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John Chowning Interview : Elektronauts
"Let’s say the computers I was working with had been powerful enough for me to do my experiments in real time. I’m not at all sure that I would have made the discovery! Because the condition under which I was working, on a time-share machine, a few seconds of sound might take me nearly two hours. So the time it took, perhaps specifically the time between experiments, I had to think. These were discrete times: I would generate a sample of a sound that was 20 Hz, with a modulating frequency of 20 Hz and a deviation of 100 Hz. Then I would wait. Then I would listen. Then I would increase to another. If I’d had continuous control, I think I probably would have missed it. I could have let the carrier sweep through frequencies that were way too high, and I would have missed the points where they converged to harmonic spectra. That being the case, the fact that I had to sit and wait and think, and listen, and then think about what I heard, “what will be the next step?” greatly enhanced my ability in realizing the discovery." John Chowning on how not having realtime feedback was an asset, rather than a problem.
fm  music  synthesizer  johnchowning 
february 2018 by infovore
The Father of the Digital Synthesizer
Cracking article on John Chowning, who invented FM synthesis whilst at Stanford, and the long road to it becoming a commercial and creative prospect. Interesting on the relationship of IP to universities, but also fascinating on Chowning himself - a composer and musician, not a mathematician, who developed one of the hardest-to-understand forms of synthesis simply as a way to push the palette of timbres he could compose with. Brilliant.
johnchowning  yamaha  stanford  fm  fmsynthesis  synthesis  invention 
march 2015 by infovore

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