Just intonation bowed strings

Inspired by Ben Johnston string quartets, using 7-limit JI. Infinitely ascending spiral of roots: 1, 7/4, 3/2, 3/2 * 7/4, 3/2 * 3/2, 3/2 * 3/2 * 7/4, etc. Each root is played four times in random octaves, for each instance there’s a random chance of a fifth interval that slides by one of 3/2, 9/8, or 8/9, or a trill with 9/8 or 7/6. I’ve been experimenting with bowed string physical modeling outside of SuperCollider, but here the synthesis is just plain old subtractive, a saw wave amplitude modulated by lowpassed white noise (see Mignot & Valimaki’s Extended Subtractive Synthesis) and then run through 5 randomly tuned comb filters for instrument body. Despite the simplicity I think it sounds ok, but the cello register is a little buzzy and artificial to me, not sure of the best way to improve on that. There is a random, smooth global “intensity” LFO that modulates a bunch of parameters including amplitude and high-frequency attenuation of all instruments, giving a sense of ensemble-level fluctuation. This is part of an ongoing exploration into faking human-like expressiveness in synthesized and algorithmic music.


This is extremely cool!

I’d be curious to hear it with a DWGBowed synth (if it doesn’t blow out CPU time).


This is awesome, Nathan, I love the texture in these sounds!

You often show your code in your videos but it’s usually a little hard to understand exactly what’s going on from that – I don’t suppose the code is available anywhere? I’d love to play around with it in order to learn a bit more sc and how to put sounds together. I love how it seems to be pretty brief code with fairly simple ideas as you explained but obviously there’s real craft here (and in your other work); I’m intrigued.

Thanks for the compliment! I used to share code pretty openly but I kinda stopped doing it when I found my stuff copied all over the place, including one instance where a fairly well-known artist simply panned my SynthDef around a speaker array and sold it on Bandcamp :expressionless: I’m not so much bothered about having my work exploited, it’s more that I don’t want to be an enabler for sound design plagiarism as a workflow in SC, and would much rather educate through process and philosophy, hence the full coding sessions and blog posts and such. I’m sure your own intentions are just to analyze, but I can’t trust everyone to be the same way, if you get me.

That said, I might sell out anyway by developing this patch into a full piece and bundling the code with the Bandcamp purchase. Stay tuned.


Thanks Nathan, I totally understand. Wouldn’t normally have asked for code, but I was already squinting at it in the youtube video so I thought perhaps it was meant to be looked at :wink:
I’ll have to think about your description above and see what I can come up with myself, then!

This is beautiful and original. Thank you for sharing. Will check out your other music too!