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Tracking usually refers to how well an oscillator follows the pitch control voltage (CV) sent to it. As the voltage rises, the oscillator “tracks” it and produces a higher pitch. Most (but not all!) synths follow a 1 volt per octave system where a rise of 1.00 volts on the pitch input should produce exactly a doubling (one octave rise) in the oscillator’s pitch. If this is indeed what happens, the oscillator has good tracking. If the oscillator goes slightly out of tune, it is considered a tracking error, or to have poor tracking.

Sometimes you will find voltage-controlled filters have a “tracking” switch for a CV input where the pitch of the filter’s corner frequency only rises at 1/3, 1/2, or 2/3 of the corresponding change of the pitch input. This can prevent high notes from sounding too bright without the bass notes sounding too dull.

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