MATRIXSYNTH: Wavehole Approach to Granular Synthesis Using Xenakis Screens

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Wavehole Approach to Granular Synthesis Using Xenakis Screens


For those interested, see here.

See here for previous posts featuring Xenakis and granular synthesis.

What or rather who is Xenakis? Via Wikipedia: Iannis Xenakis - "Xenakis pioneered the use of mathematical models in music such as applications of set theory, stochastic processes and game theory and was also an important influence on the development of electronic and computer music. He integrated music with architecture, designing music for pre-existing spaces, and designing spaces to be integrated with specific music compositions and performances."

From the site linked above:

"The wavehole approach to organising acoustic particles is an adaptation of the Xenakis screen. In Formalized Music Xenakis discusses various methods with which to organise grains of sound. A Xenakian screen is not unlike Gabor’s Matrix (1946). The representation is musical and interpreted differently from the theoretical signals presented in Gabor’s communications literature. The Xenakis screen (Fig.1), is a two dimensional grid which, exists in one moment of time."

If you look below you will see an image of multiple Xenakis Screens over time. The screens remind me of a mix of wavetable and granular synthesis. In a wavetable you have a table of multiple waveforms you can morph through. In granular synthesis you typically have a sample or audio you can morph through and manipulate over time either grabbing a "slice" of the audio or particular "grains" within a slice or slices of audio - almost like a hybrid of additive and subtractive synthesis but working with a given audio sample.

"Each cell of the screen grid, houses a silence or grain event. Thus, each screen can have, depending on its resolution, a sparse or dense population of grains. The population is referred to as a cloud. Each occupied cell has a frequency ∆F and gain ∆G parameter. A Xenakis cloud is the grouped grain topology in one screen at a given moment in ∆t as in Fig.2."

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