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The Sounds of Nature

The Sounds of Nature
« on: October 17, 2018, 09:06:00 AM »
We synthesists love to use our instruments to emulate nature - whooshing wind and surf, tinkling ice, moaning lakes, mellifluous bird songs, majestic thunder and rain, and so on.  Here's a video in which nature seems to be emulating the synthesizer.

It would be fascinating if we offered samples on this thread of our imitations of nature.  I'd say Soundquest is presently the master - at least in the bird song category - but I'm sure others have come up with impressive results.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w56RxaX9THY
« Last Edit: October 17, 2018, 09:24:45 AM by Sacred Synthesis »

Re: The Sounds of Nature
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2018, 11:30:47 AM »
We synthesists love to use our instruments to emulate nature - whooshing wind and surf, tinkling ice, moaning lakes, mellifluous bird songs, majestic thunder and rain, and so on.  Here's a video in which nature seems to be emulating the synthesizer.

It would be fascinating if we offered samples on this thread of our imitations of nature.  I'd say Soundquest is presently the master - at least in the bird song category - but I'm sure others have come up with impressive results.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w56RxaX9THY

Nice, and not at all what I expected to hear!

As a synth teen in summer time I'd record with the basement door open. One day I had a synth-bird patch going (Korg MS-10 or Pro One, I'd guess, in those days...) and a scrub jay hopped through the door, intrigued. The same bird came back for several days  in the afternoon when I'd crank up the synths.

I've written before about how the Korg MS synths are great for all sorts of yowling monkey and laughing cat sounds. I've got banks of cricket/frog patches somewhere, but possibly long lost for now...

Re: The Sounds of Nature
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2018, 12:18:08 PM »
My very first synthesizer was a Univox MiniKorg.  When I was about fifteen years old, my father bought it for me, used, for $200.  I practically ate, drank, and slept with that instrument.  From the start, I was a synthesizer fanatic. 

The Korg became well-known in the neighborhood because I used to put my speakers in my bedroom windows and play.  One thing I have to say about that little synth: it makes the most convincing bubble sounds!  It became an expected feature of our neighborhood that, when you walked past our house, you were bound to be confounded by all sorts of strange sounds, especially a sustained tidal wave of bubbles. 

I was never able to find a place for that sound in a piece of music, but I used to listen to it long and loud in a state of blissful wonder.  It's funny; the natural sound is of no interest, but the notion of an electronic device reproducing it with such life-like precision is captivating.

I think I can proudly say that I've listened to far more bubbles than the average teenager.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2018, 12:34:01 PM by Sacred Synthesis »

Re: The Sounds of Nature
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2018, 12:37:50 PM »
Prophet 12, Modal 002, MFB Dominion 1, Behringer DeepMind 12D, Korg Polysix & EX-8000, Roland JX-8P, Ensoniq SQ-80, Kawai K3m and now an OB-6!

Re: The Sounds of Nature
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2018, 01:32:11 PM »
See what you started Sacred Synthesis....Bubbles, laughing cats and ice creaking, well I do like the idea of where this is going already.  If nothing else, it may help keep our chops up.  I mean with the advent of readily available samples for most anything nowadays, making your own "sound effects" could become a lost art.   I'm not attempting that ice sheet though ;)
DSI Equipment: Poly Evolver Keyboard, Evolver desktop, Prophet 8,  Pro-2, OB6, P-12
 

https://Soundcloud.com/wavescape-1

Razmo

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Re: The Sounds of Nature
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2018, 05:38:37 AM »
I enjoy making sounds that imitate the realworld "physics" actually... be it nature or even acoustic instruments... i never aim to hit the original sound 100% perfectly (though it would be nice sometimes), but instead try to induce the character of real life audio physics into my sounds... for some reason those sounds come to life in a different way than pure synthesizer sounds, and they seem to work very well in the Ambient genre I'm trying to do.

In fact, I see this goal of creating sounds that remind you of realworld sound as kind of a "Frankenstein" kind of approach... it is to me, like if those sounds I create that try to emulate nature and acoustic properties simply "come to life" more... it's like they're induced with a "soul", but never really capturing it perfectly making them some kind of aural "Frankenstein abomination" :) (please forgive my strange analogy, but it IS Halloween times ;) )

Also... often I find it hard to create many of these "real life" sounds because, yes, you can make the sound of the wind, water, fire etc... but very quickly you realize that some sounds are quite abstract... how do the sound of fire really sound? and is it the sound of fire? or is it really not the wind blowing on the fire that you hear, or the wood cracklings? ... also goes for the sound of "Earth" when I tried to create the four elements as REV2 sounds... Air and Water were easy, fire was a challenge but Earth really got me... what sounds depict "Earth"!? ... I ended up with trying to make a sound that resembles dirt and rocks falling down a slope... what about the sound of an Earth Quake!? is that the sound of the earth?

My point is, that we very often give sounds in nature their traits from other things... how about the sound of the Northern Lights? ... the sound of spiders and other crawling insects which we really do not hear? ... the sound of a slithering snake? ... all those folley sound FX can be rather tricky... it's an artform in itself because you have to trick the listener into believing that a thing that actually makes no sound in itself, has a fake sound given to it, that will make the listener feel it's "fitting" somehow.

You even mention the "sound of tingling ice" ... hey... ice do not have a sound at all, but anyway we often associate cold, freezing, snow and ice with the sound of bells... why? ... is there a direct connection between bells and cold because bells are often associated with Christmas and therefore winter which equals cold, snow and ice? ... is it because ice has a bellish kind of resonant property i do not know of? ... or did someone a long way back simply just decide that "hey! we use bells for this icy cutscene!" and then it has passed down thru history that "this is just how the sound of snow and ice should sound!" ?

But nonetheless... it's fun to try and make them, and in the process you almost always come up with other strange and organic sounds defying anything "real life", so it's totally worth it... really :)
« Last Edit: October 20, 2018, 05:54:54 AM by Razmo »

Re: The Sounds of Nature
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2018, 09:06:37 AM »
Hope this isn't too off to the side, but some years back I recorded an album with the Bevis Frond backing me. For one of the songs, the long, trippy track on the record, I'd brought to the studio a tape of synthesized "mushroom" sounds. I also had a recording I'd made of rain (real rain!). After we'd got the backing tracks in shape, we added these sound effects. Nick, the main Frond, upon hearing the rain track, laughed and said, "What the hell is that supposed to be?" I said, you know, it's rain... He said, "No mate, that sounds like bacon frying. Or someone having a piss." Uh... At least he didn't say anything about the mushroom sounds!

The mushroom sounds were from the venerable Korg MS-10, coming in at around 3:04. The rain is in from the top of the song.

https://soundcloud.com/anton-barbeau/sylvia-something
« Last Edit: October 20, 2018, 09:23:58 AM by Ant of 12047 »

Re: The Sounds of Nature
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2018, 03:42:25 PM »
I love this topic.  Some of the comments have been quite amusing.  I must confess that my original post naughtily included a mystery that I hoped would lead to some questions, if not objections.  Tinkling ice?  Absolutely.  But it's a sound that only an outdoorsman would know.

I lived for ten years alone in a small house beside a lake.  They were the richest and most formative years of my life, and it was then that I became intimately familiar with nature at all times and seasons.  I would sometimes walk for several miles well after dark, and if there are two sounds I'll never forget, the first is that of a deer running through the woods in the black of night and repeatedly snorting at the same instant its hoofs strike the ground.  You would be nervously expecting a Triceratops to appear in full gallop.  The other sound is tinkling ice - beautiful, gentle, and complex.

As far as I can tell, you can only hear the sound of tinkling ice for about one week in the entire year.  It's produced in the late winter or very early spring when a thickly frozen lake is beginning to melt.  As the melting line moves across the lake, thousands (millions?) of tiny fragments of ice break off, but are then tossed by the waves back against the still solid ice.  The result is a gorgeously delicate tinkling sound, somewhat similar to an extremely high-pitched wind chime.  But the sound is so soft that you can't hear it from the shore.  You have to row out the middle of the lake where the waves are big enough, and even there it's the most delicate of sounds. 

Imitating tinkling ice would require a chime-type patch for starts, but it would have to be soft, high-pitched, rapid, and random sounding.  Of course, it wouldn't be natural to isolate the sound from that of the lapping waves, and perhaps a soft breeze as well.  In which case, it might just be smarter to take a little row this coming March with a Tascam portable recorder!
« Last Edit: October 20, 2018, 04:15:35 PM by Sacred Synthesis »

Re: The Sounds of Nature
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2018, 06:31:12 PM »
I love this topic.  Some of the comments have been quite amusing.  I must confess that my original post naughtily included a mystery that I hoped would lead to some questions, if not objections.  Tinkling ice?  Absolutely.  But it's a sound that only an outdoorsman would know.

I lived for ten years alone in a small house beside a lake.  They were the richest and most formative years of my life, and it was then that I became intimately familiar with nature at all times and seasons.  I would sometimes walk for several miles well after dark, and if there are two sounds I'll never forget, the first is that of a deer running through the woods in the black of night and repeatedly snorting at the same instant its hoofs strike the ground.  You would be nervously expecting a Triceratops to appear in full gallop.  The other sound is tinkling ice - beautiful, gentle, and complex.

As far as I can tell, you can only hear the sound of tinkling ice for about one week in the entire year.  It's produced in the late winter or very early spring when a thickly frozen lake is beginning to melt.  As the melting line moves across the lake, thousands (millions?) of tiny fragments of ice break off, but are then tossed by the waves back against the still solid ice.  The result is a gorgeously delicate tinkling sound, somewhat similar to an extremely high-pitched wind chime.  But the sound is so soft that you can't hear it from the shore.  You have to row out the middle of the lake where the waves are big enough, and even there it's the most delicate of sounds. 

Imitating tinkling ice would require a chime-type patch for starts, but it would have to be soft, high-pitched, rapid, and random sounding.  Of course, it wouldn't be natural to isolate the sound from that of the lapping waves, and perhaps a soft breeze as well.  In which case, it might just be smarter to take a little row this coming March with a Tascam portable recorder!

Lovely! The sound of your words is a sound of nature. Thank you.

Re: The Sounds of Nature
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2018, 10:56:10 PM »
Thanks, Ant.

Re: The Sounds of Nature
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2018, 12:15:26 AM »
As part of his Scapes series the sound designer Francis Preve created some impressive simulations of natural sounds just by using Ableton's Operater FM synth. The project arose from developing a musical equivalent to landscape paintings and highlights the importance of listening as a precondition for sound design or rather an understanding of sound.

Worth a listen: https://www.francispreve.com/scapes/

Re: The Sounds of Nature
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2018, 12:39:57 PM »

.......The mushroom sounds were from the venerable Korg MS-10, coming in at around 3:04. The rain is in from the top of the song......

https://soundcloud.com/anton-barbeau/sylvia-something


Sorry Ant,  I'm not hearing the mushrooms, but nice jam in the middle of the tune  :)


Sacred Synthesis,  if you take that Tascam out in March in a rowboat,  snap a picture.  They might pay you to use that as a commercial for an odd recording location   :D

Speaking of ice....what about that sound a real thin new layer of ice makes when you throw a small pebble onto it and it bounces.   Has a "shimmering sound" to it.   That'd be another ice patch.   Just occurred to me that our forum friends in the equatorial areas are probably at a loss of what the heck we're talking about :)
DSI Equipment: Poly Evolver Keyboard, Evolver desktop, Prophet 8,  Pro-2, OB6, P-12
 

https://Soundcloud.com/wavescape-1

Razmo

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Re: The Sounds of Nature
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2018, 12:51:56 PM »

.......The mushroom sounds were from the venerable Korg MS-10, coming in at around 3:04. The rain is in from the top of the song......

https://soundcloud.com/anton-barbeau/sylvia-something

Sorry Ant,  I'm not hearing the mushrooms, but nice jam in the middle of the tune  :)


Sacred Synthesis,  if you take that Tascam out in March in a rowboat,  snap a picture.  They might pay you to use that as a commercial for an odd recording location   :D

Speaking of ice....what about that sound a real thin new layer of ice makes when you throw a small pebble onto it and it bounces.   Has a "shimmering sound" to it.   That'd be another ice patch.   Just occurred to me that our forum friends in the equatorial areas are probably at a loss of what the heck we're talking about :)

Not just the Equitorial areas really... I live in the north (Denmark), and have never heard or witnessed hearing these ice sounds myself, so I don't get it either... but would really like to hear that sound, so yes... out with the mic, and lets hear it ;)

Razmo

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Re: The Sounds of Nature
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2018, 12:56:36 PM »
Besides... I bought a SONY mobile recorder earlier which I sold again... mainly because recording in the wild simply disappointed me... I'd have to travel to very remote areas to avoid getting "humans" into the recordings... the aural polution really start to dawn on you when you try to record stuff outside... there is ALWAYS some noise coming from somewhere nearby... cars... engines... planes... voices... I simply got so tired of it I decided that this is not the way for me, and thus the design of synthetic nature suddenly becomes much more relevant to me... the only other solution I've got is to buy expensive real life recordings from artists who have traveled the world to record them. The only things I'll be recording myself in the future will be things i can carry into my home, and set them up in a noise free environment really... but that's fun as well :)

dslsynth

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Re: The Sounds of Nature
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2018, 01:57:10 PM »
I'd have to travel to very remote areas to avoid getting "humans" into the recordings... the aural polution really start to dawn on you when you try to record stuff outside... there is ALWAYS some noise coming from somewhere nearby... cars... engines... planes... voices...

Well, tools exists to clean up samples. RX is a pretty neat tool. And its in theory possible to win a license for it in the sonicstate competition:

https://www.izotope.com/en/products/repair-and-edit/rx.html
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Re: The Sounds of Nature
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2018, 02:36:09 PM »

I live in the north (Denmark), and have never heard or witnessed hearing these ice sounds myself, so I don't get it either... but would really like to hear that sound, so yes... out with the mic, and lets hear it ;)

The next natural question is, then, have you ever been out in a rowboat exploring the edge of a lake's melting ice cover in late winter?  This is not a sound that anyone else I've ever met has heard.  I've experienced it perhaps twice in my life.  So, I guess you'll have to trust me on this one.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2018, 02:39:03 PM by Sacred Synthesis »

Re: The Sounds of Nature
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2018, 07:26:15 PM »

.......The mushroom sounds were from the venerable Korg MS-10, coming in at around 3:04. The rain is in from the top of the song......

https://soundcloud.com/anton-barbeau/sylvia-something


Sorry Ant,  I'm not hearing the mushrooms, but nice jam in the middle of the tune  :)


Squint softly, it's clearly the sound of mushrooms mushrooming! Nick Saloman on gtr, Ade Shaw (Hawkwind) on bass and Andy Ward (Camel) on drums. Me on, uh, Korg mushrooms!


Razmo

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Re: The Sounds of Nature
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2018, 02:33:24 AM »

I live in the north (Denmark), and have never heard or witnessed hearing these ice sounds myself, so I don't get it either... but would really like to hear that sound, so yes... out with the mic, and lets hear it ;)

The next natural question is, then, have you ever been out in a rowboat exploring the edge of a lake's melting ice cover in late winter?  This is not a sound that anyone else I've ever met has heard.  I've experienced it perhaps twice in my life.  So, I guess you'll have to trust me on this one.

No, because Denmark is geografically a bit different... sure we have lakes, but it rarely freeze enough and the right way to create such a scenario... neither do I have access to a boat, and many of the small lakes are private anyway... so the option is not there really :)

Razmo

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Re: The Sounds of Nature
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2018, 02:34:47 AM »
Are we talking about the sound OF mushrooms here, or the sound ON mushrooms?  ;D

chysn

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Re: The Sounds of Nature
« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2018, 06:51:48 AM »
Earth really got me... what sounds depict "Earth"!? ... I ended up with trying to make a sound that resembles dirt and rocks falling down a slope... what about the sound of an Earth Quake!? is that the sound of the earth?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBfrLoBpsIQ
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Arturia MicroBrute
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore2
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GitHub: https://github.com/chysn