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Spectral Scans

Jean-Claude Risset’s harmonic arpeggio is a spectral composition technique that uses sine wave interference patterns to create a downward cascading arpeggio of a specified subset of the harmonic series. Created by beating patterns that result from closely-spaced sinusoids (i.e. slightly detuned sine waves), Risset described the arpeggio gestures as “spectral scans”.

Spectral scans with inharmonic partials (from Sylicae EP):

ChucK code (spork the additive synth before sporking the score file):

Tech info:

Computer Music: Why? by Jean-Claude Risset
Composing Sound using Spectral Scans by Reginald Bain
Making Music with Risset Beats by Chris Tralie


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