In this chapter, we first briefly discuss the possible reasons for the use of a computer to generate musical sounds. Then we try to categorize the different approaches to computer music synthesis, that is, the kinds of processing algorithms that are commonly used. The reader will undoubtedly realize that many of the methods of speech processing are very closely related to those of music processing; both depend strongly on the computer and on the ideas of digital signal processing. However, whereas speech processing is tied to the physiology of speaking and listening to speech, music processing is closely associated with the acoustic production of music by traditional instruments and the physiology of listening to music. For some researchers in the field, the computer frees them from the classical sounds of strings, horns, and the like and allows them to create new “instruments.” Our discussion draws extensively on the survey paper by Moorer [4].

Why computer music? In the late 1950s, several speech researchers began to realize the potential power of the computer to help in their research. At the time, signal processing, such as audio bandpass filtering, was far too expensive to do on computers. However, with the development of digital signal processing (DSP) techniques and the availability of high speed, small, ...

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