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The Science of Sound: Introduction to granular synthesis

January 18, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Registrations are closed.

About the workshop

Granular synthesis, based on the same principle as sampling, is a basic sound synthesis method that operates on the microsound time scale. The samples in granular synthesis are segmented into small pieces, called grains, that can be layered on top of one another and can be played at different speeds, phases, volume, and frequency. Greek composer Iannis Xenakis is known as the inventor of the granular synthesis technique and was the first to explicate a compositional theory for grains of sound. Canadian composer Barry Truax was one of the first to implement real-time versions of this synthesis technique.

In this workshop, participants will explore the fundamental concepts of granular synthesis through the use of various software, theory, historical background, and seminal recordings. We will explore both synthesis of granular sound as well as granular processing techniques. Participants will use the audio programming language ‘MAX/MSP’ to build custom granular software and will also explore a host of popular free plug-ins usable in any DAW on any operating system.

No previous programming experience is required. Participants must bring a laptop with MAX/MSP installed (a free demo version can be found here: https://cycling74.com/downloads).

This workshop series is supported by an Arts Partnership grant from the Ohio Arts Council.

About the Instructor

Owen Hopper is a Cincinnati Ohio based composer, sound artist, guitarist, computer programmer, and improviser. His music explores the relationships between the space it is recorded and presented in. He is currently an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Cincinnati.