[music-dsp] Moving beyond sin, saw, square and triangle waves

Ross Bencina rossb-lists at audiomulch.com
Mon Aug 30 03:23:12 EDT 2010

Hi Alan

I'd have a look at programs like SuperCollider, PD and CSound since they 
come with a wide range of building blocks and a whole lot of user-developed 
synthesis examples built on top of them. Plus they have huge communities of 
users all of whom could answer questions like "how do I synthesise X" -- not 
that that should stop you asking here, but it will at least give you an idea 
of the breadth of the common possibilities.

There are really at least two main areas you need to learn about (1) sound 
synthesis and (2) software implementation of sound synthesis algorithms. 
Information on (1) is much more broadly available since a lot is applicable 
to analog synths, software synthes etc whereas (2) is more specific.

It's hard to point you at any one resource (aside from musicdsp.org and the 
archives for this mailing list which has over 10 years of useful stuff in 
it). Musicdsp lore is scattered everywhere. Particular items of interest are 
scattered through the Journal of the AES, DAFX conferences, ICMC 
(http://quod.lib.umich.edu/i/icmc/browse.html), Computer Music Journal, and 
a few books (Chamberlain's Musical Applications of Microproecessors comes to 
mind). A lot of this stuff can be found with google.

You should probably check out the DAFX book, it documents a number of the 
basic techniques and should be useful for getting started. The CSound book 
is not bad in terms of surveying a range of algorithms.

Jon Dattoro's Effect Design papers are worth looking at:

I notice Chameleon have a nice list of DSP links, you could do worse than 
following those (under DSP research and Algorithms):

For drum synthesis there here are a few options that come to mind:

- Filtered noise
- Swept oscillators (eg for kick drum)
- FM synthesis (google "FM Drum Synthesis")

Which reminds, me, the Synth Secrets column in Sound On Sound is pretty good

Sorry if this is too much info....



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Alan Wolfe" <alan.wolfe at gmail.com>
To: "A discussion list for music-related DSP" <music-dsp at music.columbia.edu>
Sent: Monday, August 30, 2010 11:30 AM
Subject: [music-dsp] Moving beyond sin, saw, square and triangle waves

> Hey Guys!
> I've been playing around with programming music and sound for a little
> bit and been havin lots of fun, but am wonderin what i should start
> looking into next since i've been sticking to the basics.
> Here's the kind of stuff i've been doing:
> * Used 4 basic sound waves:  sin, saw, square, triangle
> * Calculated frequencies of notes and made basic songs
> * Multiplied and added waves together to get different sounds
> * Faded individual notes in and out at the edges of the note to get
> rid of popping
> * Scanned through rendered out sound data and "normalized" it so that
> the loudest part mapped to just about full volume (in case the sound
> was too quiet or too loud)
> I'm kind of interested in learning how to make other kinds of sounds,
> or doing effects such as reverb and delay, or even trying to figure
> out how you would make a sound wave that sounded drum like.
> Do you guys have any tips on that stuff or have any recommendations on
> what would be good to look at next?
> Thank you (:
> Alan
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