Karplus Strong Algorithm

Sound Production and Manipulation [SPM]  >  Synthesis and Resynthesis Techniques  >  Physical Modelling  ]

This algorithm is concerned with the emulation of the vibratory behaviour of a plucked string. The work of Kevin Karplus and Alex Strong in string modelling during the late 1970s, further by David Jaffe and Julius Smith at Stanford University, has resulted in a synthesis tool of considerable versatility. The basic acoustic model is simulated in the form of a variable length digital delay line, energised by noise and incorporating a feedback path via an attenuator, coupled to an adjustable low-pass filter which induces resonances akin to those of a vibrating string. Suitable adjustments of these parameters can alter the decay of the string sound from a plucked characteristic to a sustained one, with the possibility of changing pitch not only in discrete steps, but also by means of glissandi, thus introducing powerful facilities for gestural control. Further adjustments allow the percussive characteristics of plucked string sounds to be transformed into a number of drum-like timbres. (Source - Peter Manning (1993). Electronic and Computer Music, Second Edition. Oxford University Press.)



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