Electronic Sound Synthesizer Interface Design

Seago, Allan (2004). Electronic Sound Synthesizer Interface Design. Technical Report 2004/22; Department of Computing, The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.00016019


The focus of this project described in this paper is to address a deep-rooted problem in the user interface of present-day hardware and software of electronic music synthesizers. While sound qualities such as pitch and loudness lend themselves relatively easily to user control, the timbre of sound is much less easily described or defined in any systematic way. Consequently, in all present day user interfaces so far examined for controlling or modifying timbre in electronic synthesisers, there is a wide semantic gap between the task and system languages used. In this project, we are carefully analysing current approaches to controlling timbre, and investigating principles, issues and problems that must be addressed to improve the design of user interfaces for sound synthesis. In subsequent stages of the project, a prototype of a new kind of interface will be designed, implemented and evaluated.The research is still in its early stages, but a taxonomy of synthesizer interface design categories is identified and the conclusions drawn from a series of user tests summarised.

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