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Kadenze: Physics-Based Sound Synthesis for Games and Interactive Systems

 with  Perry R. Cook and Julius O. Smith III
Class Central Course Rank
#2 in Subjects > Science > Physics

This course introduces the basics of Digital Signal Processing and computational acoustics, motivated by the vibrational physics of real-world objects and systems. We will build from a simple mass-spring and pendulum to demonstrate oscillation, learn how to simulate those systems in the computer, and also prove that these simple oscillations behave as a sine wave. From that we move to plucked strings and struck bars, showing both solutions as combined traveling waves and combined sine wave harmonics. We continue to build and simulate more complex systems containing many vibrating objects and resonators (stringed instruments, drum, plate), and also learn how to simulate echos and room reverberation. Through this process, we will learn about digital signals, filters, oscillators, harmonics, spectral analysis, linear and non-linear systems, particle models, and all the necessary building blocks to synthesize essentially any sound. The free open-source software provided will make it possible for anyone to use physical models in their art-making, game or movie sound, or any other application.

Syllabus

Session 1: The Time Domain: Sound, Acoustics, Digital Audio, Noise Vs. Pitch 
a) Digital Audio, Sampling, Quantization, Aliasing b) Soundfiles, Wavetables, Manipulating PCM c) Pitch (vs. Noise), Spectral Analysis 0.1 d) Time-domain Pitch/Noise Detection: ZeroXings, Autocorrelation, AMDF
Session 2: Physics, Oscillators, Sines & Spectra, Spectral/Additive Synthesis 
a) Mass-Spring-Damper system, also simple Pendulum b) Fourier analysis/synthesis, Spectrum Analysis 1.0 c) More on additive Sine-wave synthesis
Session 3: Digital Filters, Modal Synthesis 
a) Linearity, Time-invariance, Convolution b) Digital Filters, Finite Impulse Response (FIR) c) Infinite Impulse Response (IIR) Digital Filters c’) Special Guest: Julius O. Smith III, Digital Filters are Awesome! d) BiQuad Resonator Filter, Modal Synthesis
Session 4: Physical Modeling Synthesis I: 1D Systems 
a) 1-D systems, Strings, Modal (Fourier) Solution b) Strings II: Waveguide (D’Alembert) Solution c) 1-D systems, Bars, Tubes, solutions d) Advanced Waveguide Synthesis for 1-D systems
Session 5: Physical Modeling II: 2 And 3-D Systems 
a) 2-D systems, plates, drums, higher-order modes Fourier (Sine and/or Modal) Solutions, Waveguide Solutions b) 3-D systems, rooms, resonators, Waveguide synthesis c) Resonator/Modal view and solution of 3-D systems Pop bottles and other lumped resonators
Session 6: Advanced Physical Modeling 
a) Non-Linearity, Models for Synthesis b) Stiffness, All-Pass Filters, Banded Waveguides c) Commuted Synthesis c') Special Guest Star: JULIUS, Strings and MoForte d) Gnarly Geometries, Modes and Models e) Scanned Synthesis
Session 7: Particles And Statistical Models 
a) Formant Wave Functions (FOFs) and Wavelets b) Granular Synthesis c) Particle Models, Statistical Modal Synthesis
Session 8: Even More Synthesis Methods 
a) Voice Synthesis: Formants and Formant Synthesizers b) Linear Prediction c) FM Synthesis: Horns, Bells, Voices Waveshaping Synthesis, Distortion Modeling
Session 9: Tying It All Together: Synthesis Applications And Control 
a) Controlling Modal Synthesis (Wii, TouchOSC, more) b) Walking Synthesis, a complete system c) Procedural Audio: Driving synthesis from process, game state, etc.
10 Student
reviews
Cost Free Online Course
Pace Self Paced
Subject Physics
Institution Stanford University
Provider Kadenze
Language English
Certificates Paid Certificate Available
Calendar 9 weeks long

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10 reviews for Kadenze's Physics-Based Sound Synthesis for Games and Interactive Systems

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5 months ago
Gary Worsham completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
I had started to mess around with STK C++ classes which are used for many of the sound objects in the ChucK language. ChucK is a little unusual but I got the hang of it enough to complete the course. I enjoyed the subjects a lot. I am an engineer and know a lot about sound and DSP, but I still learned quite a bit. Read More
I had started to mess around with STK C++ classes which are used for many of the sound objects in the ChucK language.

ChucK is a little unusual but I got the hang of it enough to complete the course. I enjoyed the subjects a lot. I am an engineer and know a lot about sound and DSP, but I still learned quite a bit.

Some of my complaints are super picky, but anyway here they are:

While I appreciate the sense of humor of ChucK's developers, some terms were invented apparently simply to be "cute", e.g. ChucK programs are called "shreds" (why?) and so the process manager/scheduler is called a "shreduler" (why?). When one is attempting to absorb a lot of new info in a short period of time, this stuff gets in the way.

The assignments are apparently robo-graded and it was occasionally difficult to get direct feedback from the instructor(s) as to why a given approach was marked incorrect.

The forum was OK for chatting with other students about various aspects of assignments etc. but the instructors did not comment very frequently.

Sometimes I found the quizzes a little challenging as maybe I missed one minute out of 30 or more minutes of video, where the question was answered. Later I found there were closed captioning text files but it would be better if the lecture transcript could be made available as a PDF.

Assignments would also be better as PDFs because I wound up copying the text off the screen into a document and then printing it out so I could keep track of all the details.

Many of the assignments are based on a "PONG" framework. At first this is OK, but it got a little repetitive, and once there were more than 4 instruments being triggered at a time, it becomes really difficult to hear any sort of subtle change you might be making to the synthesis models.
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5 months ago
Christian Huygen audited this course.
I learned so much from this course and I appreciated it immensely. Professor Cook and his colleagues showed enormous caring and enthusiasm that were quite infectious. I learned much more than I anticipated. I got over my fear of coding, and enjoyed learning and exploring the Chuck language and its enormous potential. Read More
I learned so much from this course and I appreciated it immensely. Professor Cook and his colleagues showed enormous caring and enthusiasm that were quite infectious. I learned much more than I anticipated. I got over my fear of coding, and enjoyed learning and exploring the Chuck language and its enormous potential.

Physical modeling is my favorite kind of synthesis, and it's very difficult to find a good place to learn about it. Professor Cook is an expert in the field and himself created very powerful tools which he clearly enjoys sharing with students.

He was also extremely helpful and responsive when I submitted questions online. I would recommend this course to anyone who is interested in learning about physical modeling synthesis.
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5 months ago
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Anonymous audited this course.
Amazing course. Loved how dense material like filter design was presented in a rather easy manner. However, this simplicity comes at a cost of lack of rigor, which is totally fine with me as I am not very mathematically oriented. This course introduced me to chuck and I guess ever since then, audio programming has Read More
Amazing course.

Loved how dense material like filter design was presented in a rather easy manner. However, this simplicity comes at a cost of lack of rigor, which is totally fine with me as I am not very mathematically oriented.

This course introduced me to chuck and I guess ever since then, audio programming has become my favourite past time.

I would recommend this course and the accompanying book to any one interested in learning sound synthesis.

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5 months ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
Great course! Some topics require more technical and mathematical insights, but overall it is a good choice for those who want to quickly start and get going with sound-design. Recommended!
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5 months ago
Bob Van Hoove partially completed this course.
Event though I didn't complete the course I would recommend it to anyone who wishes to explore the subject of sound modelling. A mathematical background is not strictly required. The focus surely isn't on the maths in this course. But honestly, at some point I felt I should start all over again because I glossed over Read More
Event though I didn't complete the course I would recommend it to anyone who wishes to explore the subject of sound modelling.

A mathematical background is not strictly required. The focus surely isn't on the maths in this course. But honestly, at some point I felt I should start all over again because I glossed over the maths too much.

The exercises were well designed. It was fun to work through them Also, since I'm a programmer that was the area where I felt most at ease.

Mr. Cook is a brilliant teacher. In a 30 minutes lecture he can motivate and put you on the right track to explore a topic that may take a good couple of extra hours to really understand. I also very much respect him for taking the time to check the forums every now and then and help us out with our questions.

I hope to continue / start over when I manage to dedicate some more time to study (I was in between jobs when I started).

Also kudos to the Kadenze crew, they're doing an awesome job.
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5 months ago
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Anonymous is taking this course right now.
Great information and code. Lectures are very informative. I wish more information was provided in grading feedback or there was an easy way to ask for clarification. Example: "Your submission closely matched 6 modes and loosely matched 4 modes." Which modes matched? This isn't quite enough information for me to be able to see where I went wrong.
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5 months ago
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Anonymous audited this course.
Audited this course while taking courses on Design on Kadenze. Perry seems to be a cofounder of Kadenze. Can also see how this course goes hand in hand with Ajay's course on intro to programming (which Perry seems to also co-teach). Very inspiring to see all these schools interweave together. Got Kadenze and Stanford!
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5 months ago
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Anonymous is taking this course right now.
This is a very intense course. You will learn a lot about math, physics and coding. But its all used to create sounds that can be used for your own music or vídeo game design. It is a hard course, but stick with it and it all comes together in the end.
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5 months ago
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Anonymous audited this course.
Excellent material, presented well. Thanks for making it available. These guys are both still way ahead of their time, and I have been following their work for a long time, even before "Silicon Valley Breakdown".
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5 months ago
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Anonymous partially completed this course.
Great course. Was a little more difficult than I was expecting. Had to re-watch videos multiple times to understand certain concepts.
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