38

They are not identical. The differences are suble, but often audible. Different implementations of both oscillators and specific waveforms will yield slightly different timbres. The rest of the signal path also plays a role, like amps overdriving, and filters adding character themselves (some filters can't be completely bypassed, even when the knob is turned ...


34

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 ...


26

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 &...


24

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 ...


16

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 ...


16

The MIDI specification says: If an instrument receives two or more Note On messages with the same key number and MIDI channel, it must make a determination of how to handle the additional Note Ons. It is up to the receiver as to whether the same voice or another voice will be sounded, or if the messages will be ignored. The transmitter, however, must send a ...


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 ...


11

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 ...


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 ...


10

This is too long for a comment, so I'll make it an answer. Let's say you have a round-robin sample program that plays a different speech sample every time. You play this: NoteOn(1,40,100) // "one" NoteOn(1,40,100) // "two" NoteOn(1,40,100) // "three" NoteOn(1,40,100) // "four" NoteOn(1,40,100) // "five&...


8

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'.


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 ...


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

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 ...


7

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 ...


7

Non pitched sounds are sounds which are not only composed of a fundamental frequency and a distribution of its harmonics. That's quite a strict definition of 'non-pitched'. Most sounds that are essentially perceived as pitched by humans nevertheless contain energy at frequencies that are not exactly at the multiples of a fundamental - possibly because the ...


6

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 ...


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 ...


6

I think there is no definite answer to this but as a fellow DIY synth maker here are a few insights. First for the parameters. If you have a limit of available knobs, the most useful things to have first are: the attack time: the time to reach the value set by velocity the decay time: the time to reach the sustain level the sustain level the release time: ...


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 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 - ...


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

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 ...


5

I am not certain you will find a set of patches on the synth that really make the guitar sound like a synth. There's a fairly wide range of frequencies that a guitar can make, from about 82Hz at E2 (open, low E), all the way up to 1319Hz as E6 (24th fret, high E), on a 24 fret, 6 string guitar in standard tuning. You will probably not be able to find a set ...


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.


5

FM and additive synthesis have almost nothing in common. The only common aspect I can think of is that many FM synths allow using several oscillators or "operators" summed i.e. mixed together in adjustable mixture ratios, which is not in principle even a part of FM synthesis. The thing that FM synthesis conceptually does not do is add waves together, even ...


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