Saturday, October 10, 2015

Polyphonic Synthesis Research

Polyphonic Synthesis

The Polyphonic Synthesis assignment has given restrictions to compose a piece using a synthesis, without making changes to the oscillator, modulation oscillator, noise and feedback. U-he Zebralette synthesiser has a restricted sound palette as compare to Massive, which has a wider range of sound palate. Instead of creating sounds that sound like a synthesiser, exploration of distorted sounds would give a strong impact and a drastic dynamic change. The piece was written into two different sections. The first section made up layers of noises that build up in dynamics and timbre, later then create a massive element that leads into the second section. During the transition from the first to second section, the underlaying, clean drone will fade in. The first section will then have a sudden cut, which left the underlying drone underneath.

Merzbow's Sponge Octopus has different layers of harsh noises, with sweeping filters that could be a good inspiration and reference. However, sweeping filters would not be taken into consideration for this composition. Merzbow, also known as Misami Akita, is an experimental, noise musician inspired by the dada movement and junk-art aesthetic. "Sponge Octopus", an experimental piece, was released in Merzbow's first solo album A Taste of Merzbow in May 2002. This album is mainly inspired by Japanese cuisine.

Laurie Spiegel's Sediment has clean, sustain drones. "Sediment" was first released in the fourth volume of "An Anthology of Noise and Electronic Music" in 1972. It was only until recently that this piece came to the surface because of a film named "The Hunger Games." For this piece of composition, Laurie Spiegel first drafted her ideas on a graph paper, composed her piece using an analog synthesiser and two stereo reel-to-reel decks. Laurie Spiegel is a composer and musician, who is skilled at playing lute and banjo. She is also the pioneer for the evolution of computer technology. In 1973 to 1979, she was a software engineer for Bell Labs. During the start of evolution, Spiegel mentioned:" ... we were most commonly accused of attempting to completely dehumanise the arts..." Spiegel was best-known for her music program creation, Music Mouse, which was used for the Apple Macintosh 512k computer back in 1985. In the program, there is a choice of different music scales, such as chromatic, octatonic and tempos. It also includes choices for tempos, transposition, and "polyphonic" cursor which could be controlled by using the mouse.

The video below shows Laurie Spiegel playing the Alles synthesiser.


Leone, D. (2002, February). Merzbow: A Taste of Merzbow. Retrieved October 2015, from

Merzbow. Retrieved October 2015, from

Holmes, T. (1985). The Microprocessor Revolution (1975-2011). In Electronic and Experimental Music (4th ed., pp. 302–304). New York: Scribner's.

Frevele, J. (2012). Laurie Spiegel: The Underground Music Artist Now In the Forefront, Thanks to The Hunger Games. Retrieved September 2015, from 

Fox, C. (2012). Laurie Spiegel. Retrieved October 2015, from

Spiegel, L. (2009). Laurie Spiegel plays Alles synth - temporary replacement. Retrieved September 2015, from