Subtractive synthesis/Example of subtractive synthesis

Example of a non-associative algebra

This page presents and discusses an example of a non-associative division algebra over the real numbers.

The multiplication is defined by taking the complex conjugate of the usual multiplication: a*b=overline{ab}. This is a commutative, non-associative division algebra of dimension 2 over the reals, and has no unit element.

Proof that (mathbb{C},*) is a division algebra

For a proof that mathbb{R} is a field, see real number. Then, the complex numbers themselves clearly form a vector space.

It remains to prove that the binary operation given above satisfies the requirements of a division algebra

  • (x + y)z = x z + y z;
  • x(y + z) = x y + x z;
  • (a x)y = a(x y); and
  • x(b y) = b(x y);

for all scalars a and b in mathbb{R} and all vectors x, y, and z (also in mathbb{C}).

For distributivity:


(similarly for right distributivity); and for the third and fourth requirements


Non associativity of (mathbb{C},*)

  • :a * (b * c) = a * overline{b c} = overline{a overline{b c}} = overline{a} b c
  • :(a * b) * c = overline{a b} * c = overline{overline{a b} c} = a b overline{c}

So, if a, b, and c are all non-zero, and if a and c do not differ by a real multiple, a * (b * c) neq (a * b) * c.

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