These instruments can change the future of music

What Sassoon heard were the first results of a remarkable project at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, of which Ducceschi was a researcher at the time. the Next Generation Sound Synthesis, or NESS, the team brings together mathematicians, physicists, and computer scientists to produce the most realistic digital music ever made, by running hyper-realistic simulations of trumpets, guitars, violins, and more. on a supercomputer.

Sassoon, who works in orchestra and digital music, “tried to crush the two,” persuaded. He became a resident composer at NESS, traveling back and forth between Milan and Edinburgh in the following years.

It’s a long learning curve. “I would say the first year was just spent learning. They were very patient with me, “Sassoon said. But it paid off. At the end of 2020, Sassoon was released Multiverse, an album made using sounds he made over many long nights hacking into the university lab.

One disadvantage is that fewer people learn to play physical instruments. On the other hand, computers may start to sound more like real musicians — or something very different.

Computers make music while there are computers. “It’s primarily graphics,” said Stefan Bilbao, lead researcher on the NESS project. “So this is the first type of art activity to happen on a computer.”

But for well-tuned ears like Sassoon’s, there is always a gap between the sounds produced by a computer and those produced by sound instruments in physical space. One way to bridge the gap is to recreate the physics, simulating the vibrations produced by real materials.

The NESS team did not sample any actual instruments. Instead they create software that mimics the precise physical properties of virtual instruments, tracking things like the changing air pressure of a trumpet as the air moves through pipes of varying diameter and length. -on, the precise movement of the drawn guitar strings, or the friction of a bow. on a violin. They even simulated the air pressure inside the virtual room where virtual instruments were played, down to the square centimeter.

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