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SHARC Timbre Database
(My apologies if you receive this more than once due to membership on
This is an announcement for the
SHARC TIMBRE DATABASE
Written and maintained by Gregory J. Sandell
Parmly Hearing Institute, Loyola University
Release 0.921("beta"), May 1995
What is covered in this announcement:
1. What SHARC is, how to download it, where to get documentation
2. CHANGES in web and ftp addresses
3. New interactive plotting and audio features in SHARC's web page
4. Announcement of SHARCLIST, a distributed email list for
updates and discussions of SHARC or timbre research in general.
Note: If you have access to the World Wide Web:
...then you don't need to read this message any further. Connect to:
WHAT IS SHARC?
SHARC is a public domain database of musical timbre information by
Gregory Sandell. It stands for "Sandell Harmonic Archive." People for
whom this dataset may be useful are Acousticians, Psychoacousticians,
researchers in Music Percepion and Cognition, researchers in Digital
Signal Processing, Music Theorists, and Musicologists.
Over 1300 different notes have been analysed. Complete chromatic runs
from the standard playing range of essentially all the non-percussive
instruments of the modern orchestra have been included; for example,
individual analyses of 32 different oboe notes (the chromatic scale
from the pitches a#3 to f6) are available.
For each note, a short portion corresponding to the sustain or "steady
state" portion of the tone was selected and analysed with a Fourier
analysis. Each analysis consists of a list of amplitudes and phases
for all the note's harmonics in the range 0-10,000 Hz.
The source of the musical notes were the orchestral tones from the
McGill University Master Samples (MUMS) Compact Discs. These are
digital recordings of live musical performers.
CHANGES SINCE THE LAST ANNOUNCEMENT
Most importantly, the location of the database has changed from Sussex
University in England to Loyola University in Chicago:
Web URL: http://www.parmly.luc.edu/sandell/sharc/SHARC.homepage.html
Anonymous ftp: ftp://ftp.parmly.luc.edu/pub/sharc
There are now many visualizations and graphic analyses of the
instruments in the database; these are available solely via WWW (see
above for the URL). Currently there are analyses of spectral centroids, for
individual and families of instruments; plots of longterm spectra, which
make it possible to check for evidence of formants; plots of estimated
loudness; and plots of ERB-rate excitation patterns. The most exciting
new feature is the facility for plotting the spectrum for an individual
instrument and note: this constructs a graphic image (in GIF format)
"on-the-fly" which is sent directly to your web browser.
Also available via WWW are soundfiles of individual instruments and
notes. These are 1/2 second steady-state waveforms that are synthesized
from the spectral data, generated "on-the-fly" and sent directly to your
SHARCLIST, DISTRIBUTED EMAIL LIST
A distributed email list called SHARCLIST is available. Please join
this list if you want to hear further announcements about SHARC,
including when there are changes in internet addresses for the Web or
ftp sites. This keeps me from having to annoy people with periodic
postings to USENET groups and distributed email lists. Also, SHARCLIST
can be used for people to ask questions about sharc and hold discussions
about its uses, or timbre research in general.
To join, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and put the
following line in the body of the email message:
"subscribe sharclist name"
supplying your first and last name in place of "name".
Note: the command does not go on the subject line. You can put whatever
you like on the subject line, but the list processor only pays attention
to commands that are in the body of the email message.
Once you are a member, you may post messages to the list, and everyone
will receive those messages. Users can respond to your message, and
others can participate in the dialogue. To post a message, simply send
email to email@example.com.
HOW TO OBTAIN THE DATABASE
The SHARC database itself is available only by ftp. Follow these steps
if you are on a Unix machine; if you are on some other platform, adjust
them as necessary or get a System Administrator to help you.
* Go to the directory where you want to install SHARC. You will need
about 9 free megabytes to perform the installation. Once
finished, the archive will occupy 4.5 megabytes space.
* ftp to ftp.parmly.luc.edu
* Enter user name "anonymous" and give your full email address as a
* Type "ascii" to set the transfer to ascii mode
* Type "get README"
* Type "binary" to set the transfer to binary mode
* Type "get sharc.tar.Z"
* When the file is finished transferring (it is about 0.8 megabytes
large), leave ftp by typing "quit"
* Type "uncompress sharc.tar.Z". The result of this is that
sharc.tar.Z will be replaced by sharc.tar
* Type "tar xf sharc.tar". This will put the archive in a directory
* Dispose of the sharc.tar file (type "rm sharc.tar") to reclaim
about 4.5 megabytes space.
Gregory J. Sandell firstname.lastname@example.org
Parmly Hearing Institute,Loyola University,6525 N. Sheridan Rd
Chicago IL 60626 USA phone: 01-312-508-3976 Fax: 312-508-2719