Refining Sound: A Practical Guide to Synthesis and Synthesizers

Pinned on November 13, 2013 at 15:57 by Carol Parker

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Refining Sound: A Practical Guide to Synthesis and Synthesizers

Refining Sound is a practical roadmap to the complexities of creating sounds on modern synthesizers. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of learning to create sounds on a synthesizer is understanding what all the individual synthesizer components contribute to the complex finished sound. Author and veteran synthesizer instructor Brian K. Shepard draws on his years of experience in synthesizer pedagogy in order to peel back the often-mysterious layers of sound synthesis one-by-one. The result is a book that allows readers to familiarize themselves with each individual step in the synthesis process, in turn empowering them in their own creative or experimental work.
Refining Sound follows the stages of synthesis in chronological progression from the “raw materials” of sound waves through the various stages of the refinement process, ultimately bringing readers to the final “polishing” of their sounds with audio effects. Each chapter focuses on a particular aspect of the synthesis process, and contains easily digestible guided projects (entitled “Your Turn” sections) that focus on the topics of the chapter. Throughout the text, the material is supported by copious examples and illustrations and more than forty interactive synthesis demonstrations on the related companion website that allow the reader to experiment with and understand these concepts without the distraction of other synthesizer controls and modifiers. The final chapter brings everything together as the reader creates several common types of synthesizer sounds with detailed step-by-step instructions and explanations of the concepts behind those steps. With all of the sounds in the final chapter, readers are given suggestions and tips on ways to modify the sounds, with final outcomes left to the readers’ own creativity. Refining Sound is essential for all electronic musicians from amateur to professional levels of accomplishment, students, teachers, libraries, and anyone interested in creating sounds on a synthesizer.

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Comments

Mary T. McIlrath says:

A New Standard For Synthesis Instruction This book does not disappoint. I will be using Refining Sound as the sole textbook for my electronic music class next semester. Brian Shepard has written an easy-to-understand yet amazingly thorough book on the complex processes of synthesis. Shepard always keeps the focus of the book on the performer/student, preventing the theory and math of these complicated topics from getting in the way of real-world applications. And, if the content wasn’t good enough, the book is priced at a level that my students can actually afford (a serious concern when teaching at a community college).Shepard does a great job of acknowledging the many forms that synthesis takes in the year 2013, allowing the book’s relevance to remain regardless of how the reader plans on applying the concepts (hardware synthesizer, VST, etc). Shepard also supplies plenty of footnotes throughout, allowing the curious reader to further explore a theoretical concept or primary-source treatise if they wish.If you are interested in learning how to control all of those knobs and sliders on your favorite synth or plug-in, this is THE book. With the arrival of Refining Sound, synthesis will no longer be an area dominated by the elite, but by the composer, the arranger, and the performer, and I am very excited to see the results.


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