Some new random thoughts on Csound

I’ve been going through the “Csound Catalog” CD (which I think I mention elsewhere). As an educational and tutorial resource it’s great. However, I have to say I don’t think it’s very well organized, and the documentation in the individual instruments ranges from sketchy at best to nonexistent at worst. So I’m gradually going through as many files as I can, reorganizing it for my own preferences, etc.

One thing to keep in mind if you decide to order this is that some of the instruments are duplicates of those that come with the CDs that accompany the Csound Book. That’s OK since there are so many more on the Catalog CD. But also keep in mind that many of the Catalog instruments are really effects; filters, reverbs, choruses, etc. That’s fine but they’re all mixed up together.

I’ve created two new directories, instruments and effects and am gradually moving the various files into the appropriate categories.

The other thing that’s dawning on me is that the Csound score language, while extremely powerful, is also extremely hard to use as itself for any kind of large composition. Every note must be specified explicitly; you can’t even do a thing like a repeat.

This is why there are many front-ends for Csound. In fact, if the CsoundVST works, you can skip Csound’s score language entirely, and use Csound as an instrument within some kind of sequencer. This is discussed in Michale Gogins’ tutorial (and also in the Csound manual) where it is shown how to use CsoundVST within Cubase. I haven’t tried this very extensively, only in Live 6 where it seems to take up a vast amount of CPU time, and in the lightweight Cantabile VST host program which crashes when I try to invoke CsoundVST. So more research is clearly needed on my part….

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