Designing Sound

by Farnell

ISBN: 9780262289368 | Copyright 2010

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Designing Sound teaches students and professional sound designers to understand and create sound effects starting from nothing. Its thesis is that any sound can be generated from first principles, guided by analysis and synthesis. The text takes a practitioner’s perspective, exploring the basic principles of making ordinary, everyday sounds using an easily accessed free software. Readers use the Pure Data (Pd) language to construct sound objects, which are more flexible and useful than recordings. Sound is considered as a process, rather than as data—an approach sometimes known as “procedural audio.” Procedural sound is a living sound effect that can run as computer code and be changed in real time according to unpredictable events. Applications include video games, film, animation, and media in which sound is part of an interactive process. The book takes a practical, systematic approach to the subject, teaching by example and providing background information that offers a firm theoretical context for its pragmatic stance. [Many of the examples follow a pattern, beginning with a discussion of the nature and physics of a sound, proceeding through the development of models and the implementation of examples, to the final step of producing a Pure Data program for the desired sound. Different synthesis methods are discussed, analyzed, and refined throughout.] After mastering the techniques presented in Designing Sound, students will be able to build their own sound objects for use in interactive applications and other projects.

A monumental work. This surely has the potential of becoming the sound designer's bible!

Kees van den Doel Scientific Computing Laboratory, University of British Columbia

An excellent, practical introduction to sound synthesis methods. The most useful resource on Pure Data that I've come across. Essential reading for anyone wanting to learn how to create sounds.

Karen Collins Canada Research Chair in Interactive Audio, University of Waterloo

Andy Farnell’s Designing Sound is a fantastic and incredibly inspiring book. With hundreds of fully working sound models, this ‘living document’ helps students to learn with both their eyes and their ears, and to explore what they are learning on their own computer. Perfectly balanced between theory and practice, the book will help students and professionals alike to develop and refine the skills and understanding that they require to synthesize the worlds of sounds around them and the sounds in the imagined worlds of advertising, TV, film, computer games, and their own original audio art. A great textbook, a great workbook, a great way to actually learn how to design sounds—I can't wait to use Designing Sound in my classes.

Richard Boulanger Professor of Electronic Production and Design, Berklee College of Music

Putting the creativity of every single sonic nuance in the hands of the sound designer—and the listener—is the gift that Farnell brings through his book Designing Sound. What an empowering experience!

David Sonnenschein Director, Musician, and Author of Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema
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Contents (pg. vii)
Acknowledgements (pg. xxiii)
1 Introduction (pg. 1)
I Theory (pg. 5)
2 Theory Introduction (pg. 7)
3 Physical Sound (pg. 9)
4 Oscillations (pg. 39)
5 Acoustics (pg. 55)
6 Psychoacoustics (pg. 77)
7 Digital Signals (pg. 119)
II Tools (pg. 145)
8 Tools Introduction (pg. 147)
9 Starting with Pure Data (pg. 149)
10 Using Pure Data (pg. 165)
11 Pure Data Audio (pg. 185)
12 Abstraction (pg. 193)
13 Shaping Sound (pg. 205)
14 Pure Data Essentials (pg. 219)
III Technique (pg. 237)
15 Technique Introduction (pg. 239)
16 Strategic Production (pg. 243)
17 Technique 1Summation (pg. 267)
18 Technique 2 Tables (pg. 277)
19 Technique 3 Nonlinear Functions (pg. 283)
20 Technique 4 Modulation (pg. 291)
21 Technique 5 Grains (pg. 305)
22 Game Audio (pg. 315)
IV Practicals (pg. 327)
23 Practicals Introduction (pg. 329)
Practical Series Artificial Sounds (pg. 331)
24 Practical 1 Pedestrians (pg. 333)
25 Practical 2 Phone Tones (pg. 337)
26 Practical 3 DTMF Tones (pg. 343)
27 Practical 4 Alarm Generator (pg. 347)
28 Practical 5 Police (pg. 355)
Practical Series Idiophonics (pg. 365)
29 Practical 6 Telephone Bell (pg. 367)
30 Practical 7 Bouncing (pg. 383)
31 Practical 8 Rolling (pg. 387)
32 Practical 9 Creaking (pg. 395)
33 Practical 10 Boing (pg. 401)
Practical Series Nature (pg. 407)
34 Practical 11 Fire (pg. 409)
35 Practical 12 Bubbles (pg. 419)
36 Practical 13 Running Water (pg. 429)
37 Practical 14 Pouring (pg. 437)
38 Practical 15 Rain (pg. 441)
39 Practical 16 Electricity (pg. 451)
40 Practical 17 Thunder (pg. 459)
41 Practical 18 Wind (pg. 471)
Practical Series Machines (pg. 483)
42 Practical 19 Switches (pg. 485)
43 Practical 20 Clocks (pg. 491)
44 Practical 21 Motors (pg. 499)
45 Practical 22 Cars (pg. 507)
46 Practical 23 Fans (pg. 517)
47 Practical 24 Jet Engine (pg. 523)
48 Practical 25 Helicopter (pg. 529)
Practical Series Lifeforms (pg. 545)
49 Practical 26 Footsteps (pg. 547)
50 Practical 27 Insects (pg. 557)
51 Practical 28 Birds (pg. 571)
52 Practical 29 Mammals (pg. 579)
Practical Series Mayhem (pg. 591)
53 Practical 30 Guns (pg. 593)
54 Practical 31 Explosions (pg. 607)
55 Practical 32 Rocket Launcher (pg. 617)
Practical Series Science Fiction (pg. 627)
56 Practical 33 Transporter (pg. 629)
57 Practical 34 R2D2 (pg. 635)
58 Practical 35 Red Alert (pg. 641)
Cover Image Sources (pg. 647)
Index (pg. 649)

Andy Farnell

Andy Farnell has a degree in Computer Science and Electronic Engineering from University College London and now specializes in digital audio signal processing. He has worked as a sound effects programmer for BBC radio and television and as a programmer on server-side applications for product search and data storage.

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