In this report we study Chaosynth: a new sound synthesis system, which uses a cellular automaton to produce sounds.
The sounds produced by Chaosynth can resemble the sounds of flowing water, bird calls and insect-like noises. The system also produces sounds that cannot be found in the "real" acoustic world.
Chaosynth generates a large amount of short acoustic events, or particles, in order to form larger, complex sound events. The synthesis method of Chaosynth is inspired by the granular synthesis technique [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Most granular synthesis techniques use stochastic methods to control the formation of sound events. Chaosynth, however, uses a cellular automaton .
The first part of the report introduces the basics of granular synthesis and explains how Chaosynth's technique works. We then introduce the basics of cellular automata and present ChaOs: the cellular automaton used in Chaosynth. We complete this first part with our conclusions and suggestions for further work. The second part continues by illustrating some functional aspects of the system through examples and studies how to set up the system in order to produce various sorts of sounds. We give a commentary on Olivine Trees: a piece of electroacoustic music specifically composed using sounds produced by Chaosynth, during the author's TRACS Research Fellowship at EPCC (Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre) in Scotland, UK.
The author would like to thank Robert Fletcher (of EPCC) and Peter Nelson (of Edinburgh University's Music Department) for their support during the earlier stages of this reasearch. The first experimental prototype of Chaosynth (the one that is discussed in part 2 of this report) was implemented by Martin Westhead in 1993.
Granular Synthesis and Chaosynth
The basics of cellular automata
The ChaOs cellular automaton and the metaphor
The mapping technique
The Chaosynth program
Sound design using Chaosynth
The definition of frequency sets and subsets
The synthesis of the subsets
The role of other parameters
The rate of depolarisation
The duration of the sonic particles
The amount of oscillators and the dimension of the grid
Standard Chaosynth's Csound orchestra file
An example Csound score file
ftp Unix (Silicon Graphics) version
ftp Linux version for PC
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