Synthesizers 2

Synthesizing the Elements of Sound

When we say that synthesizers manipulate the fundamental elements of a sound, what do we really mean?

First, here are a few basics. A sound is the result of changes in air pressure as energy travels from a sound’s source to our ears. The human ear can process sounds in a frequency range from 20 to 20,000 hertz, and we perceive every sound to have a different pitch, timbre (or tonal quality) and loudness. Even if two instruments play the same musical note, the measurable characteristics of each sound — like frequency (number of repetitions of the wave in one second), amplitude (volume, or the change in air pressure), wavelength (the distance between cycles of a waveform) and period (the time it takes for a waveform to repeat a full cycle) — can vary dramatically. Sounds also contain harmonics, or layers of frequencies that combine to make a full, complex voice. Finally, there are the changes in volume that take place over the lifespan of a sound. This process, which encompasses the peak volume once the note is struck all the way through its inevitable dissolution, is described as attack, decay, sustain and release (ADSR).

We mentioned that the word synthesizer derives from “synthesis.” There are many types of synthesis, but let’s talk about the process of subtractive synthesis, one of the most commonly used forms when creating sounds with a synthesizer. In short, a musician begins with a waveform — a sound which contains all of the characteristics mentioned above — and subtracts components until the desired tone is achieved. The musician can adjust the settings of the synthesizer to strip away and silence certain frequencies, or emphasize and heighten others. In the end, subtractive synthesis can change that initial waveform to become a much different sound. Once it exits the synthesizer, the sound can have similar qualities to a trumpet, a snare drum, an atmospheric whoosh or virtually anything else. (However, unless you use a sampler — an electronic instrument that records and processes pieces of acoustically generated sound — no synthesized version of a real-world instrument will ever be an exact copy.)

Now that we know about how a synthesizer manipulates sounds, let’s go under the hood and take a look at the components of a synthesizer.

New album by Futureworld Orchestra

Oceans of Infinity - Poster 5 (klein)

“OCEANS OF INFINITY”

On December 8st 2013, my latest CD-album OCEANS of INFINITY is going to be released. This brand new album contains mostly instrumental tracks. Some of the tracks I’ve written and produced for a television series and a DVD, about wel known Dutch see sailor Henk de Velde and his long during ocean journeys. I consider Henk a very special person since there are not many people embarking on such journeys and undertaking such great challenges. Looking at the videos of Henk it feels as if  you are there yourself, at the most extraordinary places on earth. All video is shot by Henk himself who also does the story telling.

Producing music to the video for me was a very inspiring experiance. Watching the videos over and over again it kind a pulled me in his world so to speak. You could even feel a bit of the same emotions that Henk himself must have felt during his journeys.

As people probably know, to me artwork in addition to my music is quite important. For this album I took some of my own pictures and edited then in such way that it would give a sence on infinity while drifting on the oceans. By using the latest photographical techniques I molded the images together so to speak in such a manner that it eventualy would form a unique and somekind of surrealistic world. ( I love Salvador Dali’s work!)

I sincerely hope that with OCEANS OF INFINITY I will prove to be able to bring over these emotions and feelings, once you are all alone only surrounded by the great wide open oceans. The OCEANS OF INFINITY!

Enjoy and get inspired!

Robert – Futureworld Orchestra
Preview the title track via the special Futureworld Orchestra Player.

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