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  1. CassieDennis
  2. Sherlock Holmes
  4. Tuesday, 12 February 2019
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I just got through most of this series. I thought it was very well done and educational. It went through in detail what the component sounds of a piano are, and how Manny implemented each one of them.

But it left me with a question:

How did Manny figure out what the components of the piano sound were? How did he know which sounds he had to implement (string vibrations, string overtones, hammer sounds, etc)? How did he take a pre-existing sound and do that analysis?
  1. 5 days ago
  3. # 1
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
How did Manny figure out what the components of the piano sound were? How did he know which sounds he had to implement (string vibrations, string overtones, hammer sounds, etc)? How did he take a pre-existing sound and do that analysis?

A quick google search on 'Piano acoustics', as well as knowing how a piano works & what components it is comprised of, etc., and you could piece together what various sounds need to be layered to sound like a piano.
  1. 5 days ago
  3. # 2
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Hey Michael,

I'm glad you found the article and video series interesting and useful.

To your question, my approach to doing this was a blend of a couple of things - First, as Darryl notes, is having studied acoustics and knowing how a piano is built and works. Then I assembled the needed harmonic components from the ground up, as described the the articles and videos.

As to how I specifically made those components in FM, choosing which Ratios, Modulator depths, algorithms to use etc., in my case that comes from the 'ear experience' of programming FM for over 35 years and is kind of a long story. Short version - upon getting my original DX7 in 1983 while still in college, I deep-dove into John Chowning's original academic articles as well as his book with Dave Bristow, "FM Theory and Applications" to understand the math and phase/amplitude behaviors of Modulataion Index. And, I programmed constantly.

Back in those original DX7 days ready access to FFT's and spectral anaysis of acoustic sounds was quite limited compared to what's available today. So basically I'd listen closely to my acoustic piano (or a recording of some other instrument/sound) and tweaking my DX7 right next to it, matching the timbres and transients by ear until it sounded right to me. Similar to people with "Perfect Pitch" (which I don't have) I am able to hear timbres extremely well. Combined with the years of experience, I've built up a large mental library of how FM behaves.

I'm not exaggerating that before culminating in this Montage resynthesis example I've probably well over 1000 variants of FM synthesized Piano simulations beginning with the original DX7, through the TX816, DX7II, SY77/99, and FS1r. And while it works for me, doing it all by ear isn't for everyone.

Thor Zollinger has put together a contemporary guide to acoustic sound emulations at javelinart.com that is a good place to start with a pragmatic, methodical approach to FM using spectral analysis. Check it out !

  1. 1 day ago
  3. # 3
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Thanks, Manny.

I am currently going through Thor Zollinger's guide for the second time, learning more as I go. It sounds like I have a large learning curve to climb. Fair enough, and I enjoy that.

Maybe someday I will be able to play my Roli Rise 25 and sound at least somewhat like Jerry Garcia… :D

(Any tips you have on FM-X synthesis of electric guitar sounds will be gratefully appreciated.)
  1. 14 hours ago
  3. # 4
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Probably a MIDI guitar is a better controller if you really aspire to sound like any given guitarist. You can play chords using keyboard keys that follow guitar rules and simulate what more-or-less naturally happens with a guitar - but the MIDI guitar controller will make string-to-string timing (offsets) happen automatically without as much work.

That said - I'm sure you've seen this video - but it's worth being redundant. https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/how-to-play-guitar-parts-on-keyboards/ It covers a good collection of things one would need to develop as a keyboard player to emulate the guitar sound.

Although focused on the acoustic sound - there's not much difference to the electric guitar for most things except for the core sound. But the "physics" of the instrument and what you need to do to make a good acoustic sound will apply more-or-less equally to the electric guitar.
  1. 8 hours ago
  3. # 5
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