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The boundaries of Synthesis?

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  • The boundaries of Synthesis?

    Trying to be serious for a second

    So we have pioneered and explored many of the various forms of synthesis,

    _______________________

    Additive Synthesis,

    Subtractive Synthesis,

    FM Frequency Modulation,

    RM Ring Modulation,

    AM Amplitude Modulation,

    Granular,

    Wavetable,

    PM Physical Modeling,

    Vector synthesis,

    ...etc

    So where does it go from here Gents?

    Is there any method or form to be discovered, that is radically different. or have the boundaries of synthesis been exhausted to a point that they come back on themselves?
    Evolutionary, rather than Revolutionary perhaps?

    Do we actually need any new form of synthesis?


    Discuss ..
    <div class="signaturecontainer"><i>Vive La Synthesizer!</i></div>

  • #2
    In my opinion Physical Modeling is still in its infancy. There is a big difference between making a calculation that produces a signal that sounds like a physical instrument (e.g. Karplus-Strong) and generating a signal using a mathematical model based on first principals.

    At some level it may be possible to make an isomorphism between a calculation such as Karplus-Strong and a numerical method used to estimate solutions to a mathematical model involving a very simple Wave equation, much like one can make analogies between various network/node equations in electronic circuits and structures with numerical methods for solving the Laplace equation. However there is a big difference between that and developing a full set of equations for the generation of sound by a specific instrument.

    As an aside it is possible that a specific model for a given instrument is not required. For example two drums with different drum head shapes may produce the same sound (spectrum). There is a very famous mathematical paper entitled"Can one hear the shape of a drum?" by Mark Kac (American Mathematical Monthly 73 (4, part 2): 1
    <div class="signaturecontainer">Gribs<br />
    <font size="3"><br />
    <font size="1"><i>...Music can be used to stimulate mass emotion, while mathematics cannot; and musical incapacity is recognized (no doubt rightly) as mildly discreditable, whereas most people are so frightened of the name of mathematics that they are ready, quite unaffectedly, to exaggerate their own mathematical stupidity.<br />
    </i><br />
    G.H. Hardy in A Mathematician's Apology (London 1941).</font></font></div>

    Comment


    • #3
      In my opinion Physical Modeling is still in its infancy. There is a big difference between making a calculation that produces a signal that sounds like a physical instrument (e.g. Karplus-Strong) and generating a signal using a mathematical model based on first principals.

      At some level it may be possible to make an isomorphism between a calculation such as Karplus-Strong and a numerical method used to estimate solutions to a mathematical model involving a very simple Wave equation, much like one can make analogies between various network/node equations in electronic circuits and structures with numerical methods for solving the Laplace equation. However there is a big difference between that and developing a full set of equations for the generation of sound by a specific instrument.

      As an aside it is possible that a specific model for a given instrument is not required. For example two drums with different drum head shapes may produce the same sound (spectrum). There is a very famous mathematical paper entitled"Can one hear the shape of a drum?" by Mark Kac (American Mathematical Monthly 73 (4, part 2): 1
      <div class="signaturecontainer">Goofball's mood for today: <img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/mad.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Mad" class="inlineimg" /><br />
      <br />
      <br />
      <font size="1">How perfectly goddamn delightful it all is, to be sure...&quot; -- Charles Crumb (1942-1994)</font></div>

      Comment


      • plaid_emu
        plaid_emu commented
        Editing a comment
        Goofball Jones wrote:
        In my opinion Physical Modeling is still in its infancy. There is a big difference between making a calculation that produces a signal that sounds like a physical instrument (e.g. Karplus-Strong) and generating a signal using a mathematical model based on first principals.

        At some level it may be possible to make an isomorphism between a calculation such as Karplus-Strong and a numerical method used to estimate solutions to a mathematical model involving a very simple Wave equation, much like one can make analogies between various network/node equations in electronic circuits and structures with numerical methods for solving the Laplace equation. However there is a big difference between that and developing a full set of equations for the generation of sound by a specific instrument. 

        As an aside it is possible that a specific model for a given instrument is not required. For example two drums with different drum head shapes may produce the same sound (spectrum). There is a very famous mathematical paper entitled"Can one hear the shape of a drum?" by Mark Kac (American Mathematical Monthly 73 (4, part 2): 1

      • #4

        So where does it go from here Gents?


        Better music?

        There's still far too much linear, single-path thinking out there as well as restrictions in user interfaces. Let's solve that first. Let's get rid of all of MIDI's drawbacks and pick something better. Let's teach people that innovation is not desperately trying to copy Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails or Justice 2 years after the fact, and that music theory does not make you less creative.

        Plus, there's still loads of work to do on the algorithm quality. Let's see how the Solaris gives the VST folks a much needed kick in the behind in terms of analog emulation, because we've still got quite a way to go.
        <div class="signaturecontainer">&quot;Part of an instrument is what it can do, and part of it is what you do to it&quot; - Suzanne Ciani, 197x.<br />
        <a href="http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?t=2077413" target="_blank">Synthesizer Programming Megathread - add your tips &amp; tricks or ask how to recreate sounds!</a></div>

        Comment


        • #5
          wasn't there a synth or two with a trapezoid wave? what happened to that?
          <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1"><br />
          <b>Give me my moog, but **** off you american techno rockstar! people in countries I've never been to do it better than you! </b><br />
          <br />
          <a href="http://www.computermusicguide.com" target="_blank">Computer Music Guide</a><br />
          <br />
          </font></div>

          Comment


          • #6
            wasn't there a synth or two with a trapezoid wave? what happened to that?


            Its mentioned here

            <div class="signaturecontainer"><i>Vive La Synthesizer!</i></div>

            Comment


            • #7
              You forgot Sample synthesis, just for completeness' sake.

              While it may be argued that sampling is not synthesis, the idea is that each of those methods produce a pitched signal that then can be modified by a sequence of filters and amplifiers (and further modified by all manner of stuff, depending on the synthesizer).

              So, once a sound has been turned into a set of values (sampled), it is converted into a signal that then can be set to a pitch (even if the pitch is not clear to the ear, like the sound of a burp), and so forth.
              SPAM - Korg Poly-800 w/ Moog Slayer mod $250 shipped CONUS
              Spunkytoofers Rabbit Hole (circuitbent PS-2) $300 shipped CONUS
              E-Mu Ultraproteus, power cord, good shape (minor rack wear) $225 + shipping
              Roland S-10 sampler, power cord, manual, and disks, great shape $100 + shipping (I just don't have room for it)

              Comment


              • Zentrails
                Zentrails commented
                Editing a comment
                "While it may be argued that sampling is not synthesis, "

                Not if you have a Yamaha SY77 or 99.

                I'd like to see chaos theory used with physical modelling as a starting point, that would be interesting.

            • #8
              interface--more and more natural/expressive controls

              in tiny boxes
              Hi Mom!

              Comment


              • #9
                I'll echo the controller remarks. We got the sounds. What we don't have is really good ways to provide expressiveness into the sounds. Synthesizer sounds even today are less dynamic than acoustic instruments, I'd like to see more movement to resolve this.
                <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1">What I make with way too many blinky light modular items, plugins, and an Alesis Andromeda. <br />
                <a href="http://forbiddenstar.com/" target="_blank">Forbidden Star: </a> home studio / melodic ambient / New Age / the deep zone<br />
                <a href="http://boneyfiend.com/" target="_blank">Boney Fiend: </a>the band, man / punk / garage / beer</font></div>

                Comment


                • #10
                  I recall an effect of MP3 low quality encoding that enhanced some synthi vowel sounds from a Korg OASIS, making them come alive. In fact I liked the effect on the whole piece (AL1 Demo) as it was less harsh and more organic. When I mentioned it to korg on a forum, they replace their original MP3 with a higher grade one which lowered the overal quality of the demo a little for my ears . A CD version I had was a little too sharp overall.

                  Food for thought in how you can use such encoding to alter sounds. Some sounds seem to suit the effect. I am sure some audio purists will not like what I have said but I really liked the effect.

                  世界で最高のシンセはmicroKORGにある

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Not really related here but I personally long for more instruments with identity and personality rather than ones that seem to meet general standards and check required features off a list.

                    Other than that, I look forward to see where the marriage of samples and synthesis will go.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Not really related here but I personally long for more instruments with identity and personality rather than ones that seem to meet general standards and check required features off a list.


                      I value the above ideas and statements.

                      ---

                      As Gribs mentioned, physical modeling is in its infancy, and is largely unexplored.

                      ---

                      Two forms of synthesis not mentioned within the first post are:




                        cheers,
                        Ian
                      <div class="signaturecontainer"><font color="red"><font size="2"><font face="arial"><b>@</b></font></font></font><font color="green"><font size="2"><font face="arial"><b>&gt;~,~~'~</b></font></font></font></div>

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        I have always dreamed that yammi would developed the Physical Modeling new keyboard.

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          I long for the build quality of a voyager with the features of a modern digital synth like a v-synth or an M3. I don't want a synth that built like an instrument (voyager) that's feature hamstrung and I don't want a synth that has the features but looks mass produced because it is.

                          No more plastic or square metal box pre-fab synths for crappy knobs all in a row!! Down with the status-quo! Grab the torches and pitchforks!! We demand instruments not lab toys!
                          <div class="signaturecontainer">Every man makes a mountain of his life and master plan...<br />
                          <br />
                          Why do you persist Mr. Anderson?<br />
                          <br />
                          We used to joke that Chaz's pec's were rock hard and could deflect bullets, I guess not...</div>

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            granular synthesis is still completely in its infancy but this is mainly just a matter of control still.. toooo many parameters...
                            <div class="signaturecontainer">invisible cowbell ---&gt; <img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/cop.gif" border="0" alt="" title="cop" class="inlineimg" /></div>

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