Zzzzz….

Well, welcome to 2013. Life intervenes, etc. When I can write, I still use Ableton Live pretty much 100% of the time. Sometimes I idly wonder when my stalwart music system (still running Windows XP like a tank) is going to fade out and require me to replace it… until them I’m just going to keep using it and backing things up like mad.

I fired up the Mac G3 recently and it still perks along well. It gives me a nice feeling that I can reach back into old MIDI work from the 1990s – 2000s.

I haven’t been tracking Csound and Chuck very well the last couple years. I was unemployed for a while (guess when my blogs got most attention) but now working full time again takes precedence. I did buy Machine Musicianship by Robert Rowe and am studying that with a view to trying some music composition programming in Python.

R.I.P. Max Mathews: Pioneer of computer music

The influence of Max Mathews on all aspects of electronic, digital and computer sound and music is enormous. There is a great appreciation with recent photos of the grand old guy at createdigitalmusic.com by Peter Kirn.

Max Mathews appreciation at createdigitalmusic.com/

Csound 5.14 released Autumn 2011

http://sourceforge.net/projects/csound/files/csound5/csound5.14/

Casually following the release of 5.14 on the nabble mailing list indicates this seems like a good release, particularly for Windows users. An early tester reported “flawless” operation on Windows 7 (i7 processor).

Go to the link shown above for readme files and an installer for Windows.

Here are the release notes as an OpenDocument Text file: Csound Version 5.14 Release Notes

last modified 20110304

Exciting development (if you regard documentation as exciting)

Some people have put together what is basically a wiki-style documentation project for Csound and its hot new front end QuteCsound. This is part of a project called FLOSS (for Free (Libre) Open Source Software).

http://en.flossmanuals.net/bin/view/Csound/WebHome

There’s a discussion of the project on the Csound nabble.com forum at this URL

http://csound.1045644.n5.nabble.com/Csound-on-FLOSS-Manuals-td2847749.html#a2847749

This is still being produced but it has great potential. As I mention/gripe about frequently, Csound is so old and so huge, that to get a handle on it at all is difficult. Sort of like trying to eat an entire hippo for dinner…

In other news….Built versions of Csound 5.12 for Windows have had quite a few bumps along the road … keep checking the forum rather than soundforge to figure out if you want to get that version…

Also .. I don’t know what the deal with nabble.com is, or why the Csound forums are hosted there. In any case, here’s the new (?) link to it http://csound.1045644.n5.nabble.com/

New basic Csound tutorials on youtube

I just happened across these by accident. Apparently they have only been uploaded within the last few weeks.

He shows how to get your first sound out of Csound using the QuteCsound front end.

Search for user “ketchupok” or here are some direct links:

Configure QuteCsound: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFnZytyNuWc

60 second intro to Csound (using QuteCsound front end) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5OOyFyNaCA

I think he may be assuming a little more expertise than a beginner might have, but in any case well worth checking out his short videos.

He’s also using a Macintosh, although the principles are supposed to be the same over all platforms.

Awesome studio/back to Csounding…

Wow and double wow

OK, this week I was able to go to an open house at Southwestern College in Chula Vista (outside San Diego, Calif.) and get a quick tour of the amazing recording studio that has been recently finished there. It’s a resource for their courses in recording engineering technology. I believe I heard that between $5 and$6 million was spent on it.

You can see pictures, panoramic views and see equipment lists here: http://xserve.swccd.edu/ras/Welcome.html

I am really envious of the students who get to work in this facility, and the musicians who’ve been able to record there. The professor, Jay Henry, who designed it from the ground up, also knows his stuff to an amazing degree. Check it out…

More Csound progress…

OK, lately (finding myself with a little extra spare time) I plunged back into Csound. In particular, I was working with some files I gathered over the years; some from the thonk processor, a few recorded with a tiny MP3 player on a city bus, and other random field and noise recordings. Nothing was really exciting me sonically, so I thought I’d delve back into the (extensive) granular synthesis and resynthesis tools available in Csound.

(Aside: Each time I do this I feel like I’m learning it from the ground up. Lesson: you definitely need to use it regularly to stay current!)

So I went and ran the various granular synthesis demo programs and listened to them to try to figure out if that kind of processing would allow me to get the sounds I think I’m interested in. There are several opcodes you can use to process either mathematical data or audio samples with granulation.

These are: grain, grain2 and grain3 (the older ones); granule (somewhat newer); and partikkel and partikkelsync (the newest, as far as I know.)

The problem is that, as with fractals, the parameters of the computation make a huge difference in the result. The only way this could be dealt with in the Old Days was to change the parameter, run it again, listen, change parameters again, etc. This is obviously terribly time consuming and inefficient.

[...still being worked on 25 Mar 2010...]

In going through old files and reprints, I came across a great article by Art Hunkins.

Open Source audio software: dead, moribund, languishing or gone

Here’s the other reason people buy commercial software.

I did a search using Google and on SourceForge.net for audio toolkits or other open source program libraries or projects. Almost all of them are dead or haven’t been updated since, say, 2001. One project linked to a page that crashed.

Under the “subsynth” project page, at least the originator had the grace to explain he had to stop working on it (“yeah, this project’s pretty dead“…) (which sourceforge helpfully dates as “1647 days ago”. Quick, when do you think that was?)

Well, the “Python Sound Project” sounds promising. Whoops, that project was last touched 1251 days ago.

Now Nyquist sounds a lot more promising. At least it was worked on in 2009. But amusingly something as simple as clicking on the “FAQ” link on that page leads to

An error has been encountered in accessing this page.

1. Server: nyquist.sourceforge.net
2. URL path: /nyquist-faq.html
3. Error notes: NONE
4. Error type: 404
5. Request method: GET
6. Request query string: NONE
7. Time: 2010-03-12 21:09:15 UTC (1268428155)

See, the point I’m trying to make was that if there was a simple list of active, working, usable source code/libraries the typical eager programmer/user wouldn’t get terrifically frustrated.

So much OpenSource stuff is like this. I think many good programmers just give up and start writing their own libraries or utilities rather than try to ferret out what’s working and what’s ancient history.

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