Computer Music: Musc 216
ADDITIVE SYNTHESIS (also called Fourier Synthesis ) is a type of synthesis which produces a new sound by adding together two or more audio signals. The "classical" form of additive synthesis, still used on some synthesizers, may be called "harmonic synthesis." Here the sources added together are simple waves (for example, sine waves) and are in the simple frequency ratios of the harmonic series. The resultant absolute amplitude is the sum of the amplitudes of the individual signals. The resultant frequency is the sum of the individual frequencies taking into account the effects of constructive and destructive interference. This is potentially a very powerful technique, as it was shown well over 200 years ago by the Frenchman, Francois Baptiste Joseph Fourier that any periodic sound (i.e., pitched sound) can be represented by the sum of simple sine waves. In practice, however, the approach can be extremely time-consuming since often hundreds of harmonics may be used to create a complex sound. Also see PARTIAL and OVERTONE.
If you have a MACINTOSH COMPUTER it might be helpful to download and run the application WAVEMAKER. This Additive Synthesis Emulator was developed by David Sebald at the Institute for Music Research, The University of Texas at San Antonio.
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