Commission Music

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Wednesday, 9 April 2008

It's Alive!!

Remember, back in 2004 - 2005 I was working on the SuperCollider tutorial of doom? It was going to be my thesis, but, alas, it was not meant to be.

It turns out that writing tutorial chapters is actually a great way to procrastinate. It sort of feels like I'm working on music, but without actually making any sound (alas, this has a lot in common with certain pieces I'm writing). So the project is alive right now.

If you are interested in alpha-testing these chapters as I write them, please leave a comment. The intended audience is people who have never programmed before (and MAX users). If you have never before used SuperCollider in your life, I have the tutorial for you! Or, if you've tried and become confused. Or if you just want to see a different way of approaching the language.

Alas, most music professors have never taught (or taken) a regular computer science class. My goal is to convey all the important CS concepts, but in a way that's immediately useful to musicians. Hopefully, if you follow the tutorial, at the end you'll not only be able to make some cool sounds in SuperCollider, but you'll be able to quickly grasp other object oriented languages, like Java (which is actually a very useful second language for SC programmers who want to add visual components to their work).

I'm re-writing them to be more sound focussed than last time. I'm starting users with Pbinds, which are a way of handling note creation and timing and are fast and easy despite being kind of weird. So I need n00bs. Pass it on.

5 comments:

Nick said...

Yes, please :)

Roddy Schrock said...

Sounds like an excellent tutorial!

I try to teach SuperCollider to every noobie student I can; once people get their heads around the basic concepts it usually makes sense to them very quickly and more meaningfully than connecting cables in MAX, in my opinion.

Good luck!

Luc Houtkamp said...

Hi Les,

Good work! At the moment the POW Ensemble is Ensemble in Residence at the composition dep. of the KC, and it just strikes me that most of the students and teachers there don't know anything about computer programming. Even those who say they are electronic music composers.

Personally I'm using MAX/MSP, but my background is FORTH programming.
But I'm very aware of the possibilities of data structures in general, which prevents me for the ignorance of most users.

Hope you are doing well!

Les said...

Nick: Check your mail

Roddy: Do you want to alpha test? I'll post again when it's more in a beta stage and again later.

Luc: You're totally right. It used to be the case that most programmers were also musicians. I think data structures and musical structures have a certain similarity. But it's never been the case that most musicians are programmers.

I quit MAX and went to hardware-only synthesis for years because MAX's data structure support is so lame. It's really really great for rapid prototyping. But anything beyond a protype, it just falls to pieces. It's a little expensive for such a limited use.

You might want to check out SuperCollider, especially if you like the features of a real programing language.

But if MAX is working for you, then that's cool too.

Les said...

Luc, just noticed that you're in the composition department. All the programmers at KonCon are in Sonology!