[chuck-users] Simple percussive sound synthesis

Kassen signal.automatique at gmail.com
Sun Apr 20 10:57:58 EDT 2008

On 19/04/2008, Jeff Smith <jeff at smithicus.com> wrote:
> I'm interested in exploring sound synthesis using ChucK.In particular
> I'm interested in algorithmic synthesis of simple physically-based
> sounds, like a water drip or a hand-clap. Does anybody have any
> examples lying around that create a sound like this from scratch? I'm
> a complete noob when it comes to audio signal synthesis, and I'd love
> to see how others have approached building up the sound.

Hi Jeff.

The easy way would be to take the Shakers Ugen. I'm sure it does water-drops
and seem to remember it does hand-claps as well. It's a great little Ugen
for fun simple physically modelled sounds. Taking that one hardly counts as
"from scratch" though.

The good news is that it comes from the STK which is aimed at exactly what
you need; explaining how to build things like this in practical terms. There
is extensive documentation to it in the form of Perry Cook's little book
"real sound synthesis for interactive applications". The bad-ish news is
that this is done in C++ and not in ChucK, with the results ending up as
ChucK Ugens.

Typically a good strategy is to look at natural sounds as "something" (the
wind, a hammer...) acting on "something else" (a string, a table, a
car-trunk) and causing the second thing to vibrate. These two are typically
called the "exciter" and the "resonator". You can get very far modelling the
exciter as some sort of noise with a certain envelope (a thrown pebble would
come down to a very short impulse-like burst of noise while a violin bow
would be a longer more gentle type of noise with some periodic
characteristics) and the resonator can typically be modelled as a set of
band-pass filters or a tuned delay-line with feedback and a filter in the
feedback-chain to represent the internal damping of the material. A guitar
string is quite simple and could be successfully modelled with a simple
feedbacking delay with a simple filter while something like a car-trunk
would likely need a network of tuned filters. The example Eduard send is a
good example of this approach.

Physical modelling can be a lot of fun because the sounds are often so
evocative but it can also be quite hard as the real world is quite

Hope that gives you some leads.

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