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Topic: Like my bone? (additive synthesis test)

  1. #1

    Question Like my bone? (additive synthesis test)

    Having been inspired by Giorgio's work on the Solo Strad, I recently reconsidered how I postulated in a past thread how I might approach developing such a virtual instrument. Having no Stadavari at my disposal I fell back to my old crappy (yet still-loved) Holton trombone. (Oh, and no anechoic chamber, either: pity my working conditions!)

    I'm attempting to do this through purely additive synthesis, for now, intending to pre-fill wavetables in an interpolating hypercube (blah blah blah tech talk blah). The first step is simply to capture the dynamic range and associated frequency response of the instrument. So trusty bone in hand, I recorded a crescendo from quiet-to-breaking. Here's what a lot of math and coding spat out when I was done massaging the data:

    One Note Trombone Solo in Bb (940 kb .wav)

    I did take the liberty of attempting to emulate a tonguing sound up front through the use of rapidly varying amplitude: still a bit rough for now, but I think I'm on the right path for not having to rely on samples! Overall I think it's a decent first step.

    But that's just my opinion: what do you people think?

    I'll admit that proof is in the playability and blending with other instruments, and this is just a single note of a single articulation, but does this humble beginning warrant further investigation? I mean, after this point, it only gets harder and harder...

    Of course, the fact that nobody has *ever* asked for a trombone synth has crossed my mind.

    - m
    Free MFX and other plugins: http://www.TenCrazy.com/
    Markleford's music: http://www.markleford.com/music/

  2. #2

    Re: Like my bone? (additive synthesis test)

    Looks like your site crashed...

  3. #3

    Re: Like my bone? (additive synthesis test)

    Still fine here. Bad network route? Try again later?

    (Inauspicious beginning! )

    - m
    Free MFX and other plugins: http://www.TenCrazy.com/
    Markleford's music: http://www.markleford.com/music/

  4. #4

    Re: Like my bone? (additive synthesis test)

    Ah, it fired right up this time!!

    OK, so this is a totally (additively) synthesized trombone?? My first impression was that the beginining of the note did not sound particularly realistic, but the end and release sounded extremely realistic. And of course, that leaves the lasting impression. Maybe it's a case of having more audible harmonics by the forte part of the note and thus having more realism? Anyway, it sounds pretty dang good I'd say.

    Listened to it again. Your attack sounds good too. There's just something not quite there in the smoothness of the crescendo. It sounds like a filter opening up. But heck yeah, I think this is well worth pursuing if you're up to it.

  5. #5

    Re: Like my bone? (additive synthesis test)

    I agree. Good dynamic swelling, and the release fells pretty good, but the attack is just vanilla.
    It's all about the music - really. I keep telling myself that...

  6. #6

    Re: Like my bone? (additive synthesis test)

    Yes, mainly about the swelling and the subsequent fall: I haven't done any research into attacks yet, so this was a "best guess" based upon a moment's consideration, but I was surprised that the guess was still acceptable within the realm of synthesis (though pales next to a sample).

    In as sense, the dyanmic swell *is* sort of like a filter opening up: the high frequencies only start to come out when the bell gets excited. However, if it were a true filter sweep, it would sound much different: I couldn't, for example, take the ending high harmonic-content tone and heavily Low-Pass Filter it into sounding like the beginning tone and have it sound realistic travelling between the two (or at least that's the theory in my head: I may have to test that assertion).

    The smoothness of the crescendo *might* just be lacking a little on the psycho-acoustic level due to the fact that I selected only 8 representative points along the length of my original performance. If I increase that count, then hopefully it will become smoother. As it stands, there was at least one data-point that doesn't seem consistent with the others (somewhere in the middle): chalk this up to human error, as I was eyeballing it in Adobe Audition's frequency view rather than relying on computer smarts to pick it for me. I'll write code to replace manual effort in the process if I decide to continue it.

    I suppose I could have provided my original trombone sample for comparison: it does stack up fairly well. Also compares favorably to the GPO Tenor Trombone. Of course, there's a wide gap between "suitable for ensemble play" and "suitable for solo". While a virtual instrument model might blend well in the whole, often it clunks when up-front and naked!

    At any rate, there are a few pitch-mod aspects to this demo that model my playing and hopefully pull out some humanity. First, the note comes in slightly flat at the "tonguing", to simulate my lazy airflow coming up to speed. Next there's the natural pitch (and volume) deviation over the length of the sample (via an LFO). Finally, there's a bit of a pitch dip around the time overblowing starts, which is corrected soon by the player.

    Next I'll see if I can add a bit of "harmonic jitter" to slightly tweak the frequency space over the length of the note: the waveform is never *exactly* the same for a real instrument, so I have to determine the boundaries in which I can randomize it and the speed at which it evolves.

    Hopefully I can create a playable demo (w/ mod wheel controlled dynamics) of a limited dataset in the next... oh... year or two.

    - m
    Free MFX and other plugins: http://www.TenCrazy.com/
    Markleford's music: http://www.markleford.com/music/

  7. #7
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    West Seneca, NY

    Re: Like my bone? (additive synthesis test)

    An 18 wheeler just drove by my window the same time I played this! Ha! Perfect. Hey, that was neat o baby!

  8. #8

    Re: Like my bone? (additive synthesis test)

    Then it should have dopplered!

    - m
    Free MFX and other plugins: http://www.TenCrazy.com/
    Markleford's music: http://www.markleford.com/music/

  9. #9

    Re: Like my bone? (additive synthesis test)

    Very interesting - I would definetly like to hear more. And then of course, I would want it!

  10. #10

    Re: Like my bone? (additive synthesis test)

    Certainly has promise. My knowledge of instruments preventing a solid review, it sounded good to me.

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