33

I haven't been able to listen to the files, but I think Pat's comment is very likely to be closest to the mark. From the spectrographs, it looks like you may be missing two things: Inharmonic partials - Because of the stiffness of the piano strings, the various sine waves generated are actually not exact even multiples of the fundamental. Instead, they are ...


32

They are not always the same. There can be differences in the harmonic content, in the wave shape, even if they are unnoticeable to the ear (or most ears). There are many different ways to generate the basic waveforms electronically, so in analog synths the actual waveform will depend on the design and implementation. I've also found that analog ...


23

The single biggest thing you're missing is an attack. Pat Muchmore's comment is exactly right: One thing that’s definitely missing: a real piano sounds has tons of non-harmonic components during the attack of the sound. The overtone series will help with the sustain and decay, but the attack needs lots of noise and inharmonic components. Nearly all ...


17

There are indeed new languages, as well as libraries within other languages. I'm going to list a few that spring to mind off the top of my head, and maybe come back and expand my answer later. edit 03/17: I have slightly revised the answer. Notable that to a great extent, SuperCollider is often used as a back-end for systems based in a range of languages &...


15

There's got to be a name to the discipline, some kind of resource, some formalized, real thing around that particular science of music... right? You are looking for sound synthesis and sound design. I'll present you some popular resources. Synth Secrets One of the most popular resources (if not the most popular) is Gordon Reid's Synth Secrets series. It ...


15

Firstly, a single oscillator will tend to produce rather a subjectively 'thin' and static sound. This isn't always the case (as later stages, such as the filter, or a separate chorus stage, can add warmth and movement), and it isn't always a bad thing - but of course if you want to have a one-oscillator sound on a synth that has more oscillators, you can ...


10

A sine wave (at least an ideal sine wave) is truly only a single frequency, and has no harmonic content beyond the fundamental. This gives it an extremely simple timbre that is indeed rather dull or pale. Square waves still have the fundamental frequency, but they also have many harmonic partials above it—specifically the odd partials, such as an octave and ...


8

In my understanding, all sounds are technically made from a combination of sin waves together that form a timbre, and as such any sound can be represented as a combination of sin waves. That's one of the ways that we can think about sound waves - and due to the way the ear is built, it probably is the best way for your question. From a survival point of ...


8

I think that the shortest and most precise answer to your question is: to produce timbres that are not possible with a single oscillator, including an entire form of synthesis (FM) that requires at least a second oscillator to modulate the first one. In a slightly longer answer I would describe the West Coast and East Coast approximations to synthesis, as ...


8

Perhaps the premise of your question is that a given sound relates to a particular wave form, so - with modern technology making it easy and cheap to do - why not just visualise and manipulate that wave form directly? You're certainly right that doing this is not a common approach, so I think this is a great question! One reason is that people find it quite ...


7

The spectral effect of hard sync is incredibly varied and not as systematic as AM or FM. However, it is definitely capable of producing inharmonic spectra. Here's an excellent article explaining how hard sync can make synthesis of an acoustic piano more realistic by creating inharmonic sounds reminiscent of the striking of the string by the hammer and such: ...


7

An electrical instrument built in 1933, divided into a ten-division octave, instead of twelve. Billed as 'Altogether new types of melodies, far beyond the range of our present musical experience, emanate from this instrument'. The decimal version of music? Sometimes known as Mellerton. Obviously didn't catch on... , but good for 'playing in the cracks'.


7

A couple things not covered elsewhere: You can’t just draw a waveform and have it sound like a real instrument. The steady state waveform of an instrument is only a small part of its overall timbre, and timbre reproduction is very difficult. A lot of synthesis these days is not meant to reproduce the sounds of other instruments, but to make new sounds. ...


6

I would still recommend Csound as the best tool for text-based audio programming. It is actively under development and has kept pace with recent advances. One other worthy mention is a library called pyo which can be used with Python 2.7 and Python 3.5+. The developers for that have a lot of other nice tools which you might want to check out. If you want to ...


6

I think most people learn by mucking around with synths and seeing what sounds come out; as you do this, you learn to associate certain synth architectures (and certain parameter settings) with certain sounds, and get to the point where you can make the association in reverse. (You also learn which synth architetures are more suited to certain sounds). If ...


6

For a monophonic instrument, or a polyphonic instrument with the number of voices set to one, you can use simple tricks to get legato-only portamento to work. Here's one such solution, which temporarily sets the portamento time to its minimum value at the start of non-legato notes: You start with the Single Trigger Gate module, which creates a gate signal ...


5

There is no blanket answer to your question. It depends. "It depends" isn't very useful though, so let's try to dive a little more into it. Advantages and disadvantages Generally speaking: Sample: Less complexity, less flexibility. Synthesis: More complexity, more flexibility. But it's not that simple, and the weight of those cons and pros depend on ...


5

With little experience and without clear vision of requirements, this probably will not be the last synthesizer you ever buy. In other words, you are buying the exploration device. For such a device, I would suggest to set the budget limit and select the synthesizer that has as many various features available as possible. Then you will be able to try all of ...


5

There are at least two effects at work. They're related and connected, yet I'd keep them apart: Transient smearing Bowed strings have naturally a pretty bright, edgy sound – in synthesizer terminology, it's actually similar (albeit more complex) to a sawtooth wave. These hard edges in the signal sound kind of raspy. (Particularly pronounced when beginning ...


5

To answer your last question first, tuners pretty much do this. So a tuner VST may help. I have not tried it, especially on inharmonic sounds. Here's a definition (Wikipedia): The fundamental frequency, often referred to simply as the fundamental, is defined as the lowest frequency of a periodic waveform. [...] In terms of a superposition of sinusoids (e....


5

Reverb and echo have nothing to do with it. Many old synths have no reverb or echo effects of any kind, yet they're full of "pad" sounds. A pad is a steady, long sustained sound with a non-sharp attack that's used for filling the soundscape. A Hammond organ can be used as a pad if the attack is softened and the sound is let ring steadily.


4

There are some interesting algorithmic composition frameworks based on the LISP programming language: Nyquist https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~music/nyquist/ Open Music http://repmus.ircam.fr/openmusic/home There is a book on Nyquist written by computer scientists/composers who developed the language - algocompbook.com. Open Music was built by people at IRCAM - ...


4

You could have a look at Csound, Pure Data, SuperCollider, or ChucK to name but a few. These are audio programming environments with full flexibility to do whatever you could think of, including additive synthesis, but be prepared for an intense learning period.


4

Your hypothesis that the violins don't sound exactly alike because they are not perfectly identical is indeed part of the reason why a violin section has a chorus effect, rather than sound like a louder violin. Here is the list of things that would cause a section of violins to have the chorus effect compared to an individual violinist: No two violins are ...


4

I'd say you're learning just how subtlely the human ear can detect small differences in phases and frequencies. Your synth appears to have some slightly off- peak frequencies at higher amplitudes than the real one. All I can say is that there's a reason all high-end digital pianos use samples rather than raw frequency generators.


4

Your amplitude graphs and your envelope graphs make it clear that you have not matched the phases of the components. This causes the attack to be smeared out in time. It also causes the lack of "lean to the left" of the components in the envelope -- the envelope of the piano is more sawtooth than your band-limited triangle synthetics. Shifting some of ...


4

If you want to be able to play a melody while using Shepard Tones, the easiest way is probably to use a simple synth sound with a lot of harmonics, like an unfiltered sawtooth wave, and run it through a band-pass filter bank with constantly shifting frequencies. Here's an instrument that uses a variable number of band-pass filters tuned an octave apart. ...


4

There is software that will analyze an audio file and calculate how to re-synthesize it, but it is geared mostly towards additive synthesis and frequency modulation synthesis. In the case of additive synthesis this is logical, because if you know the level of each harmonic of a sound, you can recreate it exactly with additive synthesis. The drawback is of ...


4

It's not clear exactly what genres (the phrase "modern music" isn't very precise) you're asking about, so I'll cover several of them: Rock, Hard Rock, Punk, Country: More often real acoustic drums played by a drummer and recorded. Sometimes drum replacement may be used if one or more of the drum sounds is off or has a problem - that's where the acoustic ...


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