Sound Examples

This page contains some example sounds produced by Tao instruments. Some of the examples are accompanied by images of the instruments, and all are accompanied by English descriptions of the techniques used. Some of these examples were produced with older versions of Tao when the synthesis language had a slightly different syntax and I haven't yet translated the scripts from the older format into the format currently used by the synthesis language. This explains the absence of scripts for some (most) of the examples. As and when I find time I will add some new examples together with images, explanations of the techniques used and scripts.

  • An instrument with 40 microtonally tuned strings whose structure evolves as it is played
  • The script which was used to produce this sound
  • In this example 40 strings are attached via connector devices to the resonator which is shown covered in small red points. These points and the corresponding red points shown near the left hand side of each string indicate the positions of the access points used to connect the strings to the resonator. At the same time a smaller number of points on the first resonator are connected to the second resonator. Sound output is generated from either end of this second resonator.

    The strings are excited by plucking them at random. In addition the access points on the strings actually move slowly from left to right as the performance progresses. This can be heard in the subtly shifting spectral structure of the sound.

  • Circular components coupled together #1
  • Circular components coupled together #2
  • In this example several circular sheets are coupled via connector devices to a single string resonator situated towards the bottom left of the image. The left and right channels of the stereo output are taken from either end of this resonator. The circular sheets are excited by an algorithm which repeatedly chooses a circle at random and then uses a hammer device to produce percussive sounds. Once the hammer has impacted with the chosen circular component it is reset and another circular component is chosen.

  • A bowed stringed instrument
  • This instrument is deceptively simple to look at, but the sounds it produces are remarkably cello-like. It consists of four strings attached to a single long thin rectangular resonator via Connector devices. The ends of the strings are locked. Sound output is taken from the top and bottom of this resonator, quite close the ends, which are also locked. Each string is tuned a fifth higher than the previous, hence the diminishing lengths, and they are bowed in pairs with Bow devices. Each string has a small region to the right hand side where the cellular material is more highly damped than elsewhere. This is necessary to give the strings a more natural spectral decay than they would otherwise have. It also ensures that the bowing action produces clean notes rather than horrible screaching sounds!

  • A high pitched stringed instrument with each string independently bowed with algorithmically controlled glissandi

  • A low pitched stringed instrument with each string independently bowed with algorithmically controlled glissandi

  • a 'prepared' string buzzing against an obstacle

  • a bizarre stringed instrument with an unusual excitation
  • In this example, yet again constructed mainly from strings since they are the most computationally cheap of all the components provided by Tao, the strings are all of the same pitch and are all driven by the same excitation which works as follows:

    • A sinusoidal signal is used to move an access point up and down the length of the string at audio rate.
    • A constant force is applied to the string at the position of the access point
    • All the sinusoidal signals start off with the same phase but they are each set to slightly different frequencies so that they drift out of phase.

    In addition the red access points labelled with white text represent connections to the single string resonator shown at the bottom of the image. As with many of the other examples on this page the left and right channels of the stereo output signal are derived from points at either end of this resonator.