Jacob J. Walker's Blog

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Happy Pi Day! Using Excel as a Music Synthesizer

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As some of my nerd friends know, today is Pi Day. (3.14)  (Of course next year will be the BIG celebration because it will be 3.14.15!)

This year I was talking with my older daughter about how music and Pi are quite related, since all sound are waves, and waves are based on sine waves, and sine waves are based upon Pi…  So I wanted to show her (and also my students) how to create a formula in Excel for a wave, and how to graph it and then convert it to music.

So after much searching, I found a small utility CSV2WAV that can convert numeric data into a Wave file, and I created a quick Excel CSV Wave Generator spreadsheet that creates a sine wave, using pi, that can have a sheet exported as a CSV, which can then be used in the CSV2WAV program.  Some more info about the CSV2WAV converter can be gleaned from this website.

Picture of Excel Synthesizer SpreadsheetIn my search this morning, I also found an Excel spreadsheet that could be used as a Music Synthesizer, which combines various sine waves.  And,  I found that SoX can convert one form of delimited .dat text file to other sound formats, but it is a tad more complex than the CSV2WAV converter, but is cross-platform and does a lot of other stuff.  And for those interested in going the other way, so you can analyze Waves in Excel, there is a utility called wav2txt.

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Written by Jacob Walker

March 14th, 2014 at 9:27 am

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