I hope the Year of the Sheep will bring us all prosperity. In this crowd, I'm sure it will, because our free software wealth will increase and never decrease.
Back when I was in high school, my friend Harry played a sustained piano chord at the end of an improvisation which, as it slowly decayed, gave way to an incredibly rich tapestry of beat frequencies. When I tried much later to reproduce this sort of sound, I realized that it must have been a unique artifact of the imperfect tuning of that particular piano -- I was never able to coax a well-tuned instrument to weave such a complex fabric.
The memory that fateful chord planted a seed in my mind which grew into the idea that an entire composition could be made of changing timbres; beat frequencies syncopated through clever synthesis techniques could effectively be rhythm and melody.
I've finally gotten around to following up on this a bit, and I'm looking at various sound synthesis packages. I had played with it a little before in CSound but I ended up writing perl to generate the complex .orc files I wanted to experiment with. It was just too clunky; not the right tool for my job.
So, I've been poking around the Linux Sound Pages looking at other synthesis packages to see if I can find anything more suited to my purposes.
I was quite impressed with the sound samples and web page for Tao but the latest version is labled 1.0-beta-30Apr2000 and sadly won't compile on my Debian "sid" box. I'm guessing this is due to some differences in g++ 3.x, but it errors out on a .yy file.
I wrote the author to see if he was still active with it, but have yet to receive a response. I guess the next thing to do is to make it work and send him a patch.
There are some other programs I'm looking at, but I've blathered on enough already.
If anyone has a suggestion about a sound synthesis program I should investigate, I'd be interested to hear it.