Discover the exciting world of electroacoustic music and learn to make music with sounds.

Generating Sounds


Using electrical technology, it is possible for us to synthesise new sounds.

Types of Generated Sound

Electrical devices produce three main types of generated sound.

1. Pitched Tones

Steady (PitchThe relative height of a sound, ranging from low to high.More infopitched) signals are produced by electrical components, called oscillators. These sounds have a clear pitch and duration.


Triangle Wave Tone

A generated sound with a clear pitch.

Different types of oscillators produce different types of pitched sounds. These are explored in Basic Soundwaves.

2. Noise Sounds

Noise sounds are the opposite of pitched tones, they have no steady waveform and are highly randomised. Their sounds are spread across the spectrum.

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This is a clip of white noise. It is very intense because the whole frequency range (from very low to very high) is saturated.

3. Impulse Clicks

Very short sounds which make a click sound. Their EnvelopeThe shape of a sound over time.More infoenvelope will dictate how sharp or smooth they sound, but they often sound like noisy clicks.

An individual click sound.

An individual click sound.

Impulse Click Sounds

A very short generated sound.

Controlling the New Sounds

By changing the input controls on an oscillator, it is possible to change the pitch (frequency) and amplitude (loudness) of these sounds. Individual waves can be added together to create more complex waveforms.

The three sound types of PitchThe relative height of a sound, ranging from low to high.More infopitched tones, NoiseA term that describes sounds that have a diffuse spread of spectral energy. It is often contrasted with pitched sounds.More infonoise sounds, and impulse clicks can be thought of as extreme types of generated sound. Many other sounds exist between these extreme points as a mixture of all three sound types.

generated sound types

The Elektronische Musik (Electronic Music), created in the Cologne studios, used mainly electronically produced sounds.



Some manipulations also use these type of waves as a signal to control the parameters of an effect over time (for example: a Low Frequency Oscillator).

Abstract Sounds

Sounds which we are unable to link with a specific source (Sound Source). When we hear Abstract Sounds we usually think about them as sounds in their own right; we do not hear the source that caused them (see also Musical Listening).

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Electronic Music

Music in which the sound material is not pre-recorded, but instead uniquely generated electronically, through oscillators and noise generators.

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Elektronische Musik

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LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator)

A sound wave that has a low frequency (usually below the range of human hearing) but which can be used to manipulate sound within the range of human hearing.

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A piece of electrical equipment that produces a back and forth motion in electricity, thus inducing an AC current which can be sonified by a loudspeaker.

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Sine Wave

The purest of sounds, looking like a sequence of hills and troughs, the sine wave (or sinusoid) creates the sound of a single frequency with no harmonics or interference.

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