Algorithms and Ambience

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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Experiments with Pure Data and Karplus Strong synthesis

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, 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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