Real Sound Synthesis for Interactive Applications (With CD-ROM)

Author: Perry R. Cook
List Price: $39.00
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ISBN: 1568811683
Publisher: AK Peters Ltd (June, 2002)
Edition: Paperback
Sales Rank: 89,945
Average Customer Rating: 5 out of 5

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Customer Reviews

Rating: 5 out of 5
It's a lot more than a cook book
Are you a pretty good C++ programmer? Have you ever wanted to have your computer output sounds like footsteps or musical instruments that (a) sound real and (b) are continuously responsive to the user's control? Did you discover that it was basically impossible to do it by stitching together prerecorded samples, and you couldn't think of any other way to do it?

If so, Perry Cook has written just the book you have been looking for. In 250 pages, Cook explains everything, from the basics of digital filtering to the major alternatives for generating sounds: additive and subtractive synthesis, FM synthesis, and -- the real focus of the book -- physical modeling. Not only that, the accompanying CD-ROM includes lots of sound examples and the Synthesis ToolKit -- a pretty much platform-independent set of C++ classes and algorithms for writing your own code.

Not everything is perfect. Just as the first version of any program contains some bugs, the first printing of any book that uses mathematics contains some errors. In particular, typos in Appendix A could be very frustrating if this is your first exposure to Fourier analysis. (You might want to check Cook's web site for a promised list of errata and code updates.) And don't let the fact that the book is short, attractively produced, very well organized, unusually clear, and entertainingly written lead you to believe that you can master it in a weekend. Although Cook tries his best to make the underlying mathematics unintimidating, there is no getting around the fact that there are some rather deep concepts from wave physics and signals-and-systems theory behind what he has to say.

The good news is that the effort is richly repaid. Not only will you be able to write programs that can generate controllable sounds in real time, but you will develop insight into how physical instruments produce their distinctive sounds, and you will understand the basics of both the standard and the most advanced techniques that have been developed to model them. Highly recommended.

Rating: 5 out of 5
Not just another digital music book....
This book is useful, enlightening, and fun. It covers many cutting-edge topics in lucid fashion, topics that can only be found otherwise in academic journals. The computer code (in the book and on the CD-ROM) is an invaluable resource for the ambitious reader, who can actually try out or modify the techniques. The CD-ROM also provides examples of these new techniques in action. Finally, the author's sense of humor comes through often (this is not a stiff, boring book!).

As a "digital-sound-artist" and someone who teaches this stuff at the university level, I highly recommend this book not only to those who want to learn about the most recent work going on in sound synthesis, but to those who want another perspective on more familiar topics (like the basics of PCM, fourier analysis, basic digital filtering, etc....).

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