SuperCollider Granular Example

The TGrains UGen is an easy to use granular synth. It uses a Hanning window for each grain and offers control over position, pitch and length of the grains. The help files offer multiple examples for using this unit generator. The following example uses a simple pulse train for triggering grains.

Reading Channels

A single channel is loaded to a buffer from a sample for this granular example. The duration in seconds can be queried from the buffer object, once loaded.

~buffer = Buffer.readChannel(s,"/some/wavefile.wav",channels:0);


The Granular Node

The granular node uses an Impulse UGen to create a trigger signal for the TGrains UGen. This node has several arguments to control the granular process:

  • The density defines how often a grain is triggered per second.

  • Every grain can be pitch shifted by a value (1 = default rate).

  • The grain duration is specified in seconds.

  • The grain center is defined in seconds.

  • A gain parameter can be used for amplification.

  • buffer specifies the index of the buffer to be used.

Once the node has been created with a nil buffer, the buffer index of the previously loaded sample can be passed. Depending on the nature of the sample, this can already result in something audible:

~grains =
    density = 1,
    pitch   = 1,
    dur     = 0.1,
    center  = 0,
    gain    = 1,
    buffer  = nil

    var trigger =;,   gain *, trigger, buffer, pitch, center, dur));



Manual Parameter Setting

As with any node, the arguments of the granular process can be set, manually. Since the center is specified in seconds, the buffer duration is useful at this point.



Exercise I

Use the mouse with buses for a fluid control of granular parameters.

Exercise II

Use envelopes for an automatic control of the granular parameters.