Department - Author 1

Electrical Engineering Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Electrical Engineering



Primary Advisor

Wayne Pilkington


Abstract In the past decade, music electronics have almost completely shifted from analog to digital technology. Digital keyboards and effects provide more sound capabilities than their analog predecessors, while also reducing size and cost. However, many musicians still prefer analog instruments due to the perception that they produce superior sound quality. Many musicians spend extra money and accommodate the extra space required for analog technologies instead of digital.

Furthermore, audio synthesizers are commonly controlled with the standard piano keyboard interface. Many musicians can perform sufficiently on a keyboard, but requiring a specific skill set limits the size of the market for a product. Also, when reproducing instruments such as a violin, a keyboard will not suffice in simulating a controllable vibrato from a fretless fingerboard. There is a need for an interface that allows the user to successfully reproduce the sound of the desired instrument. The violin is just one example of instruments that cannot be completely reproduced on a keyboard. For example, cellos, trombones and slide guitars all have features that a keyboard cannot simulate in real time.

The Analog Violin Synthesizer uses oscillators and analog technology to reproduce the sound of a violin. The user controls the synthesizer with a continuous touch sensor, representing the fretless violin fingerboard. The continuous interface allows for a violin sound played as a standard note, or a warmer sound with adjustable vibrato, based on how the user moves his or her hand. This product provides an innovation and next step to the use of analog technology in sound synthesis. However, as digital technology continues to improve, this product could potentially cross over into digital, with the continued use of the touch interface. Currently, there are products that utilize touch input, however they are often used for sound effects, and atmospheric sounds. Rarely are they used to allow for the digital playability of a synthesized acoustic instrument.