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Computer Systems and Languages for Audio Research

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While most of the professional audio industry is preoccupied with the reproduction of recorded music created by natural instruments, there is a more profound application: creation of original music with digital signal processing. The historic limitations of natural air and string resonances can be overcome by the use of computer sound synthesis. Although computers can generate any sound that can be specified in point-by-point fashion, creative exploration of new timbres and new musical effects requires fabrication of new signal-processing structures at the level of software programming. For both musician and engineer, replacing an instrument by a terminal - or an analog pot by a subroutine - can be very disturbing, particularly if the modes of human-machine interaction are orthogonal to the task. A composer-oriented software system is described which affords intuitive yet flexible control over the most recent methods of digital audio processing.

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