Limitators: Creative Limitations Challenge 1

The humble sine wave      24/06/13

Ian Afflec begins his journey to explore creative limitations with the challenge of creating a piece of music using limitations:

You wake up onboard a strange alien spaceship. Aside from the gentle hum of the ship's engines and a curious device which occasionally omits a short beep, the atmosphere is eerily still. As you look around, you realize there appears to be no sign of life or an obvious means of escape. Being the inquisitive creature you are, you sit down next to the device and begin playing with the controls. Upon closer inspection you realize that the device is in fact the remains of a circuit-bent Casio SK-1! The choice of sample for the absent crew members?

A humble sine wave, it sounds like this:

It is the simplest and most pure form of sound known to man.

In fact, the very nature of sound itself is comprised entirely of lots of sine waves all pulsating away; they are the building block of all sound in the universe!


They're also not particularly interesting to listen to either.

You quietly contemplate your existence, and begin making music with the "device".

The rules for this episode are:

  • Sine waves as the initial sound source
  • No micro samples allowed - ie. zooming in and sampling a single duty cycle
  • Basic FM is allowed - You can modulate the pitch of a sine (but No dedicated FM synths).
  • Effects are allowed but only to give the sounds some flavour - ie. you can't use the feedback of a delay unit to generate sound. [I broke this one, oops]
  • Re-sampling is allowed
  • Time stretching, pitch shifting, reversing is allowed

Here's How I Ctreated My Tune:


I think I'll start things off with a kick, why not. I created a synth in Reason and applied a simple pitch envelope to a sine wave.

Not bad, but I think it needs a little more "Pop" so I'll try adding in another oscillator set to a few octaves above.

This sounds pretty rubbish, how about a 5th above instead. Hey, that sounds pretty cool; nothing like a kick but it may work for the bass.



Kick – attempt #2

Ok, so I was close... but then I messed it up and made a bass. Let's try again

I'll bring up another sine wave and pitch it all the way down.

Add a bit more pitch envelope than last time

Speed up the envelope, there we go!

Click Here: Next Page

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