Additive synthesis



Additive synthesis is a process of adding sine waves together to create a new sound.

Mixing is a generic term for adding sounds together to create a new sound. Additive synthesis is a form of mixing in which only sine waves are added together.

The only requirement for additive synthesis is a sine wave. The only thing that is needed is a computer, because this is the only instrument that can generate a single sine wave.

Writing additive synthesis is simple: add as many sine waves together as you like to create a new sound.

The following chapters look in turn at four common and popular waveforms created with additive synthesis:

  1. Saw wave.
  2. Triangle wave.
  3. Pulse wave.
  4. Square wave.

These waveforms are used to create sound effects, and to create synths for writing melody and harmony. The synth instruments have no equivalent in real life and provide an interesting alternative to the piano and the guitar and other musical instruments.