Most somewhat intelligent people with some (western, at least) education will know what D.E.'s are up to some level. Thinking from a reasonable level of aggregation, mechanical, electro mechanical and electronic instrument's behavior can completely be specified by DEs and even sound waves in air can be, be it by 3-dimensional, but relatively basic ones.

Boring mathematics for engineers, perhaps, but think about why there is so little known about the technology underlying most of the sound technology many here use: everything appears hidden under menus with perhaps appealing denotions but getting that dream sound takes a lot of unnatural tuning that's hard to specify to others and even more impossible to quantify.

Sound qualities would be easier to convey to for instance software instrument makers if you could say something like: "the LFO modulation of the main iterator XYZ should come out more accurate to the linear output of the wave simulator" than "gimme an MKS20 on steroids with some piano samples"

Lot's of signal phases, filter convolutions an air-rattling note components are hidden from view, and accuracy in mid frequency range wave-ensembles for instance is hard to find at all. Sigh, if more people would have mathematical background, the world of music would be easier to grasp.

_________________________ "...there's something you better understand about me, 'cause it's important and one day your life may depend on it. I am definitely a madman with a box."

"I woke up this morning, my mid-frequency range wave-ensemble accuracy was gone I said I woke up this morning, my filter convolutions and air-rattling note components were hidden from view But I thought from a reasonable level of aggregation... ... and my electro-mechanical and electronic instrument's behaviour was completely specified"

Lord, that's a real Theo for ya!

Cheers, Mike.

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Registered: 11/30/14
Posts: 5253
Loc: USA, greater NY area

I got home late last night - hungry. I found leftovers in the refrigerator. I immediately brought a plate to the microwave oven, then calculated the necessary heat flux using Fourier's law. Since the heat flux is uniform over the surface, it became evident the heat loss rate was going to play a factor. Then I said, "screw it" set it for 1:45, stirred up the bowl and put it back in for another minute. Then I ate. Tasted the same whether I did the math or not. Maybe even better without.

Registered: 11/12/03
Posts: 12089
Loc: Toronto, ON

Originally Posted By: TommyS

Rübe Goldberg is alive and well apparently,,,

I love his Variations...

_________________________ "...there's something you better understand about me, 'cause it's important and one day your life may depend on it. I am definitely a madman with a box."

There is a club called MENSA, specifically formed for people that need to tell others how smart they are. Admission requirements are not very high. You should check it out.

_________________________ Skate to where the puck was 5 years ago.

Registered: 08/11/06
Posts: 3559
Loc: Huntington Sta., New York (LI)

Mensa requires a proven IQ rating of 140 or above tested by a valid testing service or similar to get into their high brow club.

I have a score from my private HS entrance exam of just 130 or so (not bad but no cigar) ...I'm no genius, just a smart a$$ and DUH a$$ most of the time!

Theo on the other hand, well lets just say he's a shoe in!

Edited by Legatoboy (08/09/1710:36 AM)

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Where words fail, music speaks volumes

Just to be clear: it's not a bogus subject, and more than a few people may know from memory that when "simple" is replaced by "ordinary", it can actually be used in conjunction with DE.

The fun is that music can be made from highschool level DE's, which can sound beautiful.

Registered: 11/12/03
Posts: 12089
Loc: Toronto, ON

Originally Posted By: Theo Verelst

Just to be clear: it's not a bogus subject, and more than a few people may know from memory that when "simple" is replaced by "ordinary", it can actually be used in conjunction with DE.

The fun is that music can be made from highschool level DE's, which can sound beautiful.

T

Pictures (or, in this case, audio) or it didn't happen.

_________________________ "...there's something you better understand about me, 'cause it's important and one day your life may depend on it. I am definitely a madman with a box."

Registered: 12/25/06
Posts: 5637
Loc: San Diego / Los Angeles

Originally Posted By: stoken6

"I woke up this morning, my mid-frequency range wave-ensemble accuracy was gone I said I woke up this morning, my filter convolutions and air-rattling note components were hidden from view But I thought from a reasonable level of aggregation... ... and my electro-mechanical and electronic instrument's behaviour was completely specified"

Was dying from laughter after reading this. And it was impossible to read without putting the 'ba doo ba dee bum' blues lick on beat 4.

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"I woke up this morning, my mid-frequency range wave-ensemble accuracy was gone I said I woke up this morning, my filter convolutions and air-rattling note components were hidden from view But I thought from a reasonable level of aggregation... ... and my electro-mechanical and electronic instrument's behaviour was completely specified"

Was dying from laughter after reading this. And it was impossible to read without putting the 'ba doo ba dee bum' blues lick on beat 4.

Finally there's a hip, modern 21st century equivalent to "Working At The Woolco Manager Trainee Blues" for those open jam nights at the Faculty Club.

I don't get it. It's required for people working in physical modelling to know about differential equations. That's basically what physical modelling is all about. But what does the average musician have to do with it? Furthermore: Are differential equations really highschool level in the netherlands? They aren't in germany.

"I woke up this morning, my mid-frequency range wave-ensemble accuracy was gone I said I woke up this morning, my filter convolutions and air-rattling note components were hidden from view But I thought from a reasonable level of aggregation... ... and my electro-mechanical and electronic instrument's behaviour was completely specified"

Was dying from laughter after reading this. And it was impossible to read without putting the 'ba doo ba dee bum' blues lick on beat 4.

...and here I thought they were the preliminary lyrics to More Than a Feeling.

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Registered: 07/25/08
Posts: 11111
Loc: St. Louis, MO

My experience was that High school covered Algebra and Trigonometry as requirements, though most people who were college bound in any kind of technical field elected to take Calculus....which was sort of the cliff notes version of Calc at an engineering University.

My Engineering degree required in order: Calc 1, Calc 2, Calc 3, Differential Equations, Partial Differential Equations. Sort of separate from those but still required was Statistics. Problem with the Diff EQ classes was that they were very general since all of the various Engineering Disciplines may apply them in different ways - so you may be using it for Thermodynamics, Engineering Mechanics/Dynamics, etc....so they kept it very general in terms of applications.

Now some of the EE classes were basically math classes except offered by the EE department and more applicable. As an example, Diff EQ covered Laplace Transforms, which I found to be less applicable than the Fourier Transforms covered in EE classes. We also had to take a Computer Science class that really didn't involve a single computer all semester and was also all math. It was covered Decision Tree, Game Theory, Shortest Route (Travelling Salesman Problem) etc.

Anyway, at undergraduate level, they just weren't very good at digging into specific music related applications. I took a semester of analog electronics for obvious reason. While we did spend adequate time on things like OTA's for VCO/VCF/VCA, enough for me to be able to design circuits, the professor spent most of the damn semester covering a Tunnel Diode. I'll probably never touch a tunnel diode my entire life.

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Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

Registered: 01/04/14
Posts: 601
Loc: West Virginia

And I was proud of myself for knowing about logarithms and their application to pitch and amplitude. I aced calculus while I was finishing my degree, but forgot about it in about 2 years. Never made it to "simple" differential equations, but I admit it sounds like fun.

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I got an B.S. Engineering degree in college, which included taking 4 semesters of calculus of some type. I recall reading statements like this in the Thomas textbook:

"Clearly, one of the solutions to this differential equation is <something-or-other>" ......(and then the text would continue on, to discuss the more difficult other solution to the differential equation).

I remember thinking "no, it's not clear at all". That I passed the 4th semester of calc in college had more to do with my test-taking ability than my comfort with the subject.

Hence my comfort with ordinary software programming, where if you look closely enough, the answer is always going to be a 1 or a 0, and will not be approaching some limit. Ah, software.

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 8145
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area

I was a math major, and studied advanced differential equations. It's the basis of a lot of engineering, but isn't the math I use everyday on my day job (that would primarily be Geometry, Algebra, Fourier Transforms, and basically anything in the realm of Mathematical Physics).

It has never occurred to me to let O.D.E. inform my appreciation of a musical Ode, whether written by ol' Ludwig or by yours truly. When I wake up tomorrow, I doubt things will have changed in that regard.

I suspect this whole topic has been one grand joke; a play on words, so to speak.

_________________________
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My experience was that High school covered Algebra and Trigonometry as requirements, though most people who were college bound in any kind of technical field elected to take Calculus....which was sort of the cliff notes version of Calc at an engineering University.

My Engineering degree required in order: Calc 1, Calc 2, Calc 3, Differential Equations, Partial Differential Equations. Sort of separate from those but still required was Statistics. Problem with the Diff EQ classes was that they were very general since all of the various Engineering Disciplines may apply them in different ways - so you may be using it for Thermodynamics, Engineering Mechanics/Dynamics, etc....so they kept it very general in terms of applications.

Now some of the EE classes were basically math classes except offered by the EE department and more applicable. As an example, Diff EQ covered Laplace Transforms, which I found to be less applicable than the Fourier Transforms covered in EE classes. We also had to take a Computer Science class that really didn't involve a single computer all semester and was also all math. It was covered Decision Tree, Game Theory, Shortest Route (Travelling Salesman Problem) etc.

Anyway, at undergraduate level, they just weren't very good at digging into specific music related applications. I took a semester of analog electronics for obvious reason. While we did spend adequate time on things like OTA's for VCO/VCF/VCA, enough for me to be able to design circuits, the professor spent most of the damn semester covering a Tunnel Diode. I'll probably never touch a tunnel diode my entire life.

18 hours of calculous and DE, physics, statics, thermodynamics, etc... I don't remember a single problem or test question relating to music.

_________________________ Skate to where the puck was 5 years ago.

Oh, I've made examples, probably shared here too, but it's that it annoys me that there's this whole world out there of discussions about technology and software, and nobody seems to know much about what they're doing, except try everything out they can get their hand on, maybe ?

Well I only have certificates that say for a period of three hours on one day many years ago I was able to demonstrate a pass level in mathematics. All that has since evaporated.

But the bass player I have played with for many years is a lecturer and researcher in bio chemistry. I guess he has a working knowledge of differential equations.

But we both ocassionaly miss chord changes and contribute clams, to our mutual amazement.

So Dear Abby, should we spend more time working on differential equations and less time learning the songs?

_________________________ MainStage | Axiom 61 2nd Gen | Pianoteq | B5 | XK3c | EV ZLX 12P "He helped me onto the bottom rung as a musician, from which, I might add, I never ascended" Glyn Johns - Sound Man

Right, it's like this: many processes in nature that involve acceleration (and velocity and displacement etc), have mathematics corresponding to the physics that involve Differential equations. It's like saying the rate of change is coupled with an excursion, in the case of a free hanging swing for instance, and the interesting part is that those DEs are real algebraic equations, with an infinitely accurate solution for a broad class of physical, mechanic and electronic systems.

You could say that a big part of a synthesizer makes sound waves that can be thought of as coming from DEs that are built in the electronics, that's just a matter of one of the ways of designing electronic circuits. Alternately, you can go into approximation techniques that deal with difference equations, nd in some cases you might want to look at (simple..) functional integrals to get exciting waves.

The whole of a sound field, finally, scientifically speaking is like a model of air molecules in 3 dimensions, which can in certain (long known) DE models be computed through, either in approximations or in some modes as algebraic solutions (which is like "infinite accurate" and of mathematical interest).

The processing that usually takes place in Digital Signal Processing, has left the direct connection with these facts in many ways, and that might be "new", but it's hardly accurate.

My interest is at a higher level at the moment, excluding Physical Modeling (I've looked into and like). Harder to explain, but it's like a physical system like a piano has certain fixed properties, in terms of wave making elements, and I hear those get raped (by lackof a better word coming to mind) all the time, in more than one way, while in fact there are also relatively pure differential equation related considerations, like phasing effects, that could make more faithfully reproduced sounds more edible to the human perception.

There are many musicians who are famous, and a bunch more who are not famous but are seen here on this forum, who know even less about music theory than I do, and who may not even read music well. But they kick my a** musically, and no one is lining up to pay money to hear me sight read on the sax. Some of them might be able to improve their musicianship with some extra music theory knowledge, but not by understanding differential equations.

Now if they want to start designing airplane wings, or perhaps design some type of gear, those diff EQs would come in handy.

My interest is at a higher level at the moment, excluding Physical Modeling (I've looked into and like).....

When you cause something to vibrate or resonate (pluck a string, blow into a bottle, etc.) You don't need to know the mathematics to appreciate the resulting sound. Some people were curious enough to mathematically describe it though.

A model of a single piano string can be described by the second order partial differential wave equation. But to model the full sound of the piano from first principles, one needs to add the effects of all the other strings (damped and undamped), the soundboard, the driving function (hammers) and then couple in all of the boundary conditions.

Do you think anyone did this mathematically prior to building the first piano to ensure it would meet their expectations?

it annoys me that there's this whole world out there of discussions about technology and software, and nobody seems to know much about what they're doing, except try everything out they can get their hand on, maybe ? T.

Theo, you're tremendously lucky if you can have a higher level of understanding of the science and math behind your passion of sound and music.

The lack thereof certainly doesn't make any of us here any less competent to create, listen, and enjoy what we make, and hear, even if provided to us by the keyboard manufacturers.

Most of us also drive cars without understanding the physics of aerodynamics or the intricacies of combustion yet still can discuss what features we like or do not like about our vehicles. Most of us take medications without understanding the cellular mechanism of action yet still can discuss side effects.

Registered: 07/25/08
Posts: 11111
Loc: St. Louis, MO

Originally Posted By: Ulf

In any but the most simple (ordinary?) cases you'll need chaos theory rather than differential equations to describe music (and musical sounds).

This was partially my thought as I was reading Theo's last reply, although chaos theory would only be a small part.

Given Theo's example of modeling a piano, I suppose he's thinking you can more accurately calculate mathematically the phase relationships of the waves from each of the strings to a particular listening position, also calculate sympathetic resonance, calculate reflections and resonances from the surfaces within the piano, calculate reflections in the room.....and on and on and on. My guess though is that it's almost impossible to figure out, before even developing the necessary DE's, to even comprehend all of the possible interactions involved and come up with a better result than a properly executed sample with high quality mic's, A/D's, D/A's, etc.

_________________________
Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

Turning proper DEs into musical components is the biggest part of for instance analog synthesis. You could say diffetence equations are a big part of digital synthesis.

Anyhow, there's good reason to think about the type of sccuracy that's often being discussed here: physical dimensions of an instrument getting digitized and digitalky projected though monitors is hard to get right. Even imitating the not overly complicated electronics of an analog phaser unit is hard to get even near to.

So clearly returning to the basics and resisting the urge to dumb down and mess about is an important value. Which can also save you from annoying amounts of philistinism.

With so many (wannabe ?) musicians having only a desire to come accross as the bringer of great light and think sampling and chasing styles is the highest form of creating respect, some are deluded to think a camp-fire guitar must sound stupid and numb. Maybe even a simple analog synthesizer isn't flashy enough !

Math and <i>proper </i>heuristics will remain interesting but cannot live without proper engineering basics. In fact some of the A grade records I know to be advanced engineering and science feats.

In fact some of the A grade records I know to be advanced engineering and science feats.

Absolutely. There's no doubt that excellent, educated and interested musicians and engineers have helped develop a lot of the music technology we now take for granted, just because they had a vision for their art.

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 771
Loc: Budapest, Hungary

On the other hand, Fourier analysis really really helps understanding what overtones are and how they work, which is IMO necessary for good sound design, EQing, mixing etc.

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I think they thought about forms and dimensions and motions, and the projection of their music through tape and later digital processing.

Fourier is fine, a bit more complicated than some people think to do right, but in fact there's a direct connection between Fourier (not the FFT) and solving systems oflinear differential equations.

Musically, the point is that people think in software thingies at some point, which is mostly terribly misplaced, even the originals instruments and processing in the analog domain are better connections with sound reality than a lot of FFt stuff that for experts can mathematically easily be proven never to come out to exactness in comparison to analog counterparts or main musical mathematical foundations. Sound strange, but that is why I thought I'd say a few things about DEs.

Interesting topic...during my engineering days at university, I took DiffEQs.

And while I could do the mechanics of third-order partial differentiation in polar coordinates, and get the right answer, I'll be damned if, then (30+ years ago) or now, I could explain what it meant.

Maybe if there was mathematica or some other graphic representation of what it was, it might have gelled.

Still, to the OP's point, it probably wouldn't have helped my shoddy skills on keys or synthesis.

Suffice it to say, shortly thereafter, I was asked to leave the college of engineering, where I went to the "weak side" of campus and got a business degree.

And yet, I ended up in an engineering field. Go figure.

Registered: 12/04/12
Posts: 1497
Loc: San Diego, CA USA

Nobody whips out their DE and PDE handbook to design complex sounds. No musical person ever even thought to. This thread is absurd.

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Feel fortunate Otherwise you'd be living in a cave. Or at least the 50's... The diffusion equation, which is the basis for semiconductor fabrication is a partial differential equation describing how the doping impurities diffuse into the bulk

Registered: 12/04/12
Posts: 1497
Loc: San Diego, CA USA

Originally Posted By: JazzPiano88

Originally Posted By: MotiDave

Nobody whips out their DE and PDE handbook to design complex sounds. No musical person ever even thought to. This thread is absurd.

On the other hand, viewing the FM equations shows how the HF modulation index increases the harmonic content, acting like opening an analog filter.

Yeah it was serendipity, after the fact, that Chowning stumbled onto it.

But once it was understood, the rest of FM synthesis was at least partially driven by the mathematical understanding.

maybe I misunderstood the OP, as that would be the normal expectation whenever OP posts. But I understood his thesis to state that if we used advanced mathematical equations to communicate musical sounds throughout the musical community, said communication would be improved.

I boldly present my alternate thesis: The effectiveness of communication of a particular sound (tone, properties, modulation, etc.) is inversely proportional to the extent of mathematical equations included in the communication. At the lower limit, an attempt to communicate exact "sounds" only in terms of complex multi-parameter multi-order mathematical equations will result in a effective communication quotient of zero.

Edited by MotiDave (08/12/1711:20 AM)

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I mean seriously: Everyone who knows a bit about both differential equations and about music is aware that knowledge or aptitude in the one field doesn't improve knowledge or aptitude in the other. However, people who know about both may find the interrelations interesting.