Generating Sounds

Generating Sounds

Using electrical technology, it is possible for us to synthesise new sounds.

Types of Generated Sound

Electrical devices produce three main types of generated sound.

1. Pitched Tones

Steady (pitched) signals are produced by electrical components, called oscillators. These sounds have a clear pitch and duration.

Triangle Wave Tone

A generated sound with a clear pitch.

Different types of oscillators produce different types of pitched sounds. These are explored in Basic Soundwaves.

2. Noise Sounds

Noise sounds are the opposite of pitched tones, they have no steady waveform and are highly randomised. Their sounds are spread across the spectrum.


This is a clip of white noise. It is very intense because the whole frequency range (from very low to very high) is saturated.

3. Impulse Clicks

Very short sounds which make a click sound. Their envelope will dictate how sharp or smooth they sound, but they often sound like noisy clicks.

An individual click sound.

Impulse Click Sounds

A very short generated sound.

Controlling the New Sounds

By changing the input controls on an oscillator, it is possible to change the pitch (frequency) and amplitude (loudness) of these sounds. Individual waves can be added together to create more complex waveforms.

The three sound types of pitched tones, noise sounds, and impulse clicks can be thought of as extreme types of generated sound. Many other sounds exist between these extreme points as a mixture of all three sound types.

The Elektronische Musik (Electronic Music), created in the Cologne studios, used mainly electronically produced sounds.


Some manipulations also use these type of waves as a signal to control the parameters of an effect over time (for example: a Low Frequency Oscillator).


Abstract SoundsElectronic MusicElektronische MusikLFO (Low Frequency Oscillator)OscillatorSine Wave

Lesson Content