Electronic Music Dec 11, 2010 5:13:08 GMT -7
Post by Nictoshek on Dec 11, 2010 5:13:08 GMT -7
The Theory and Technique of Electronic Music is a uniquely complete source of information for the computer synthesis of rich and interesting musical timbres. The theory is clearly presented in a completely general form. But in addition, examples of how to synthesize each theoretical aspect are presented in the Pd language so the reader of the book can immediately use the theory for his musical purposes. I know of no other book which combines theory and technique so usefully.
By far the most popular music and sound synthesis programs in use today are block diagram compilers with graphical interfaces. These allow the composer to design instruments by displaying the ``objects" of his instrument on a computer screen and drawing the connecting paths between the objects. The resulting graphical display is very congenial to musicians. A naive user can design a simple instrument instantly. He can rapidly learn to design complex instruments. He can understand how complex instruments work by looking at their graphical images.
The first graphical compiler program, Max, was written by Miller Puckette in 1988. Max dealt only with control signals for music synthesis because the computers available at the time were not fast enough to deal with sound. As soon as faster computers which could compute soundwave samples in real-time were available, Puckette and David Zicarelli appended MSP to Max (Max/MSP) thus making the computer, usually a laptop computer, into a complete musical instrument capable of live performance.
Development of Max/MSP was done by Puckette and Zicarelli at IRCAM in the period 1993 to 1994 . Both have now moved to California. Zicarelli commercialized and sells Max, MSP, and JITTER (an extension to video synthesis) as products. Puckette, now a professor at UCSD, wrote Pd (Pure Data). It is an open source program which is a close equivalent to Max/MSP.
Max and Pd allow almost anyone to synthesize uninteresting timbres almost instantly. Making interesting timbres is much more difficult and requires much additional knowledge. The Theory and Technique of Electronic Music is that body of knowledge. The theory is important for any synthesis program. The Theory and Technique of Electronic Music gives copious examples of how to apply the theory using Pd. The combination of theory plus Pd examples makes this book uniquely useful. It also contains problem sets for each chapter so it is a fine textbook.
I expect Puckette's book to become THE essential book in any electronic musician's library.