The increasing demand of expressive virtual musical instruments has lead to the research and development of powerful and sophisticated technologies.
Samplers and synthesizers have been for decades the cornerstones of virtual music, it’s nevertheless true that limitations of both techniques are well known.
Samplers (which in practice are complex dynamic recorders/players) perfectly reproduce the timbre of the instrument and the original expression of the performer, but unfortunately they do not allow the end users to be able to control expression and reshape timbre to fit their needs in real-time. They do not allow to control the dynamics, vibrato, portamento, color, and any other typical transitions of real acoustic instruments, without introducing artifacts. This is particularly true for solo instruments.
Synthesizers instead allow greater expressiveness, but often at the expense of sound realism.
The purpose of our research was to find a way to overcome these constraints.
This was achieved through the development of an innovative technology that allows musicians to vary dynamically and naturally the sampled sound from the real instruments, but without introducing side effects such as “phasing” “formant shifting”, and so on. In addition, through specific studies that derive directly by analysis of physical models we have implemented algorithms for the simulation of the behavioral interactions of acoustic instruments that normally occur during a real performance, maintaining a timbre realistic and natural.
We called this innovative technology SWAM (Synchronous Wave Acoustic Modeling).
SWAM uses real instruments samples as raw material, chromatically performed by professional musicians on a wide dynamic range. The resulting timbre is therefore the same as the real instrument, but the analogy with samples-based libraries is just that.
The proprietary and patented SWAM technology, using advanced processing techniques, allows you to morph the sound and interpolate it continuously between different “vectors”, such as time, dynamics, pitch, formants, sub-harmonics, overtones, and so on, thus giving the user the opportunity to play under its control the broadest possible range of articulations never reached before, and above all in real-time.
What is a musical instrument that cannot be controlled?
Music without expressiveness is music?
These simple questions led us to an intense research and development work that has as its final goal the production of expressive virtual instruments.
The SWAM Team