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Large scale physical modeling synthesis, parallel computing, and musical experimentation: The NESS Project

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-47
JournalComputer Music Journal
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2020


Physical modeling sound synthesis, emulating systems of a complexity approaching and even exceeding that of real-world acoustic musical instruments, is becoming possible, thanks to recent theoretical developments in musical acoustics and algorithm design. Severe practical difficulties remain, both at the level of the raw computational resources required, and at the level of user control. An approach to the first difficulty is through the use of large-scale parallelisation, and results for a variety of physical modeling systems are presented here. Any progress with regard to the second requires, necessarily, the experience and advice of professional musicians. A basic interface to a parallelised large-scale physical modeling synthesis system is presented here, accompanied by first-hand descriptions of the working methods of five composers, each of whom generated complete multichannel pieces using the system.

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