Notes from a Linguistic Mystic

Just a quick note: My absolute favorite phonetics instruction software is sndpeek by Princeton Sound Lab, a real time Fast Fourier Transform and Waveform display program. Unfortunately, because Apple deprecated a bunch of old audio methods, it was broken with the update to Lion. However, some kind soul has updated the software to be Lion compatible, and it’s back to working like a charm. To download it, visit the sndpeek website and click on the “mac (mac osx lion) binary”.

To install, download the tgz file (the below code assumes you’ve downloaded it to the desktop), double click it to expand, then open a terminal and type:

cd ~/Desktop/sndpeek-1.3-exe

(then hit “enter”)

sudo cp bin/sndpeek /bin/

Once you hit enter after typing the above command, OS X will then ask for your OS X administrator password (to copy the file deep into the filesystem), and once you’ve done that, at any point in the future, you’ll be able to just type “sndpeek” into a terminal and it’ll pop up a window displaying whatever sound source is selected in your Sound input preference pane. I usually give a more complex command to produce a prettier output, sndpeek --logfactor:0.5 --lissajous:OFF --features:OFF --depth:150

I encourage you to play with the software as there are few better tools to help understand what a spectral slice is, how it works, and how spectrograms can be made. Enjoy!

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