Granular Synthesis

Old News Items

Unfortunately there is a big hole here with a lot of information missing - lost due to multiple server changes and a few power issues and hard drive crashes......

3rd of September 2003: Masters Thesis Online

You may now view my finalised masters thesis online :)

It is about 180 pages in length. Currently it can only be viewed as a PDF. If there is a lot of interet I will make a HTML version, but at only 830k, it is a very small PDF anyway!

Click here to go to masters thesis

18th - 27th of July: QBFM - Granular Synthesis in Cooroy, QLD

For anyone attending the Queensland Biennial Festival of Music, I have set up a display at the Cooroy Butter Factory. It consists of a basic virtual version of my Java granulator program. It is playing popular classical music through the granulator.

Using virtual sliders, the public can manipulate the grain duration, the grain density, the randomness of grain distribution within the cloud, and the pitch of the grains. With Buttons they can toggle whether the process is synchronous, and whether it uses random pitches or not.

I have set the boundries within the program quite small. For example it only goes up to a density of 100, and it only varies the input pitch by two octaves. My reason for doing this was that the lower densities have a wider scope of variance, and if I set it to go from 0-1000, they would zip from 0 to 1000 and most most of the detail in between, and if they were trying to play with the sections inbetween it would be very inaccurate and hard to control, so I selected the region I wanted them to explore. The pitch has more to do with listener comfort. I don't want them to be able to set the pitch at a level that is unpleasant to listen too, especially if they are wearing headphones. The reason I chose classical music is because the venue has until now never featured computer made "instruments". My computer is on display next to some indian flutes on one side, and home made clarinet type instruments on the other, and across the way from some very beautiful harps. In the next room there are 3 celtic tenors singing. So I decided to meet them part way, combining old with new.

So anyone who goes to see it will get to totally mess up popular songs from: Beethoven, Handel, Strauss and Rossini. Figaro!

21st of April 2003: ACMC, ICMC, Chroma etc

ACMC - The annual conference of the Australasian Computer Music Association (ACMA), will be held in Perth Australia from 4th-7th of July 2003. If you are anywhere near Australia at this time it will be well worth while attending. Registrations will open in about a month probably costing only $100AUD for students (This is a guestimate - not a quote) :p
For more information on ACMC or ACMA go to:

ICMC - The annual conference of the International Computer Music Association (ICMA), will be held in Singapore this year from 29th Sep-4th Oct 2003. This is also an event worth attending if you are anywhere remotely near Singapore. Registration is already open. If you book in the next month, a student booking willl cost only $235USD.
For more information on ICMC go to:

The the main question on my mind, does anyone want to give me a plane ticket for either conference???

I have just completed Chroma Issue 33. It will become available to members of ACMA within the week. For non members you will have to wait another 3 months.
Membership is cheap and includes subscriptions to Chroma and Mikropolyphonie, as well as discounts on ACMA CDs and conferences. At only $25AUD a year for students it is well worth the support. For more information on Chroma or ACMA membership go to:

Chroma 33 contains an article by Warren Burt on Structure and Necessity, and it also contains an index of all issues of Chroma from 1 to 32, as well as a chronology of ACMA events since its conception.

Now that Chroma 33 is out, I am looking for articles for Chroma 34. If anyone has some thoughts, insights, program reviews, strategies, algorithmic ideas, or other to do with granular synthesis, then please submit them to me. If you have other articles, stories, musings, events to announce, program reviews, CD reviews that relate to computer music (not necessarily granular synthesis) then please also submit these to me.
Send all submissions to me through the granular synthesis discussion forum, or email them to: Chroma is a registered publication: ISSN 1035-8271. It does not publish refereed papers. Submit papers for refereed publiction to Mikropolyphonie.

18th of April 2003: jMusic 1.4 Released

Version 1.4 of jMusic has been released, coincidently on the third birthday of jMusic?s inclusion of audio support.
Additions include: A new audio waveform viewer, additional audio objects, support for MIDIShare i/o in the new msjm package, and the ability to link phrases by relative position with the Anchor class.
Significant improvements include: Widespread support for note pitch as frequency, and for XML score files, ability to display CPN display of multiple parts, improved QuickTime MIDI playback range and accuracy, more accessible JavaSound MIDI and Audio playback, overhauls of almost every GUI utility - especially the HelperGUI, and additional Mod methods. As well, there are a raft of bug fixes, the documentation is updated, and the revised tutorials are compatible with jMusic 1.4.

Download the latest version now from:
With a download size of under 900KB, this compositional and synthesis package is well worth a look. jMusic runs on any computer and operating system that supports Java.
A new source package has been created in the CVS with this release. The currently active CVS source tree is named src14, if you want to work with the most current bleeding edge version.

5th of April 2003: AudioMulch 0.9b12 Released

AudioMulch 0.9b12 for Windows is now available. This version includes a new ?Document Switcher? window, Crossfader contraption, improved ASIO support, and numerous bug fixes including fixes to ?Save with soundfiles? and VST bank saving capabilities. The installer is just a 2.3MB download.

Go to: for more details and downloads.

22nd of March 2003: LyX

I just wanted to tell everyone that I used LyX exclusively to write, edit, and typeset my masters thesis.
Lyx is an open source project which acts as an intelligent GUI for LATEX, the standard industry for typesetting (also open souce).
I was running LyX on FreeBSD, and never once experienced lost data or a crash over a one year period.
What hardware was I using? A Dell Inspiron 3500 Laptop running at a whopping 233Mhz with 64MB RAM and no CD Drive :)
Due to the efficiency of the software it still ran perfectly smooth, even when I was editing a 173 page document full of pictures and over 35,000 words - try that one under any other OS :)
Okay, enough trumpet blowing for FreeBSD, and LyX.......No wait, did I mention I was also able to run all my jMusic granular synthesis routines on this laptop? No? Well I could, and I did :)

14th of March 2003: Masters Thesis Completed

I have completed my masters thesis on granular synthesis!!!!!!!
I will put the completed thesis online as soon as the examiners have finished marking it. Until then I will wait patiently and catch up on a few things I have neglected for the past few months, like sleep, eat, you know, all the things one does for fun :)

29th of November 2002: Cool Links

I am just going to add a few links suggested by members of the granular synthesis discussion group.

Check them all out and enjoy!

6th of August 2002: Host Update

I got an email from my web site host:
They apologised for the fact that the site went down a few times over the past few days. So to anyone who couldn't access the site during that time - me being one of them - it is all fixed now - rejoice!

Here is the reason behind the down time:
IMPORTANT: has just gone through a MAJOR reworking. It doesn't look much different graphically, but the system is very different from the system a week ago.
Some problems exist. Let me know if you find any. We are working as quickly as possible to fix the problems.
Hopefully the new (JSP) format will allow more changes and features than before.
Thanks for your understanding.

28th of July 2002: jMusic 1.3 released

Yes, jMusic version 1.3 is finally out. This version contains the Granulator Audio Object, plus also GranularInst. They are still works in progress, but they work fine for real-time granular synthesis. On the web site is also a tutorial on using jMusic for granular synthesis. There is also a tutorial called Spray which creates psuedo granular synthesis textures.

Go to:
for more information.

jMusic is free to download and use!

9th of July 2002: Australasian Computer Music Association Conference (ACMC of ACMA) currently underway

I presented my paper "Granular Synthesis: Experiments In Live Performance" at the ACMC. It outlines the building process of my Granulation program using jMusic and of the Poseidon hand controller.

There were many other great presentation given. They can all be accessed from this site here:

The ACMA also held their AGM. I was voted in as the Publications Officer of the Australasian Computer Music Association. This makes me the editor of "Chroma" the newspaper of and for ACMA. Edition 32 of Chroma will come out in about 4 weeks. The latest edition is always only available to ACMA members. Previous editions can be viewed here:
All submission for Chroma are welcome.

4th of June 2002: SuperCollider free! Download your copy now

SuperCollider is an environment and programming language for real-time audio synthesis. You can write programs to generate or process sound in real-time or non real-time. SuperCollider can be controlled by MIDI, the mouse, Wacom graphics tablet, and over a network via Open Sound Control. SuperCollider can read and write sound files in AIFF, WAV, Sound Designer 2, and NeXT/Sun formats. SuperCollider supports sound cards using Steinberg's ASIO driver api.
Supercollider works on Mac OS 8 and 9. There is development underway to get it running natively under OS X and then Linux.

SuperCollider is available here:

If you would like to see some SuperCollider code used for granulation then go to this link:
Thanks to Matt for the information.

17th of May 2002: OGG Vorbis/PNG Format Change

After some consideration I decided to swap all GIF formatted pictures to PNG (pronounced ping) format. I have likewise swapped MP3 formatted music with OGG VORBIS formatted music.
There are two reasons behind this move:

1: Both PNG and OGG VORBIS are completely open and patent-free, unlike their afformentioned counterparts. This means I will not have to pay any royalties to either Frauenhofen, Unisys, or Compuserve.

2: Both PNG and OGG VORBIS have a better quality/size ratio. The difference for PNG is in my experience mostly negligable, but OGG VORBIS is exceptionally better, we are talking up to 20% smaller files in some cases with a higher quality bitrate.

To find out more about the PNG graphics format go here:

To find out more about the OGG VORBIS music format go here:

I am especially excited about OGG VORBIS. It is fully supported by WinAMP, XMMS and pretty much any other media player. It is as easy to use and encode with. I expect it to make MP3 obsolete in a very short space of time.

30th of April 2002: Jeff Pressing dies at 55

Article taken from written by Raymond Gill

Musician, academic, psychologist and Age music critic Dr Jeff Pressing died suddenly of a suspected heart attack on Sunday. Pressing was 55, though he cut a far more youthful figure in appearance and manner.
His interests spanned educational issues and royal tennis, with music - performing, composing, analysing and inventing new forms for it - occupying a large part of his life.
Born in San Diego in 1946, Pressing studied music at the California Institute of Technology. He obtained his doctorate in music at the University of California, San Diego, and completed postdoctoral work at the University of Rochester, New York. In 1975, Pressing moved to Melbourne to take up a lecturing post in the music department of La Trobe University and later became its head of music. He moved to the University of Melbourne in 1998 where he was a senior lecturer in psychology.
In the last two years he led its Telegenesis Research Group - a collaboration between the university and the US-based Predictive Technologies Inc.
Pressing's interest in music was in contemporary composition and jazz, electronic and improvised forms. In the early 1990s, he formed the World Rhythm Band in which he played keyboards and synthesiser.
In 1992, Pressing was commissioned by the ABC to compose Zalankara, a multicultural symphony about the plight of refugees. He reviewed new music for The Age from July, 1999, until his death.
Pressing is survived by his wife, Dr Jill Wigglesworth, and his children Adam, 15, and Rebecca, 11.


Jeff Pressing didn't actually write about granular synthesis, although he mentioned it a little. He also wrote on electronic performance, which is a major issue for granular synthesis performance. Being a La Trobe University graduate myself it is fitting that I mention him here. Below are two links.

He did mention granular synthesis:
Synthesizer Performance and Real-Time Techniques by Jeff Pressing - book overview:

28th of April 2002: A big welcome to the new revamped Granular Synthesis Web Resource

Welcome to what will become the fastest growing resource on Granular Synthesis on the internet. This web site has just undergone some major changes. It started out in 1999 as a geocities web site where I published my honours thesis on granular synthesis. The name remains the same, but I have a new Australian host:
So this site can now be reached at
Of course the original URL is still valid and will always be no matter how often I move (not that I plan to anymore). So you can always get here via:

So what has changed? Well originally all you could find on the site was a short autobiography and the Honours Thesis I wrote at La Trobe University. The Honours thesis is remaining on the site alongside a Masters Thesis I am currently working on at the Queensland University of Technology. You will also find my other publications here, and sound samples. There will also be links to every article I can find on granular synthesis on the internet. One other feature of major interest is that I am running a discussion group along side this web site. It is the interactive part of the web site. This group is for answering questions you have on granular synthesis. It is also a forum where you can share you ideas, software and your own granular synthesis compositions. Some parts of the discussion group will be added to this site with credit and consultation with those that submitted it to the forum. I can also gather your web links through the group to add to this resource. So, join in and start contributing. There is a lot to discuss.
I have not mentioned lots of stuff, you can discover it yourself. Just navigate using the links on the left of the site.

Enjoy :)