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Painting Sound with ARSS and Gimp

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As I was working on a sound track project for a science-fiction film I’ve been working on, I remembered reading an article in Free Software Magazine, by Gianluca Pignalberi, in which he described filtering using Gimp and a command-line program then called “ARSE” (version 0.1). The program is now called “The Analysis & Resynthesis Sound Spectrograph” (“ARSS”, now version 0.2.3). Combined with an image editor of your choice (I also chose Gimp), it also turns out to be a very interesting way to make original sound effects — by painting the sound spectrum.

Getting ARSS

The arss utility itself is free software, and is available from its website. When you visit, you’ll probably notice the text saying that ARSS is “superseded” by a GUI application called “Photosounder.” Well, I’m sure it’s a nice program, but it’s non-free “demo-ware” and is only available as a Windows binary. Given that it doesn’t really provide much extra functionality beyond what I can do with Gimp and ARSS, I’ll stick with the free software stuff.

I was not able to find a Debian package for ARSS, but this wasn’t too much of a problem. The program is available for download in both source code and a fairly generic Linux binary. It has few dependencies, and the binary is a statically linked single file, so it’s particularly easy to install.

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