John Chowning


John Chowning

John M. Chowning (born 1934 in Salem, New Jersey) is an American musician, inventor, and professor best known for his work at Stanford University and his invention of FM synthesis while there. He is currently nearly deaf due to suffering from tinnitus due to years of listening to high intensity sounds with high energy spectra over headphones.

Contribution

John M. Chowning is known for having discovered the FM synthesis algorithm in 1967. In FM synthesis, also known as frequency modulation, both the carrier frequency and the modulation frequency are within the audio band. In essence, the amplitude and frequency of one waveform modulates the frequency of another waveform producing a resultant waveform that can be periodic or non-periodic depending upon the ratio of the two frequencies.

Chowning's breakthrough allowed for simple yet rich sounding timbres, which synthesized 'metal striking' or 'bell like' sounds, and which seemed incredibly similar to real percussion. (Chowning was also a skilled drummer.) He spent six years turning his breakthrough into a system of musical importance and eventually was able to simulate a large number of musical sounds, including the singing voice. In 1973 Stanford University licensed the discovery to Yamaha in Japan, with whom Chowning worked in developing a family of synthesizers and electronic organs. This patent was Stanford's most lucrative patent at one time, eclipsing many in electronics, computer science, and biotechnology.

The first product to incorporate the FM algorithm was Yamaha's GS1, a digital synthesizer that first shipped in 1981. Some thought it too expensive at the time, Chowning included. Soon after, in 1983, Yamaha made their first commercially successful digital FM synthesizer, the DX7.

Early life

John Chowning graduated from [http://www.wittenberg.edu/music/ Wittenberg University] with a Bachelor of Music in 1959. He studied music composition for three years with Nadia Boulanger in Paris and received his doctorate (DMA) from Stanford in 1966. He was the founding director in 1975 of the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford University.

Chowning also worked for a number of years at IRCAM, in Paris.

Famous compositions

One of Chowning's most famous pieces is called "Stria" (1977). It was commissioned by IRCAM for the Institute's first major concert series called "Perspectives of the 20th Century". His composition was noted for its inharmonic sounds due to his famous FM algorithm and his use of the Golden Mean (1.618...) in music.

Other famous compositions include "Turenas" (1972), which was one of the first electronic compositions to have the illusion of sounds moving in a 360-degree space. " [http://wc09.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:difwxqlhldfe] " With "Phoné" (1980-1981), he became the first to put FM over voice synthesis " [http://musicweb.koncon.nl/ircam/en/artificial/phone.html] ."

Compositions

* "Sabelithe", 1966, revised 1971
* "Turenas", 1972
* "Stria", 1977
* "Phoné", 1980-1981
* "Voices", 2005

ee also

* (audio)
* [http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Chowning Chowning on Wikipedia-french]

External links

* [http://edocs.tu-berlin.de/diss/2001/zelli_bijan.htm Click here to See an Analysis of John Chowning's Composition "Turenas" by Bijan Zelli]


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