Sound Synthesis with Auditory Distortion Products

Article English OPEN
Kendall, GS ; Haworth, C ; Cádiz, RF (2014)
  • Publisher: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press

This article describes methods of sound synthesis based on auditory distortion products, often called combination tones. In 1856, Helmholtz was the first to identify sum and difference tones as products of auditory distortion. Today this phenomenon is well studied in the context of otoacoustic emissions, and the “distortion” is understood as a product of what is termed the cochlear amplifier. These tones have had a rich history in the music of improvisers and drone artists. Until now, the use of distortion tones in technological music has largely been rudimentary and dependent on very high amplitudes in order for the distortion products to be heard by audiences. Discussed here are synthesis methods to render these tones more easily audible and lend them the dynamic properties of traditional acoustic sound, thus making auditory distortion a practical domain for sound synthesis. An adaptation of single-sideband synthesis is particularly effective for capturing the dynamic properties of audio inputs in real time. Also presented is an analytic solution for matching up to four harmonics of a target spectrum. Most interestingly, the spatial imagery produced by these techniques is very distinctive, and over loudspeakers the normal assumptions of spatial hearing do not apply. Audio examples are provided that illustrate the discussion.
  • References (34)
    34 references, page 1 of 4

    Amacher, M. A. 1999. Sound Characters: Making the Third Ear. New York: Tzadik TZ 7043, compact disc.

    Amacher, M. A. 2004. "Psychoacoustic Phenomena in Musical Composition: Some Features of a Perceptual Geography." FO(A)RM 3:16-25.

    Bode, H., and R. A. Moog. 1972. “A High-Accuracy Frequency Shifter for Professional Audio Applications.” Journal of the Audio Engineering Society 20(6):453-458.

    Campbell, M., and C. Greated. 1994. The Musician's Guide to Acoustics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Cheney, E. W., and D. R. Kincaid. 2009. Linear Algebra: Theory and Applications. Burlington, Massachusetts: Jones and Bartlett.

    Chowning, J. 1973. “The Synthesis of Complex Audio Spectra by Means of Frequency Modulation.” Journal of the Audio Engineering Society 21(7):526-534.

    Conrad, T. 2002. Early Minimalism: Volume One. New York: Table of the Elements, liner notes to compact disc.

    Fastl, H., and E. Zwicker. 2007. Psychoacoutics: Facts and Models. 3rd ed. Vol. 22 of Springer Series in Information Sciences. Berlin: Springer.

    Fletcher, H. 1924.“The Physical Criterion for Determining the Pitch of a MusicalTone.” Physical Review 23(3):427-437.

    Gold, T. 1948. “Hearing II: The Physical Basis of the Action of the Cochlea.” Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Science 135(881):492-498.

  • Metrics
    views in OpenAIRE
    views in local repository
    downloads in local repository

    The information is available from the following content providers:

    From Number Of Views Number Of Downloads
    White Rose Research Online - IRUS-UK 0 5
Share - Bookmark