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Welcome to Modalys!

This documentation covers the general use of the Modalys physical modeling synthesis software and has been throughly maintained. Although much of it has been redesigned and rewritten, many parts of it nonetheless are based on the original Morrison/Waxman documentation (either verbatim or paraphrased). It corresponds to Modalys 3.6.1, as of March 2021.

With Modalys you will enjoy creating mind-blowing virtual musical instruments based on physical models!

Please visit and stay tuned for IRCAM technologies, and can get some help from our Modalys Discussion Group.

Operating Sytem and Computer Requirements

Modalys works for :

  • Mac OS 10.10 and later, including Catalina and Big Sur (also on ARM machines)
  • Windows 7 and later (Modalys for Max only)
  • Intel Mac with a minimum of 2 Gigs of RAM.


Modalys is primarily a framework that can be used under various environments:

  • As Modalys for Max, a Max set of objects for realtime use (formely called 'Mlys'). Compatible with Max 7 and later.
  • As ModaLisp, a stand-alone application powered by LISP language.
  • As an OpenMusic library.
  • As a MatLab set of objects for scientific applications.

Modalys is compiled in 64bit for Mac & Windows.

NB : this documentation can be accessed either from ModaLisp Help menu or directly from /Applications/Modalys.

Table of Contents

This documentation is organized into the following sections:

  • Introduction - an overview and history of the program
  • Getting Started - practical information about installing Modalys
  • Objects - the basic sound-producing structures in Modalys
  • Accesses - points of communication between Modalys objects
  • Connections - physical interactions between Modalys objects
  • Controllers - managing Modalys parameters in time
  • Workspace - the Modalys working environment and its options
  • 3D Finite Elements - creating modal objects based on 3D meshes
  • Appendix - Supplementary Information
  • Index - an alphabetical index of Modalys functions

Modalys Documentation v. 3.6.1

Written by Richard Dudas, maintained by Robert Piéchaud - ©IRCAM 2021.