[microsound] recreating electronic music

Al Matthews prolepsis at gmail.com
Mon Apr 11 15:17:25 EDT 2011

As re: live visuals it's perhaps worth noting here that SuperCollider
appears to be making, and MAX already has made, inroads with the Field
project http://openendedgroup.com/field/

The environment is graphics-oriented but also a useful way to create
GUIs, http://openendedgroup.com/field/wiki/EmbeddingGui and certainly
to create visualizations.

It does suck up some CPU. Recently ported to Ubuntu Linux after
starting life deep in more proprietary OSX toolchains.

The SuperCollider or ScalaCollider effort could use some help and
interest I think.

Not an afternoon's undertaking but, you know, what is. -Al

On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 1:17 PM, David Powers <cyborgk at gmail.com> wrote:
> What you are saying makes sense... I actually used PD mostly for
> either visuals, or to process midi received from me playing a keyboard
> and controllers with knobs and faders, and then send MIDI or OSC
> events into some host that contains either some modular setup or a
> bunch of VST's and sampled instruments... It worked great for those
> applications.
> So I have to admit that I wasn't actually doing much in the way of
> proper synthesis, not was the user interface much of an issue for the
> things I was creating. But I certainly can't think of any way I could
> have created the visuals except with Max+Jitter which is quite
> expensive as has been pointed out. For doing straight DSP I do think
> PD can be a bit cumbersome.
> ~David
> On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 12:00 PM, isjtar <list at isjtar.org> wrote:
>> I used to be pretty heavily into max-msp, sorta made a living with it.
>> I ditched it, because I found it cumbersome for some things, same as PD really and the closed nature also annoyed me.
>> For ease of use and combining media it's really good. People make crappy patches in PD as well and you can program in good or bad ways in any environment, I don't think PD has any basic objects Max doesn't have, a couple are slightly different. What I dislike it for is the combination of a horrible interface (in a graphical environment that just doesn't make sense) the obscurity of docs (which have come a long way) and external libraries.
>> Now I do SuperCollider and it kicks the pants off both of those for sound work, sucks for hand-built interfaces though and the learning curve is steep...
>> to get back on topic, I made a piece for 15 SE/30's, running Max 3.5 on system 6 or 7. Cycling only gave us 2 (!) licenses after a friend of David Z contacted them for us, they didn't want to at first.
>> In the end we're very happy with that and with the runtime we still got up on the old machines, but clearly this sort of thing is a problem for a project of this nature.
>> On 11 Apr 2011, at 18:37, David Powers wrote:
>>> Can I inquire as to what would give you such strong feelings on PD?
>>> I wouldn't suggest it for everything, but it can really do amazing
>>> things and as a dataflow language it is far superior to Max/MSP due to
>>> the fact that it allows for a much more logical programming style
>>> where Max/MSP has many objects that behave in bizarre ways, leading to
>>> people creating really messy / nonsensical patches.
>>> ~David
>>> On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 8:15 AM, isjtar <list at isjtar.org> wrote:
>>>> i agree, I dislike pd with a passion, but such a project has all the reasons to be written in free software.
>>>> why not do it in SuperCollider?
>>>> On 11 Apr 2011, at 03:37, Justin Glenn Smith wrote:
>>>>> I think it is salient here that pd was written by the very same Miller S. Puckett that the MSP part of Max/MSP is named after. And it was made in a large part for this very reason of being able to preserve tools and techniques of creating electronic music for posterity. Implementing your work in a closed and proprietary platform is embedding a self destruct mechanism into your work. It isn't guaranteed to go off, but historically it pretty much always has.
>>>>> If you don't care about history or preservation of artistic work then why are you even trying to recreate things from the past?
>>>>> Michal Seta wrote:
>>>>>> On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 6:12 PM, Samuel van ransbeeck <thinksamuel at yahoo.com
>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>> Hello Michal
>>>>>>> interesting point you raise there. I have thought of using PD personally
>>>>>>> but always I think: what about support? I know PD has a large user-base but
>>>>>>> still I think that Max is superior;
>>>>>> *
>>>>>> *
>>>>>> *Superior* is a very strong word...  let's see...
>>>>>>> Why? 1) A large user base as well
>>>>>> Ok, so Pd is equal in superiority,
>>>>>>> 2) You buy a pretty expensive product, so you are entitled a good
>>>>>>> functioning program.
>>>>>> Have you ever read the MaxMSP license agreement?  By using the software you
>>>>>> agree to use it "as is".  No one can guarantee good functioning of a
>>>>>> software (and in my experience, MaxMSP has its flaws and bugs, enough to
>>>>>> look up the updates change logs).
>>>>>>> Cycling HAS to respond your emails, while PD has not a full time support
>>>>>>> staff.
>>>>>> Yes, cycling74 will respond to emails but only for a limited time and *only* if
>>>>>> you are a license owner (i.e. will they support me trying to get something
>>>>>> running with a runtime version of Max?  Will you answer my emails and help
>>>>>> me run your patches in runtime?).
>>>>>> Now, I think that is it only natural that we (artists) take other people's
>>>>>> (artistic) work and we get inspired, we decompose, recompose, mashup etc.  I
>>>>>> could, for instance, download the Pd repertory project, install Pd, look at
>>>>>> the patches, decompose, get inspired and come up with some composition +
>>>>>> patch that is somehow derived from a piece I liked.  If I wanted to that
>>>>>> with something that was provided as MaxMSP patches, I would also need to buy
>>>>>> either a new computer or a new operating system (because I run linux) and
>>>>>> buy MaxMSP license.  What if, later, I change my mind and do not want to be
>>>>>> inspired anymore...  do I get a refund?
>>>>>> This is all assuming (perhaps wrongly) that your intention is to "port"
>>>>>> electronic music *and* make it available for study,  deconstruction and the
>>>>>> like.  Because maybe you will simply make   runtime binaries of that stuff
>>>>>> and not share the patches at all, which is fine, and in that case all my
>>>>>> points are invalidated.
>>>>>>> If you are thinking of open-source software, I would suggest looking to
>>>>>>> Faust (Faustworks). You program your audio stuff in C++ and then you can
>>>>>>> export it as an external or VST and additionally, it makes a mathematical
>>>>>>> abstraction of your program.
>>>>>> Yes.  You can.  I only mentioned Pd because it is "syntactically" similar to
>>>>>> MaxMSP.  It could be any programming language.
>>>>>>> In general, every language becomes obsolete one time. We have to work with
>>>>>>> the current language and in 10, 20 years, there will be a new 'recreation'
>>>>>>> of the music.
>>>>>> Yes, that's my point, actually.  The music that was done with CSound 15
>>>>>> (maybe more?) years ago, can still be parsed and rendered today.  There are
>>>>>> still people today using such obsolete languages as Lisp and Forth
>>>>>> (sometimes even for music!).  In any case, you are free to use whatever
>>>>>> software you wish, I was just curious about the choice of software.  I think
>>>>>> that using an expensive software because the company's full-time staff is
>>>>>> obliged to answer support emails is a rather weak reason to choose one
>>>>>> software over another*.  *Perhaps there are other reasons?
>>>>>> Best,
>>>>>> ./MiS
>>>>>> *
>>>>>> *
>>>>>> *
>>>>>> *
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Al Matthews

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