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Chowning, John

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John Chowning (1934-) is a composer and electronic music researcher, best known for his development of the frequency modulation method of synthesis, and of the patented FM algorithm which Yamaha used to develop its DX-7 FM synth. In 1973, while working for Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Chowning received a patent (which was assigned to Stanford) for the algorithm, which the university then licensed to Yamaha. (Contrary to some versions of the story, Chowning was never actually in the employ of Yamaha.) The algorithm, which simulates FM using phase modulation with certain limitations, required fewer CPU cycles to compute, making it practical to implement with early 1980s microprocessors.

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