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Electronic Musical Tone Production by Nonlinear Waveshaping

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Nonlinear circuits can be used to introduce a controlled amount of distortion, while operating on a sinusoidal input, to get musical tones with specified harmonic content. This method is capable of producing results of the highest quality. The exact nonlinearity required to produce any arbitrary harmonic content may be calculated through a simple technique involving Chebyshev polynomials. Conversely, the harmonics produced by any nonlinearity representable in power series form may be determined simply, without integration. This technique is useful in tone generator design, and is applicable to distortion problems where linearity is desired, such as in audio amplifier design.

JAES Volume 18 Issue 4 pp. 413-417; August 1970
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AES - Audio Engineering Society