Friday, August 31, 2007


Creative Computing: Granular Synthesis (2)

Keywords of the Week:
granulation, granular synthesis, source sound, buffer, duration, amplitude, interpolation,
overlap, rate, pitch, envelope, tone, sound file, panning, spatialisation, 'hand coded',

Task of the Week:
Sound Examples:
1)Pure Tone granulation
2) Sine graulation inspired from Zannos method
3) Buffer granulation
4) Signal arithmetic and granulation
Any number of permutations can be applied to various oscillators for the desired result.
<< ((osc1 / osc2) + (osc / osc3) * osc4) *env ; << ((osc1 * osc2) - (osc * osc3) / osc4) *env ; << ((osc1 * osc3) / (osc * osc2) * osc4) *env ; Etc.. Here is a list of few Synthesis techniques that can be applied to the signal: Steps: Granular synthesis and the various parameters:

Grain size: Create an envelope - the envelope duration will then be the grain size
Grain amplitude: Change the maximum value of the envelope mentioned above
Grain amplitude dispersion: Add a random factor to the above amplitude
Pitch: Change the rate value of the PlayBuf
Pitch Dispersion: Add a random factor to the Pitch value
Density: Use some sort of signal (e.g. Pulse) to trigger the envelope - if you use Pulse, then a higher frequency will generate a higher density, a lower frequency a lower density.
Time Dispersion: Add a random factor to the frequency of your Pulse trigger signal
No. of Grains: Create/destroy more instances of the synth

Step 1: Creating an envelope
add the variable env

env =[0,1,1,0], [1,1,1]), trigger, grainamplitude, 0, grainsize);

Work out trigger, grainamplitude and grainsize?

trigger =
grainamplitude = Grain Amplitude + Grain Amplitude Dispersion
grainsize = Grain Size + random factor if wanted

Once this is done multiply the output of the synthdef by env.

* Haines.Christian."Workshop-5-sem2 conducted on Grainular Synthesis.Programming with SuperCollider".23 August 2007.Electronic Music Unit.University of Adelaide, South Australia
* Granular Synthesis by Eric Kuehnl :
viewed on 21.August.07
* "Tutorial 08 - Granular Synthesis". SuperCollider Tutorial, 2006, 2007, .
* "Granular Synthesis. A very simple Granular Synthesis case:", "First steps". McCartney ,
James et al 2007, SuperCollider Inbuilt Help, Source Forge, .

*Collins.Nick and Olofsson.Fredrick.Tutorials on SuperCollider.Chapter 7.2
* McCartney , James et al . 2007,SuperCollider Inbuilt Help.
* Source Forge,

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Week 4

Creative Computing :Granulation

"Granular synthesis is an innovative approach to the representation and generation of musical sounds" (DePoli 139).The grain is a unit of sonic energy possessing any waveform, and with a typical duration of a few milliseconds, near the threshold of human hearing. The typical duration of a grain is somewhere between 5 and 100 milliseconds. If the duration of the grain is less than 2 milliseconds it will be perceived as a click. The most musically important aspect of an individual grain is its waveform. The variability of waveforms from grain to grain plays a significant role in the flexibility of granular synthesis. Fixed-waveforms (such as a sine wave or saw wave), dynamic-waveforms (such as those generated by FM synthesis), and even waveforms extracted from sampled sounds may be used within each grain.

Asynchronous granular synthesis (AGS) was an early digital implementation of granular representations of sound .When performing AGS, the granular structure of each "Cloud" is determined probabilistically in terms of the following parameters:

1. Start time and duration of the cloud
2. Grain duration (Variable for the duration of the cloud)
3. Density of grains per second (Also variable)
4. Frequency band of the cloud (Usually high and low limits)
5. Amplitude envelope of the cloud
6. Waveforms within the grains
7. Spatial dispersion of the cloud

* Haines.Christian."Workshop conducted on Grainular Synthesis.Programming with SuperCollider".16 August 2007.Electronic Music Unit.University of Adelaide, South Australia
* Granular Synthesis by Eric Kuehnl :
viewed on 21.August.07

*Collins.Nick and Olofsson.Fredrick.Tutorials on SuperCollider.Chapter 7.2
* McCartney , James et al . 2007,SuperCollider Inbuilt Help.
* Source Forge,

Audio Arts: Film Analysis
I somehow have to accept the casualness of this class. The topic as you can see is huge and can get really interesting and informative.(In any case self research is the key to learn and I dont expect to become an expert by attending those 12 hours). However I do expect inspiration and valuable sessions from my lectures.I certainly believe that a classroom with better Audio-Visual facilities will enhance the experience of any examples we talk about in the class.
Next week is the presentation of our movie and through out the week I will be doing that. Few results I got from video feedback are really interesting.This is done by pointing the camera on the computer screen while final Cut pro is capturing the live input. I will base my work around that and more digital manipulations.

This week, we briefly talked about the various aspects of film music.
Theme music as the word suggets is the title music of the film.It is the sonic image of the film and refers to a piece of music that is written specifically for it.
Mood Music refers to setting a mood of the film or sequence coming ahead.
CharacterMusic/leep music/motives : represents the character or reminds of a place/motive.
Enviornment music : sounds from the place/space/enviornment projected on the screen
Action Music : fast paced music with the action scene, climax, use of high tempo arpeggios

In the later part of the hour we looked at the film Team America - world Police by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Thanks Luke for the DVD, confessing I have watched the whole film. It is not the choice of film i would like to watch, because of the political message it has got. Now, i think its a very well made film and contains a clear message and some good sound design components and some great arrangments. Music plays an important role in setting the mode of the film. Music suggesting a part of the world/culture is very well used, like for middle eastern vocal singing.In the begining accordion is used to depict Paris.The theme music represents an american way.String arrangments plays aimportant role in depicting the mood.

I was going through the course material of film scoring of Berklee School of Music.Its quite ellaborate and different from how we approach it,but I thought there are some good individual topics here to be studied on.

Film Scoring 101: Berklee Music

Lesson 1: Drama and Music

  • Absolute Music vs. Functional Music
  • List Situations Where Music Provides Support
  • Early Film and Sound Technology
  • Identifying Dramatic Intent
  • Identify Emotions for Music
  • Think Like a Director
  • Quiz

Lesson 2: Dramatic Functions

  • Focusing on the Visual
  • A Symbiotic Relationship
  • Relationship Between Visuals and Music of Scenes
  • More Symbiosis
  • Dramatic Function: Three General Categories
  • Identify Dramatic Functions of Scenes from "To Kill Mockingbird"

Lesson 3: Spotting for Music

  • Spotting
  • Considerations When Spotting
  • Analyze the Spotting Process With a Scene
  • Analyze the Spotting/Scoring of Several Scenes
  • Spot Two Scenes

Lesson 4: Film Terminology and Dramatic Application

  • The Stages of Film Production
  • Setting Up and Shooting a Scene
  • Analysis of Scene Structure
  • Film Grammar and Linear Structure
  • Scene Comparison with and without Music
  • Basic Film Terminology
  • Photographic Processing Effects
  • Identify Editing Techniques and Photographic Effects
  • Camera Movement and Perspective
  • Breaking Down a Scene

Lesson 5: Working with SMPTE Time Code

  • SMPTE Time Code
  • Digital Audio – Digital Video
  • SMPTE and Relative Time (aka-Clock Time or Running Time)
  • Determine Relative Time
  • SMPTE and Relative Time Conversion Tools
  • Importing Video and Creating an Offset Start Point
  • Using Markers in Your Video and Sequence
  • Adding Markers in a Movie Clip
  • Quiz
  • Assignment

Lesson 6: Synchronization

  • Synchronization
  • Methods of Synchronization
  • Critical Synchronization
  • Music and Visual Sync
  • Applying Sync Leeway
  • Leeway- Early or Late
  • Identify the Sync Relationship with Hard and Soft Sync Events
  • Comparison of Timing Events to selected tempo - Bar/Beat Numbers
  • Bar/Beat Breakdown
  • Assignment

Lesson 7: Synchronization Part 2

  • Frame Click Tempo Defined
  • Comparison of Frame Click tempo to Metronome
  • Subdivision of a Frame for Additional Tempi
  • Using the Beat Sync Spreadsheet with a Frame Click
  • Comparing Beat Sync Accuracy – Leeway of Neighboring Tempi
  • Bar Layout and Use of Mixed Meters
  • Starting a Cue
  • Ending a cue
  • Changing Tempo Directly
  • Changing Tempo Gradually
  • "Hiding" the Feel of Pulse

Lesson 8: Scoring Practicum – from spotting to mixing

  • Spotting a Short Film
  • Creating a Music Summary
  • Developing a Concept for the Score
  • Developing Thematic Material
  • Relationship of Cues to Story Content and to One Another
  • Assignment: Preparation for Creating a Complete Score

Lesson 9: Free Timing Techniques

  • Methods of Free Timing Defined/Examples
  • Comparison to Use of Clicks
  • Composing to a Stop Watch
  • The "Written" Click
  • Freedom from Pulse – Ritards, Rubato
  • Conducting/Performance Consideration
  • Free Timing Applied to Using a Sequencer

Lesson 10: Overlap Cues and Transitions

  • Overlap Cues Defined and Analyzed
  • Why and When to Use an Overlap
  • Four Techniques for Creating Overlaps
  • Musical Considerations: Tonality, Tempo, and Instrumental Color
  • Overlapping Source Cues and Underscore
  • Double Track Cues
  • Sweeteners and Overlays

Lesson 11: Scoring under Dialogue or Narration

  • The Realities of Soundtrack Balance: Dialogue is King
  • Open and Closed Scoring Situations
  • Female/Male Voice Timbre and Register
  • Narration vs. Dialogue – Other Considerations
  • Rhythm and Dynamics of Spoken Word
  • Instrumental Color: Choices for Blending
  • Orchestration Dynamics Texture
  • Dialogue and Music as Counterpoint

Lesson 12: Professional Scoring – preparations and application

  • Types of Scoring Jobs
  • Making Contacts
  • Self-Promotion – The Scoring Demo
  • Getting Organized for a Scoring Assignment
  • Going Solo
  • Building a Team
  • Work Methods and Creating Mock-Ups
  • Deadlines and Delivery
  • Contracts and Copyright

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Audio Arts: This semester is about Film Music.First six weeks is about film making and producing a short film, providing the visual material for the major project.
We talked about "time lapse photography' and later looked at Koyaanisqatsi - a film by Godfrey Reggio and music by Phillip Glass. We only watched couple of minutes which had shots of builidings and sky/clouds crafted together with time lapse and slow motion effects. It is the first in Qatsi Trilogy, an influential trilogy of films made over a period of almost 20 years.
Qatsi Trilogy:

* Koyaanisqatsi ( Life out of Balance );
* Naqoyqatsi ( War as a Way of Life );
* Powaqqtsi ( Life in Transformation );

Philip Glass - Koyaanisqatsi original soundtrack CD cover

Koyaanisqatsi which was released in 1982. Music plays a vital role in this film. "Film provokes its audience into thinking about aspects of the modern world around them and in particular how our cities and industry sit within and compete with the natural landscape."
( I will write more about the film, once I watch it)

* Harrald.Luke.2007.Lectures in Audio Arts.9 August'2007. University of Adelaide
* ( viewed on 13 August'2007 )
* ( viewed on 13 August'2007 )

Forum : " Breadboarding" -- This was the first forum I attended this semester. I dont have my kit,so I shared with freddy. I completed soldereing a piezo microphone and the first exercise,which was to make an Square wave Oscillator. I could not reach till making of Modulating Square Oscillator and Ring Modulation effect. I should have my kit this week,so can complete previous weeks work and then I could post some sounds for you to listen..
I am glad we are doing something in the forum and not sitting listening to someones talk. Enough talking has been done, its time for some action guys. I dont mind so much that we are still not playing music,indeed we are working on our instruments that will be later used to make music .

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Week 1

Creative Computing : Splice and Dice(1)

BBCut Library : This is a collection of SuperCollider UGens, classes and patches for automated event analysis, beat induction and algorithmic audio splicing. It is released as public open source under the GNU General Public License, Copyright (C) 2001 Nick M.Collins.
Nick Collins is a London-based composer, computer music researcher and laptop performer. My first encounter with nick was at ACMC'06 at Jade Monkey during Klipp Av's performance.

BBCut2 and associated BBCut classes and methods including :

* BBCutBuffer : Represents a Buffer with some BBCut specific refinements, holds data on a buffer including any segmentation (event positions). Derived from the Buffer class and has methods for choosing playback segments.
+ new(filename, beatlength, eventlist)
+ array(filenames, beatlengths, eventlists)

* CutStream1 : cut up a stream, via an intermediary buffer that holds the most recent cut for repeating.The stream can be any bus on the Server, so might be a file streamed off disk, a current audio input or some synthesised data.
+ new(inbus, bufnum, dutycycle, atkprop, relprop, curve)

CutBuf1 :Playback for a buffer, using a single fixed PlayBuf UGen with jump in playback position, but no enveloping.
+ new(bbcutbuf, offset)

CutMixer : The CutMixer organises the final output from a given rendering CutGroup. It control final rendering bus, master volume, and ampfunc and panfunc parameters of cuts.
+, volume, ampfunc, panfunc)

*sound examples coming soon


* Collins. Nick , “Further Automatic Breakbeat Cutting Methods,” Proceedings of
Generative Art, Milan Politecnico, 12–14 December 2001.
* Collins. Nick ,“The BBCut Library,” Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference,Goteborg, Sweden (2002).
*Collins. Nick ,“The BBCut Library,” Examples and help files.
* McCartney , James et al . 2007,SuperCollider Inbuilt Help.
* Source Forge,

Monday, August 06, 2007