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T.H.D.": - Acronym of Total Harmonic Distortion (see also Harmonic(s)).

Take Up Reel: - see Supply Reel / Take Up Reel.

Talkback: - System in a recording studio which enables communication between producers / engineers and musicians when they are working concurrently in different rooms.

TAPE HEAD: The part of a tape machine that transfers magnetic energy to the tape during recording, or reads it during playback.

Taper: A digital signal processing function that fades a sound in or out between two points. Tapering permanently modifies a sound.

Temp Track: Use of pre-existing music from films or records in place of the specifically written score. Used by directors in shooting, editing, giving the composer direction or for pre-release screenings. Unfortunately, people get attached to temp tracks after hearing them a number of times, which can limit the composer who is going to replace them.

TEMPO - the rate of speed at which a musical composition proceeds. Usually uses a quarter note as the timing reference. The rate of the 'beat' of a piece of music measured in beats per minute.

Terminating Resistors: Also called a terminator. A group of resistors that should be placed on the SCSI cable before the last device on a SCSI chain. Usually the terminating resistor is built inside the SCSI device. There should be no more than two terminators in a SCSI chain: one at the start, built into the EIII, and one at the end.

TEST TONE: steady, fixed level tone recorded onto a multitrack or stereo recording to act as a reference when matching levels.

THD: Total Harmonic Distortion.

TRIPS - The Trade Related Intellectual Property Agreements (TRIPS): The Trade Related Intellectual Property Agreements -- or the intellectual property rules of the GATT agreement -- is the consensus reached by most of the countries of the world that establishes necessary legal protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights on a global basis.

THRU: MIDI connector which passes on the signal received at the MIDI in socket.

Timbre - the characteristics that differentiate one instrument, voice or sound from another. It can be thought of as the texture or characteristics that define a sound. Notes of the same pitch and volume may have a different timbre. In electronic music, timbre sometimes refers to a synthesizer voice or patch (see Multitimbral). the property of a sound that distinguishes it from all other. Tone color. The quality of a sound determined by its partial structure, that is the relative frequencies and amplitudes of the various sinewaves which collectively make up that particular sound. It is more or less synonymous with "tone". It is this quality which allows you to distinguish between a flute and an oboe playing the same pitch at the same volume.

Time Variant Amplifier - alters the volume of an audio signal over a period of time, often based on an envelope. - alters the brightness, thickness and other aspects of an audio signal over a period of time using filters, often based on an envelope.

Time Variant Pitch - alters the pitch of an audio signal over a period of time, often based on an envelope.

Tone Generator: This is essentially a synthesizer without a keyboard. A keyboard-less device which outputs audio signals in response to MIDI commands. Both the Edirol SD-20 and the SD-80 are tone generators. A synthesizer without a piano keyboard. Since Midi allows one keyboard to literally play another, there is little reason to acquire more piano keyboards when wanting to expand your palette of sound choices. Buying tone modules is usually a bit cheaper than the keyboard version, and saves valuable space.


Track: In audio software, tracks generally contain one audio layer or audio file; there is multi-track software or stereo (2 track) audio software. With MIDI sequencing, tracks are nothing more than an organizing tool commonly confused with MIDI Channels which are necessary for delineating different instruments. Although only one MIDI channel can be used at a time, many tracks can be assigned to this same MIDI channel. This is particularly useful when parts come in or fade out as these tracks can then be easily muted or soloed. Most sequencers allow an unlimited number of tracks within each song. Sequencers borrowed this term from multi-track recording studios, referring to tape tracks. A track is one of a number of locations where a musical part can be recorded and played back. A typical software sequencer has 16-128 tracks.

track-at-once (TAO) - this burning process can write tracks individually, up to 99 total. Automatically places 2 second gaps between tracks.

TRACKING: The system whereby one device follows another. Tracking is often discussed in the context of MIDI guitar synthesizers or controllers where the MIDI output attempts to track the pitch of the guitar strings.

Transducer: - In audio, any device which converts an electrical signal into soudwaves (eg a loudspeaker); or any device which converts soundwaves into an electrical signal (eg a microphone). A device for converting one form of energy to another. A microphone is a good example of a transducer as it converts mechanical energy to electrical energy.

Transformer: - (AC) Electrical device which has the ability to incease the voltage of an AC electrical current (step up transformer) , or decrease the voltage (step down transformer) through the process of "magnetic coupling". There are also "Isolating" transformers (which result in no change in voltage), and a "Step Across" transformers (ditto). A transformer is usually constructed by coiling two or more lengths of isolated (conductive, usually copper) wire around a magnetic core. It is the amount of "windings" of each around the core that gives the tranformed voltage value of the current. In a step-up transformer, the second coil (which determines the voltage of the output) will have more turns than the first coil. In a step-down transformer, the second coil will have fewer turns.

Transient: Usually the brief initial (or attack) portion of a waveform. Transients provide important cues that help our ears recognize sounds, but they are often difficult for an audio system to reproduce because of their high amplitudes and short rise times.

Transistor: - The foundation of modern electronics. The transistor (c/f "transresistance") was invented and developed by John Bardeen, Willian Hauser Brittain and William Shockley in the late 1940's at Bell Labs (the first "point contact" tranny was patented by Bardeen and Brittain in 1947). It has three terminals, and is basically a switching device, which can also be used as an amplifier. It can alternate between two states by using it's ability to act as either a conductor (on), or an insulator (off). When a positive current is applied, then it will be conductive, when a negative current is applied, it will be a non-conductive insulator. Transistors in Analogue circuits and transistors in digital circuits ... In analogue circuits (eg audio amplifiers, radios etc) the transistor is used primarily as a device for amplification, and in digital circuits (eg microprocessors, chips etc) they are used primarily as switching devices, switching between being a conductor and an insulator.

Translator: Software such as Chicken System’s Translator that allows conversion between professional sampler formats such as Akai.

TRANSPARENCY: Subjective term used to describe audio quality where the high frequency detail is clear and individual sounds are easy to identify and separate. This is a listening term used to describe audio quality where the high frequency detail is clear and individual sounds are easy to identify and separate. The more transparent a sound is… the clearer the auditory picture.

Transpose: This allows a musical composition to be played in a different key. Both synthesizers and sequencers can carry out this function. To shift a musical signal by a fixed number of semitones.

TREMELO -a rapid alternation of two tones. Usually a third apart. On a synthesizer, this effect can usually be controlled by the modulation wheel or modulation amount. A cyclic change in amplitude, usually in the range of 7 to 14 Hz. Usually achieved by routing a LFO (low frequency oscillator) to a VCA (voltage controlled amplifier).

Triangle Wave A geometrical waveform typically generated by an oscillator. It is triangular in shape and comprises the same sequence of only odd numbered (1, 3, 5, 7, etc.) harmonic partials as the square wave, but as the amplitude of each harmonic is the reciprocal of the square of the harmonic number (i.e. the 3rd. harmonic is a 9th. the amplitude of the 1st.), the sound is much weaker or more mellow. See also Pulse Wave, Ramp Wave, Sine Wave, Square Wave.

Trim: - Controls the level of input on a mixing desk.

TRS JACK: Stereo type jack with Tip, Ring and Sleeve connections.

Truncation: When manipulating a sample, truncation shortens a sample's length by trimming off parts of the beginning and/or end.

TRUSS ROD: A metal bar within a guitar neck which is tensioned so as to counteract the tendency for the neck to bend under the tension of the strings.

Tuning: 440 Hertz is the normal Western tuning value however, this can be easily be adjusted in a synthesizer to suit the type of music being performed. The pitch can be altered by raising or lowering the value as plus or minus cents. Playing non-Western music may dictate the need to adjust the tuning of a synth.

TVA - see Time Variant Amplifier.

TVF - see Time Variant Filter.

Tweeter: This is the smaller speaker within a speaker cabinet used to reproduce the higher range of frequencies. To form a full-range system, a tweeter needs to be combined with a woofer, (2-way system), or a woofer and midrange, (3-way system). The Edirol MA-20 desktop speakers have a 1” tweeter and a 4-3/4” woofer.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III