SSP – Sound Synthesis Program

The SSP Sound Synthesis Program was written shortly after the Institute of Sonology at Utrecht University obtained its own computer, in 1971. It was designed to aid the experimental exploration of a concept that exceeded the possibilities of electronic music produced in analog studios: the representation of sound as a sequence of amplitudes in time. It seemed an attractive proposition to make use of the methods of aleatoric and groupwise selection of elements employed in “Project 1” and “Project 2” for the purpose of filling the space between stationary and noise-like sounds. This approach is not based on an acoustic model (on imitating familiar sounds), but must rely on the empirical finding of previously unknown sounds by systematically permutating the elements of an initial situation. Since the initial positions can be catalogued, the assumption was that a systematic description of the resulting sound would also be feasible.

The SSP user defines two lists, one for amplitude values, the other for time values. Selection methods (see Project 2) are used to choose these amplitude and time values from the list and combine them into any desired number of “sound segments”.

Another selection is made to link the sound segments and play them.

For more details see J.D. Banks, P. Berg, R. Rowe, D. Theriault, SSP. A Bi-Parametric Approach to Sound Synthesis, Institute of Sonology, Utrecht (now The Hague) 1979.

In February 1983 Robert Rowe wrote a new version of the program in Turbo Pascal, replacing the first version’s DA converter by a DMX-1000.