The Origins and Development of SNDAN

SNDAN is an outgrowth of work that I did as early as 1966, when I gave my first paper at the AES on music sound analysis. Then  I co-edited a book entitled "Music by Computers" in 1969 which contained a chapter by me on sound analysis/synthesis using main frames. I continued to use main frames for analysis/synthesis and small off-line computers for A/D and D/A until we first set up the Computer Music Project here in 1984-85. Back in the mainframe days, the analysis/synthesis package was called TONEAN and it was written in FORTRAN. Rob Maher arrived in 1985 to work on a doctorate in electrical & computer engineering, which dovetailed very nicely with the arrival of our first desktop Unix computers. I held a course for musically-inclined engineers and programmers in 1985, and out of that came several very useful products, all written in C, which we are still using, including Music 4C and g_raph, our graphics package. In the meantime, as part of his doctorate, Rob wrote the MQ and PV software, which, in a certain sense, is the most important part of SNDAN. (Rob left in 1989, and I still miss him, as he was probably the best assistant I ever had.) I wrote most of the stuff in add_syn, sig, and view_an (where monan resides). George Chaltas wrote g_raph in 1985 for the Tektronix protocol. Camille Goudeseune and I ported g_raph for EPS, and in 1996-97, Tim Madden extended the graphics considerably for the 3D ('pp') and 2D ('ftc') spectrum graphs, including the use of color to differentiate harmonics (3D) and to indicated intensity (2D). During 1991-93 Andrew Horner wrote several programs for sound analysis/synthesis based on PV output, most notably using the method of the Genetic Algorithm. Music 4C instruments for Spectral Dynamic Synthesis (Beauchamp and Horner) and, very recently, for Piano Wavetable Synthesis (Zheng Hua) have been developed based on analysis using SNDAN.

As of this writing, 318 people have down-loaded SNDAN. Some people have used it for their academic theses. For example, Rebekah Brown at Indiana University used it for her doctoral thesis on intonation of violin performances in 1996 and John Hajda used it for his Ph. D. dissertation on musical instrument timbre in 1999. Jochim Krimphoff used it for his masters thesis on instrument timbre at IRCAM(Paris) in 1994, and it has been used by others in Stephen McAdams' Music Perception/Cognition group at IRCAM since then. It is also being used extensively by Andrew Horner at HKUST  for sound analysis/synthesis projects which have been documented by many publications by him and other authors in JAES and CMJ since 1993.

Two GUI versions of SNDAN have been written, both at UIUC. AnView was written for the black NeXT environment by Chris Gennaula and Camille Goudeseune in 1992-93. Armadillo was written for the MacOS/PPC environment in 1998-99. Instructions for obtaining these can be accessed via my web page at These are not 1-to-1 implementations. They lack many things that SNDAN has, and they do some things that SNDAN doesn't do. Needless to say, for the unitiated user, they are a lot easier to use than SNDAN is.

James Beauchamp
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
21st January 2000

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