Thursday, April 19, 2018
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
- Watch this video.
- Create a google doc and title it Attack, Decay,Sustain,Release
- Write down 10 things you learned about Attack, Decay,Sustain,Release
- Share your doc with firstname.lastname@example.org . Then
- Open audiosuana and experiment with the filters.
Monday, April 16, 2018
And share it.
Also, click on the send notification
Also, click on the send notification
at 7:35 AM
Thursday, April 12, 2018
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
1. Create a google doc
2. Read the following article
3. Find 10 questions and answers (Throughout the whole article and put them in the google doc.
(You can copy and paste the questions and answers).
4. share the doc with me.
by Chris Woodford. Last updated: August 25, 2017.
Synthesizers are the most modest musical instruments you can imagine. They look like small and rather mundane electronic pianos, but they're actually much more than that. If you can play a synthesizer, you can play not just any instrument in the orchestra but any instrument you could possibly imagine! Synthesizers have radically changed popular music since they were first widely used in the early 1970s; hardly a pop record is made these days without featuring an electronic keyboard of some kind. How do these amazing gadgets work? Let's take a closer look!
Photo: Two in one: There are two completely separate electronic synthesizer keyboards stacked together here. The top one is a 61-key Yamaha Motif ES 6; underneath there's a Kurzweil. Unlike a piano, the sounds from these keyboards can be changed in all kinds of ways using the switches and knobs at the top. A small digital display (green, center) helps you program the machine. Photo by Edward G. Martens courtesy of US Navy.
What is a synthesizer?
Photo: The Yamaha DX-9 synthesizer, popular in the 1980s, is much more than just an electronic piano! Other famous makes of synthesizers include Moog, Roland, Korg, and Casio.
A synthesizer (sometimes spelled "synthesiser") is an electronic keyboard that can generate or copy virtually any kind of sound, making it able to mimic the sound of a traditional instrument, such as a violin or piano, or create brand new, undreamed of sounds—like the crunch of footsteps on the surface of Mars or the noise blood cells make when they tumble through our veins. "Synthesize" means to make something new, often by putting it together from existing pieces. So we can think of a synthesizer as an electronic gadget that makes new sounds by piecing together "old" ones. To understand how it does that, we need to know more about sound and how different instruments produce it in different ways.
What makes one instrument sound different from another?
When two instruments play exactly the same musical note, at roughly the same volume, they can sound completely different. How can that be if they're producing the same sound waves? The answer should be obvious: they're not producing the same sound waves! We can use an oscilloscope (an electronic graph-drawing machine, a bit like a cathode-ray TV, only it shows pictures of what waves look like) to see the difference.
Artwork: Sine, square, sawtooth, and triangular waves as they'd appear on the screen of an oscilloscope.
If we play a pure musical note with a tuning fork, the oscilloscope shows an undulating hilly pattern called a sine wave. But if we play the same note with a trumpet, the wave will look more zig-zagged, like the teeth of a saw (it's usually called a saw-tooth wave). If we play the same note again on a flute, we will see triangular waves, while a clarinet, blown hard, playing exactly the same note, might well give us square waves. The shape of the sound waves , which is controlled by how the instrument pumps energy into the world around it—in other words, how it vibrates and makes the air around or inside it vibrate in sympathy—is one of the things that makes instruments sound different from one another.
You can hear the difference between sine waves, square waves, and sawtooth waves in this little sound clip. In each case, we're hearing a note with exactly the same frequency (440 Hz):
There are other factors too. An instrument doesn't just produce a single sound wave at a single pitch (frequency). Even if it's playing a steady note, it's making many different sound waves at once: it makes one note (called a fundamental frequency or first harmonic) and lots of higher, related notes called harmonicsor overtones. Playing together, the harmonics make a dense, complex sound a bit like a barber's shop choir, with low voices and high voices all singing in tune. The more harmonics there are, the richer the sound.
A third factor that makes instruments different is the way the sound waves they make change in volume (amplitude) over time. Instruments don't make sounds the way lamps make light: it's not "all" or "nothing." If you press a piano key and release it, the sound changes volume gradually over time. First, it rises quickly (or "attacks") to its maximum volume. Next, the sound "decays" to a lower level and stays there or "sustains." Finally, when we let go of the key, the sound "releases" and dies down to silence. In a piano, the attack phase is fairly slow and the sustain phase can be really long as the notes take a long time to die away. But with a flute, the attack phase is quicker and sharper, there is little decay, the sustain continues for as long as the flautist keeps blowing, and the release is also very fast. The changing pattern of sound volume plays a huge part in what makes one instrument sound different from another. We call the pattern of attack, decay, sustain, and release the ADSR envelope shape.
Picture: An ADSR envelope shows how the volume of a musical note changes with time. When a sound plays, it attacks to a maximum volume, decays to a lower level, sustains or holds at that level for a while, then releases back to silence.
How synthesizers work
Now we understand the theory of how sound works, and how different instruments produce it in different ways, we know enough to build ourselves a synthesizer. You can probably see already that a machine that can copy the sounds of virtually any other instrument would need to be able to:
- Generate sound waves of different shapes.
- Generate more than one sound tone at once to produce a fundamental frequency and harmonics.
- Make the volume of the sound change over time to produce different ADSR envelope shapes.
That's pretty much what an electronic synthesizer does in a nutshell. It has a number of different voices or oscillators (sound tone generators), each of which can produce waves of different shapes (sine wave, square wave, saw tooth, triangular wave, and so on). It can combine the waves to make complex sounds, and it can vary the way the sounds attack, decay, sustain, and release to make the sounds mimic existing instruments like pianos.
To make a synthesizer sound somewhere between a piano and an organ, you could select a square wave generator (which gives an organ-like sound) and set the ADSR values to be like those of a traditional piano (slowish attack, quickish decay, long sustain and release). Modern synthesizers have "presets" (ready-programmed settings) or "modes" that let you select particular instruments at the flick of a single switch. Of course, you don't have to copy traditional instruments with a synthesizer: you can change the settings to whatever you like—and create all kinds of sounds no-one has ever heard before.
Adding or subtracting?
In art, there are two ways to make a piece of sculpture. You can take materials you've found in the world around you and stick them together to make something completely new. That would be an example of working in an additive way. Or you can start with something like a big block of stone or wood and chisel it down, slowly reducing it to what you want by stripping bits away. That's working in the opposite—subtractive—way.
The same is true of making sounds with synthesizers. It's perfectly possible to build up a complex sound from simple tones that you add together and shape in various ways, which is more or less the approach I've described above. But it's much more common for real synthesizers to work the other way, through subtractive synthesis. That means you start with a complex sound, filter it to remove harmonics, and envelope shape its volume. In practice, then, a simple subtractive synthesizer makes sound using four independent components:
- An oscillator generates the original sound (and you can control it in various ways), which will be a mixture of a fundamental frequency and its harmonics. Most synthesizers have at least a couple of oscillators.
- A filter cuts out some of the harmonics (for example, by boosting or cutting all harmonics above a certain frequency).
- An amplifier changes the volume of the sound over time, according to ADSR values that you set (as we discussed above).
- A second, independent oscillator, known as an LFO (low-frequency oscillator), can be used to vary how the previous three stages work, producing some very interesting effects. For example, if you apply the LFO to the original oscillator, it makes the sound it generates wobble about in what's called a tremelo effect.
Yes, this is all sounds a bit abstract and mathematical. It's easiest to understand what it means in practice by experimenting for yourself; at the bottom of this article you'll find some suggestions for apps you can download that let you play around with your own simple subtractive synthesizer.
Analog and digital synthesizers
The original synthesizers achieved all this using laboratory-style electronic equipment that generated and manipulated actual sound waves. Instruments like this are known as analog synthesizers because they work directly with the sound waves themselves. Many of these synthesizers had lots of separate, sound-creating modules that could be connected together ("patched") in different ways; that's why they were called modular synthesizers.
Photo: Modular Synthesizer is an iPhone app that replicates an analog, modular synthesizer on your smartphone—even down to the neat, old-fashioned "patch cords" (cables) that connect different modules together. Search on "synthesizer" in your favorite app store and you'll find all kinds of neat synthesizers you can play with, from simple on-screen keyboards right up to authentic gadgets like this one, which can export your tunes direct to sites like Soundcloud.
The RCA Synthesizer: Back in the 1950s, the world's first analog electronic synthesizer was programmed using reels of paper tape, punched with holes that represented things like the frequency, octave, envelope, and volume of the sounds required. From US Patent 2,855,816: Music synthesizer by Harry F. Olson and Herbert Belar, courtesy of US Patent and Trademark Office.
Modern synthesizers do everything digitally, by manipulating numbers with computer chips. Not surprisingly, they're called digital synthesizers. They're essentially computers that have been specially programmed to generate and manipulate sounds. Most synthesizers can be connected up to personal computers, so the computer can be used to store and record the sounds the synthesizer makes or play it automatically. To make this sort of thing easier, computers and synthesizers use a standard way of connecting together known as MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface).
Another kind of digital synthesizer, the sampler, lets you feed in a recorded sound (maybe the noise of a sparrow singing) and then manipulate it in various ways by changing the sound settings. So you can make the sparrow sing more quickly by speeding up the sound, or play the bird-song on your keyboard, so the low notes sound like older, heavier birds and the high notes like younger, smaller, and chirpier ones!
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