Computer Programming Sound?

This one is pretty amazing

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We were studying CSound at the Music Conservatory


Can’t go wrong with SuperCollider. For a visual programming approach check out Max/MSP:

DivKid suggested the book Designing Sound by Andy Farnell on the most recent Sonic Talk #522.

The book according to DivKid goes through the basic mathematics and algorithms of sound creation. The algorithms are all presented for the Pure Data graphical programming environment, which you can get for free. Pure Data is pretty close to Max and Max for Live so you’ll learn some of that with this too.

There is a seven chapter downloadable excerpt from the book to get started, also free:

Al this information can be easily adapted to a non-graphical environment as well, like Python (also free), with a little very educational effort.

All this stuff is free, which is a good thing, 'cuz some of us around here are quite happily synth poor!


Thanks @Jukka!

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sound design and max msp! there are a couple groups on facebook that are really helpful, max for live users and max/msp. This book covers sound design and examples for creating max devices. max/msp just takes dedication and perseverance, as does learning anything worthwhile. this was recommended by quite a few people in both groups as “the bible”


Nice! I’ve got the e-book version of that. I guess I’ll need the real thing.

Side note: if I got the Max cross grade, could I use my M4L plugins in other DAWs?

well M4L plugins are just for Live. I think you can make stand alone max applications, but I only work with it inside Live.

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I interpret the question as: if I have Max, can I make M4L-like plugins for other DAWs?

The answer to that is no, not something you can load in the DAW like a M4L device or VST. What you can do is run those M4L devices in regular Max and have your DAW send it MIDI. The audio output could be routed back into the DAW.

Mod devices

has this box

in which you can create your own pedal boards but they also say:

“The revolutionary open-source platform unveils a world of possibilities by easily creating your own effects with Max/MSP.”

This suggests you can create/programme your own synths/sound engines and turn it into a piece of hardware. I would find that very attractive.

Unfortunately their Mod Duo X campaign didn’t run too smooth and one does not hear and see too much about it. I could not find an example of someone programming something in Max and turning it into a device in Mod Duo X. Difficult to see how difficult this process is.

Edit: I was a bit unfair (and lazy). There is in fact material that describes how to write Max patches and load these into the Mod Duo X.


kadenze provides free online courses that are pretty well put together, and has some good looking ones in this area:

Intro to real-time audio programming in ChucK

Real-time audio signal-processing in Faust

Intro to audio plugin development (C++/JUCE)

Physics-based sound synthesis for games and interactive systems (ChucK)

In a similar area lies the world of sonic pi, a live-coding language (for writing music with code in real-time), which I have a preference for. It’s based on Ruby and pretty easy to understand as far as languages go, with lots of tutorials in-built. The back-end is SuperCollider. More info on live-coding @

There’s also this thread on here which has a lot of info and examples of devices and materials. Happy hunting!


Yeah! kadenze is wonderful! I took their Max course and it was pretty inspirational.

Definitely want to do some of their Audio Plugin in C++ soon

Sooo… I’ve been “studying” and trying to understand Max/MSP/Jitter but so many mathematical formulas and technical terms and objects to know behind it. I’ve bought a bunch of books along with reading the help documentation, and even watching alot of videos on YouTube but my mind is still trying to comprehend. I feel like I need to go back to school for this lol. What have you guys done in order to be a successful patcher?

Music is sound. You just have to embrace and calibrate to it.

Once you figure out the logic you want to use, you’ll surely get along with it

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Music is also math. And i’m no mathematician… lol

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Shoot. That’s what I meant to say. Stupid headache.

Edit: perhaps start with Midi and work your way to audio? Midi will be the most straightforward math element?

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Ahhh yes, okay I think i’m getting ahead of myself. I should go back to the basics!

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Set yourself incremental goals. Work your way towards achieving them step by step, using the bundled and online resources.

The Help patches for objects are your first resource.


Also, several online courses around. On for example.