.

FAQ 3: Are there any additional settings to enhance the portamento effect in Serum?

Yes, in Serum, you can further customize the portamento effect by utilizing the “Glide Type” parameter. This allows you to choose between different glide modes, such as “Constant Rate,” which maintains a consistent glide speed regardless of the distance between notes, or “Constant Time,” which adjusts the glide speed based on the pitch difference between notes. Experimenting with these settings can help you achieve the desired portamento effect and add more expressiveness to your sound.


In conclusion, adding portamento in Serum is a straightforward process that adds dynamic and expressive qualities to your sounds. By following the step-by-step guide outlined in this article, you can easily incorporate portamento into your music production. Whether you want to create smooth melodies or transition between different notes seamlessly, understanding and utilizing the portamento feature in Serum can greatly enhance your sound design abilities. Experiment with different settings and parameters to achieve the desired effect and unleash your creativity in producing unique and captivating music.

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