Four Fundamental Waveforms

There are four fundamental waveforms in synthesis: sine, triangle, square and sawtooth. If you don’t have a background in sound synthesis, you’ll soon discover that these four waveforms are everywhere; On faceplates of synthesizers as well as in much of the existing literature on sound design. Not only do they each have their own distinct timbres, but their physical shapes make them great for modulating synth parameters such as amplitude and frequency, which we’ll cover later.

The following examples plays each waveform at four different octaves:

Download the Csound example here.

*Note* I’m using vco2 to generate the triangle, square and sawtooth, which produces the band-limited equivalents of these three. I’ll get into what I mean later, but for now, you need not worry about this.

Synthesis Fall 2010

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