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  Tuesday, 14 June 2022
  5 Replies
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I've noticed that the instruments in the synth section of patches (~80-103/synth leads through synth effects) have kinda meaningless names, and also seem to vary in sound between soundfonts, so I wanted to ask:
Do any of the patches have a specific thing they should sound like?

All of the other patches in GM are either based off of instruments or real sounds, and things like "square", "sawtooth", and "warm pad" are self explanatory, but some like "sci-fi" and "goblins" don't really make sense to me.

Is each one supposed to sound a specific way?

Is there an original GM soundfont that lays out how the weirdly named ones should sound?

Are they based on famous synth patches?

Are they just outdated names that made sense when GM was invented?

I have attached a list of the patches in the 3 "synth sections" to refer to.

I'm asking party cause I'm curious, and partly because I wanna make my own GM soundfont.
2 weeks ago
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#14842
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An interesting question.

The GM standards document has this to say:

GM Sound Definitions
General MIDI does not recommend any particular method of synthesis or playback. Each
manufacturer should be free to express their own ideas and personal aesthetics when it comes
to picking the exact timbres for each preset. In particular, the names in parentheses after
each of the synth leads, pads, and sound effects are intended as guides.


It goes on to say this:

Therefore, to promote consistency in song playback across a range of sound modules, a set of
guidelines for General MIDI Score authors and Instrument manufacturers will be produced.


There are GM DeveIoper Guidelines but I don't ever recall an exact definition of what the sounds should be like.

I suspect, as you say, that there were several synths at the time of GM that made use of those or very similar names which could provide a guide.

JohnG
2 weeks ago
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#14843
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Regarding OP's questions, you might find this article of interest:

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/exploring-exotic-instruments-gmxggs-sound-sets

This discusses some of the backgound to the GM sound set, and might answer some of your questions.

Makes a bit of 'fun' about the 'Goblins' sound. Sounds like that, where they come from, where the name comes from, may be lost in history by now?

Geoff
2 weeks ago
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#14845
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Doing some digging re Goblins.

One possible source of a name for a unique (?) sound might be the name of whoever created/developed the original sound.

I note that back in the 1970s, there was an Italian synth band called Goblin. Seems they did a few film scores, and other works, using various early Synth instruments. Maybe they had one or more 'signature' sounds, maybe one of those influenced the GM sound, with the group's name attached? As good a reason as any??

Geoff
2 weeks ago
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#14848
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Trouble with the SoS article you refer to Geoff, is that it tells one almost nothing about the group of synth sounds Marie is asking about, much like the GM Developer Guidelines.

The origins of the GM synth sounds are still somewhat of a mystery.

I wonder if there's anyone at the MMA who remembers how they were chosen way back in the late eighties?

JohnG
5 days ago
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#14950
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Thanks for all the replies. I'm not surprised nobody else has any clue of the origins. Maybe I could attempt contacting some of the original developers of GM (provided they're still around). It'd be interesting to see the basis for the names (I doubt they were chosen at random).
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