Refining Sound: A Practical Guide to Synthesis and Synthesizers

Refining Sound: A Practical Guide to Synthesis and Synthesizers

by Brian K. Shepard
Refining Sound: A Practical Guide to Synthesis and Synthesizers

Refining Sound: A Practical Guide to Synthesis and Synthesizers

by Brian K. Shepard

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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199922963
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 11/01/2013
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 1,033,238
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Brian K. Shepard is Professor of Audio Design Practice and Assistant Dean of the USC Iovine and Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation at the University of Southern California. For more information, visit his website at

Table of Contents

About the Companion Website
Introduction: Getting the Most Out of This Book
1: Synthesis and Synthesizers: Digging Beneath the Surface of Your Synthesizer
2: Oscillators: Mining the Raw Materials of Your Synthesizer
3: Oscillator Combinations: Creating Exotic Compounds from Your Raw Materials
4: Amplitude Envelope Generators: Shaping Your Sounds
5: Audio Filters: Refining the Color of Your Sounds
6: Internal Modulation Sources: Dynamic Shaping of Your Sounds
7: External Control Sources: Shaping Your Sounds with Playing Techniques
8: Effects Processors: Polishing Your Sounds
9: Putting It All Together: Creating and Refining Your Own Synthesized Sounds
Appendix I: Further Reading and Information
Appendix II: Suggestions for the Instructor
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