Tag Archives: synthesis

When it rains it pours

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I made up a patch in Pure Data that allows me to control the elements…mwaahhaahaha! Well, it allows me to create the sounds of the elements actually. Angela and I led a master class at Sydney Dance studios today. Angela led and I accompanied. I created music with a mixture of beats running from Ableton Live and played Bass and Tenor Bass (this is my Samick Bass with tenor strings…basically guitar strings long enough and thick enough to put on a bass). I love the sound of my tenor bass. It’s like a guitar with tons of fundamental! It’s a bit hard to play, but worth it. With this setup I created a mix of algorithmic glitch and techno and rock and even a bit of afrobeat.

There was one section of the class however that featured an improv based on the four elements (earth, air, fire and water). So for that part I layered some ambient musical sounds with sounds of…earth, air, fire and water.

So here is a bit of playing around with this patch to create a rainstorm (no music here). There are no samples used, it is all generated in real time and manipulated by me. The sounds are all created by the filtering and other mangling of white noise generators.

This patch borrows heavily from Andy Farnell’s tutorials on those sounds. Here is the patch.

Algorithms and Ambience

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I spent a couple hours this evening putting together a track that uses some algorithmically generated (although I use that term loosely, as most of the variation is from randomness…see this post for details) sound. I recorded some of that sound from a Pure Data patch. One thing to note is that the sound is all tempo synced to 120 bpm, but the rhythms vary randomly within that, but always on beat. So the rhythms can be on any 32nd note or 16th note, etc. Then I imported this into Ableton Live 7 (i have 8 also but it is really buggy at the moment, grrr).

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Karplus-Strong synthesis and randomness

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This is the second installment of a sound a day. It is a bit longer. I have now implemented a continuous randomization of the note values and durations in the sequencer, as well as the delay times in the K-S algorithm. It has an intriguing quality now. It never repeats and yet is quite rhythmic which makes your mind try to assign patterns. There are fleeting bits of pattern that are tantalizing without actually going anywhere and yet I find it quite fascinating to listen to. I have created two copies with independent timings and sent one to the left channel and one the right. The polyrhythms and occasional harmony add to the nagging feeling that something is happening that makes some sense, and yet it is driven by random number generators and filtered noise generators. It feels a bit fractal to me although there is nothing really fractal about it. It will be interesting to see if adding a fractal nature to the “patterns” sounds more interesting. By this I mean creating nested rhythmical and harmonic blocks. I’ll give it a go and post the results here soon.

Again this is the dry sound coming out of Pure Data. I have attached the patch for anyone who is interested.

Experiments with Pure Data and Karplus Strong synthesis

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This is just a short sample of a very basic (and mostly uninteresting to listen to) sequence. What IS interesting about it is the way it was created. I used Pure Data to generate the sound and create the sequence. There are no samples used here, and no “soft-synths” although strictly speaking I created a simple “soft-synth” here. There is only one sound source here, a sine wave oscillator being fed back into a 2nd order lowpass filter and a delay line. This is in fact the Karplus-Strong method of physically modeling a string. I have left the burst of sine wave very short here so the attack is a bit stronger than it would be with a normal string I think. But it’s quite remarkable how nice it sounds, with so little going into it. There are no additional effects. This is the dry sound coming out of  Pure Data. I have attached the patch for anyone who is interested.

The sequencer I copied from the excellent tutorial/manual site: Floss Manuals. I got turned on to the K-S method by Alex McLean who runs a fascinating blog at yaxu.org, and who implemented it using HaXe, Javascript and Flash. “Babble” is a really fun sound/pattern generator based on sound poetry and vocable words. You should really check it out!

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