How stuff works: synthetic sounds

Everything is slowly becoming digital, including sound. However, it’s difficult to synthetically create different sounds like dog barks, pianos, and human voices in bits and bytes without having premade recordings. So how do sound engineers do it?

Well, for starters, sound engineers have to understand musical pitch. Every note and sound at a given moment vibrates at a certain frequency. You can think of a given note “wiggling” through space in a series of high-pressure and low-pressure regions, known as a compression wave. These compression waves can then be visualized as sine waves. For example, the note “A4” is widely accepted to be 440 hertz, hertz being wave cycles per second.

But wait, the note A on the piano still sounds way different from when a human sings the note A. What makes these As different and how do you recreate that? Read more on…thetartan