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[fluid-dev] improving musical timekeeping

From: address@hidden
Subject: [fluid-dev] improving musical timekeeping
Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2020 12:58:23 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:68.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/68.4.2

Here's a thought:

Currently, samples start playing from the very beginning of their attack phase at the moment a NoteOn is due, right? This means instruments with meaningfully long attack phases will drag (be late musically); and to make things worse, drag varying amounts by note (pitch) as the sample is resampled for various pitches. This unavoidaby makes musical timekeeping poor, and needs manual, sample- and note-specific correction to arrive at good timekeeping.

But it does not have to be this way when playing from a score. Real musicians, when playing from a score, know ahead of time what notes they will have to play and when, so they play their notes slightly ahead of time, just enough to give time to the instrument to complete the attack phase, to arrive at the meaningful musical onset of the note exactly on time.

Why don't samplers/synthesizers do that when playing back a score? Why don't we designate in our samples a musical onset point (much like we do with loop points), and then play the sample early, just enough so that this designated musical onset arrives on the "tick"?

Sample makers wouldn't have to artificially shorten their attack phases just so that their soundfonts play "on time", and/or composers would no longer have to be forced to compensate for - sample/soundfont-specific, and note specific - attack phase lengths by tediously manually moving their notes earlier in their scores. This would automatically be "on time".

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