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Digital Hymnal - Hymnal terms
Category: Music and Sound > Digital music
Date & country: 24/10/2013, USA
Words: 237


sustain
The third of the four segments in an ADSR envelope. The sustain portion of the envelope begins when the attack and decay portions have run their course, and continues until the key is released. The sustain control is used to determine the level at which the envelope will remain. While the attack, decay, and release controls are rate or time controls, the sustain control is a level control.

sustain pedal
The electronic equivalent of a piano's damper pedal. In most synthesizers, the sustain pedal latches the envelopes of any currently playing or subsequently played notes at their sustain levels, even if the keys are lifted.

sync
Synchronization. Two devices are said to be in sync when they are locked together with respect to time, so that the events generated by each of them will always fall into predicable time relationships.

sync track
A timing reference signal recorded onto tape. See SMPTE time code, FSK.

synthesizer
A musical instrument that generates sound electronically and is designed according to certain principles developed by Robert Moog and others in the 1960s. A synthesizer is distinguished from an electronic piano or electronic organ by the fact that its sounds can be programmed by the user, and from a sampler by the fact that the sampler allows the user to make digital recordings of external sound sources.

system real-time
A type of MIDI data that is used for timing reference. Because of its timing-critical nature, a system real-time byte can be inserted into the middle of any multi-byte MIDI message. System real-time messages include MIDI clock, start, stop, continue, active sensing, and system reset.

system-common
A type of MIDI data used to control certain aspects of the operation of the entire MIDI system. System-common messages include song position pointer, song select, tune request, and end-of-system-exclusive.

system-exclusive (sys-ex)
A type of MIDI data that allows messages to be sent over a MIDI cable that will be responded to only by devices of a specific type. Sys-ex data is used most commonly for sending patch parameter data to and from an editor/librarian program.

THD
Total harmonic distortion. An audio measurement specification used to determine the accuracy with which a device can reproduce an input signal at its output. THD describes the cumulative level of the harmonic overtones that the device being tested adds to an input sine wave. THD+n is a specification that includes both harmonic distortion of the sine wave and nonharmonic noise.

time code
A type of signal that contains information about location in time. Used for a synchronization reference when synchronizing two or more machines such as sequencers, drum machines, and tape decks.

touch-sensitive
Equipped with a sensing mechanism that responds to variations in key velocity or pressure by sending out a corresponding control signal. See velocity, aftertouch.

track
Verb

transient
Any of the non-sustaining, non-periodic frequency components of a sound, usually of brief duration and higher amplitude than the sustaining components, and occurring near the onset of the sound (attack transients).

tremolo
A periodic change in amplitude, usually controlled by an LFO, with a periodicity of less than 20Hz. Compare with vibrato.

upload
to transfer a file from a computer to an electronic bulletin board (BBS), usually via modem. See download.

VCA
Voltage-controlled amplifier. A device that responds to a change in voltage at its control input by altering the gain of a signal being passed through it. Also, the digital equivalent of a VCA.

VCF
Voltage-controlled filter. A filter whose cutoff frequency can be changed by altering the amount of voltage being sent to its control input. Also, the digital equivalent of a VCF.

VCO
Voltage-controlled oscillator. An oscillator whose frequency can be changed by altering the amount of voltage being sent to its control input.

velocity
A type of MIDI data (range 1 to 127) usually used to indicate how quickly a key was pushed down (attack velocity) or allowed to rise (release velocity). Note

velocity curve
A map that translates incoming velocity values into other velocities in order to alter the feel or response of a keyboard or tone module.

velocity sensitivity
A type of touch sensitivity in which the keyboard measures how fast each key is descending. Compare with pressure sensitivity.

vibrato
A periodic change in frequency, often controlled by an LFO, with a periodicity of less than 20Hz. Compare with tremolo.

virtual
Existing only in software.

VOC
A file extension specifying the Creative Labs Sound Blaster audio format. Typically encountered as FILENAME.VOC.

voice
(1) An element of synthesizer circuitry capable of producing a note. The polyphonic capability of a synthesizer is defined by how many voices it has. See polyphony. (2) In Yamaha synthesizers, a patch (sound).

voice channel
A signal path containing (at a minimum) an oscillator and VCA or their digital equivalent, and capable of producing a note. On a typical synthesizer, two or more voice channels, each with its own waveform and parameter settings, can be combined to form a single note.

voice stealing
A process in which a synthesizer that is being required to play more notes than it has available voices switches off some currently sounding voices (typically those that have been sounding longest or are at the lowest amplitude) in order to assign them to play new notes.

waveform
A signal, either sampled (digitally recorded) or periodic, being generated by an oscillator. Also, the graphic representation of this signal, as on a computer screen. Each waveform has its own unique harmonic content. See oscillator.

waveshape
See waveform.

wavetable lookup
The process of reading the numbers in a wavetable (not necessarily in linear order from beginning to end) and sending them to a voice channel.

wavetable synthesis
A common method for generating sound electronically on a synthesizer or PC. Output is produced using a table of sound samples--actual recorded sounds--that are digitized and played back as needed. By continuously rereading samples and looping them together at different pitches, highly complex tones can be generated from a minimum of stored data without overtaxing the processor.

wet
Consisting entirely of processed sound. The output of an effects device is 100% wet when only the output of the processor itself is being heard, with none of the dry (unprocessed) signal. Compare with dry.

wheel
A controller, normally mounted at the left end of the keyboard and played with the left hand, that is used for pitch-bending or modulation.

word
A single number (sample word) that represents the instantaneous amplitude of a sampled sound at a particular moment in time. In 8-bit recording, a sample word contains one byte; in 16-bit recording, each word is a two-byte number.

workstation
A synthesizer or sampler in which several of the tasks usually associated with electronic music production, such as sequencing, effects processing, rhythm programming, and data storage on disk, can all be performed by components found within a single physical device.

zero crossing
A point at which a digitally encoded waveform crosses the center of its amplitude range.

zone
A contiguous set of keys on the keyboard. Typically, a single sound or MIDI channel is assigned to a given zone.