Project 2 Experiment 5 – Granular Synthesis in ChucK

Experiment 5 is an important one for my project because of its relevance to the idea I want to explore. It was done in ChucK, a “programming language for real-time sound synthesis and music creation” (from the language website). A granular synthesizer could be built in many different programming languages and also on Max/MSP, but I thought ChucK’s native and easy to use concurrency was something I wanted to try. Each grain of sound is an individual ChucK shred (a process), so the grains can overlap. I believe this method is a close rendition to how a granular synthesis should work according to articles analysing and discussing this synthesis technique (this will be further discussed on the project blog post). Each grain of sound are randomly chosen from six different water audio samples. Three of these samples are ‘normal’ water sounds and the other three are processed water sounds. The probability for the program to choose the normal samples is greater than it is to choose the processed ones. This was meant to add a degree of randomness to the audio┬átexture and the processed sounds, when heard as grains, resemble the sound of the wind.
In the first section of the video, each grain lenght can range from 40 milliseconds to almost half a second. The second section has shorter grains – their lenght is closer to the one a granular synthesizer is supposed to require – and I kept adding instances of the granular synthesizer until the program crashed.