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Computer Music Synthesis

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  1. Computer Music Synthesis MUET 495 Denny Lin

  2. Objectives of this course • Explore the history of computer music • Learn sound synthesis techniques using computer software • Build a MIDI music synthesizer system

  3. Definitions of Computer Music • Computer music includes theory and application of technologies in music: • Sound Design and Synthesis • Digital Signal Processing • Acoustics • Computer music is rooted in electronic music, and early experiments in electronic instruments • Recently, all music created with computing technology is called “Computer Music”

  4. Approaches to Computer Music • Computer Generated Music • Computer-generated scores for human players • Composed and performed by computer • Computer-Aided Algorithmic Composition • Machine Improvisation • Create improvisations based on existing musical material, by using machine learning or pattern matching algorithms • Live Coding • Interactive on-the-fly programming, integrating data from real-time controllers and gestures

  5. Music Synthesis • Music Synthesis is a particular application of sound synthesis • Sound synthesis is the process of generating sound from: • Mechanical equipment: Pipe organs • Electro-mechanical equipment: Telharmonium and Hammond organs • Analog electronic equipment: Moog and Buchla synthesizer • Digital electronic equipment: All MIDI controlled, and computer software based synthesizers • Computer Music Synthesis is the software driven approach to synthesizing sound for musical purposes

  6. Popular Sound Synthesis Techniques • Additive: Combine (adding) many waveforms pitched to different harmonics, each with different amplitude envelope, and inharmonic artifacts • Wavetable: Restricted form of additive synthesis, where all partials or overtones are harmonic • Subtractive: Remove harmonic content from sound using low-pass filter(s) • Frequency Modulation: Alter or distort the (carrier) audio frequency of an oscillator with the amplitude of another modulating audio signal • Granular: Cloud of layered sonic events, each 5-100ms long from synthetic waveforms or samples, played at different speed, phase and volume • Sampling: Multiple recordings (samples) of instruments are made for each of its registers, and sound levels • Physical Modeling: Use the physical model of an instrument, and mathematical equations to simulate its sound

  7. 1870s Gray’s Electric Telegraph for Transmitting Musical Tones Edison’s Phonograph 1890s – 1900s Aeriol Piano (First substantially complete player piano) Pianola Telharmonium or Dynamophone 1910s - 1920s Ondes Martenot Theremin Trautonium 1930s - 1940s Magnetophon and Stereo tape recorder Hammond organ invented 1950s – 1960s Scott’s Clavivox Schaeffer’s Concrete Music RCA Synthesizer (driven by punched-paper tapes) 1950s – 1960s (continued) ADSR Envelope specified Chowning discovers FM synthesis Voltage Controlled Oscillators First music synthesis software created: MUSIC 1 Moog Synthesizer 1970s – 1980s MiniMoog, Buchla Synthesizers IRCAM opens Yamaha DX-7 MIDI born 1990s – 2000s Software-based synthesizers Interactive computer-assisted performance MAX released Home-based production studios in software Short Timeline of Music Synthesis

  8. Note Names, MIDI Numbers, and Frequencies

  9. 12 Tone-Equal-Temperament Notes Vs. Frequencies

  10. Challenges • Find an equation that describes the curve of musical note frequencies • Write a program that calculates the frequency of each note in real-time, without frequency lookup • Program should play recorded notes from file • Are other frequencies less “valid” than the 12 tone-equal-temperament tuning?

  11. A PureData MIDI Sequencer

  12. References and PD Links Sound Synthesis and Electronic Music references • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_synthesis • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_music • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_music • http://music.calarts.edu/~eric/ • http://pcm.sapp.org/timeline/ • http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/jw/notes.html MUET495 Textbooks: • http://aspress.co.uk/ds/pdf/DesigningSound_abridged_Pure_Data_introduction.pdf • http://en.flossmanuals.net/PureData/FM_PureData_03Mar09.pdf PD Documentation • http://www.crca.ucsd.edu/~msp/Pd_documentation/index.htm PD Tutorials • http://www.pd-tutorial.com/english/index.html • http://obiwannabe.co.uk/tutorials/html/tutorials_main.html