To follow up on the above mention of the “ChucK” music programming system: here are some notes on how to get it running on your Windows XP system.
But first, a couple prerequisites.
You need to be comfortable using the Windows “Command Prompt”. There are some tricks to entering data in there, which you should learn (for instance, you can make the prompt short with “prompt $$”, tab does command completion so you don’t have to type long filenames, and you can use the Paste feature to navigate to directories. You need to understand the concept of “cd” which locates you in a particulary directory (folder) in the file system. (There is a little tool called “mini Audicle” which simplifies some of this but it doesn’t seem to save me all that much time.)
Second, you need to be comfortable with simple programming. Knowing something like Python or C++ is best, but if you have an acquaintance with something like Perl or Basic you should be able to get by. To experiment with things, you should be able to open a ChucK file in the Windows Notepad and make simple changes. In your beginning phases, your ChucK programs will be pretty short, and so should be the example files you play with.
OK, if you’re still game, you need to download the ChucK package. It’s a pretty tiny package, just a few megabytes. Look for http://chuck.cs.princeton.edu. As of 12 Oct 2009 the current version available appears to be 188.8.131.52.
The ChucK program itself is in the bin subdirectory and is just called chuck.exe. You can either
a) copy it into C:\Windows\System32, or
b) change your system’s PATH environment variable
so that when you type “chuck” it runs the program.
Now create a Command Prompt window. If you type “chuck –version” in it and you see:
chuck version: 184.108.40.206b (dracula) exe target: microsoft win32 http://chuck.cs.princeton.edu/
(If you’ve installed the latest version (as of today, 12 Oct 2009) it will read 220.127.116.11)
You’re on the right track. Now type “chuck –probe” to see if ChucK sees your audio hardware.
It should respond with a shorter or longer list, but at least one audio device. It may list some MIDI devices but we can ignore that for now. Here’s the result on one vanilla Dell system:
[chuck]: found 2 device(s) ... [chuck]: ------( chuck -- dac1 )--------------- [chuck]: device name = "Primary Sound Capture Driver" [chuck]: probe [success] ... [chuck]: # output channels = 0 [chuck]: # input channels = 2 [chuck]: # duplex Channels = 0 [chuck]: default device = YES [chuck]: natively supported data formats: [chuck]: 16-bit int [chuck]: supported sample rates: [chuck]: 11025 Hz [chuck]: 22050 Hz [chuck]: 44100 Hz [chuck]: [chuck]: ------( chuck -- dac2 )--------------- [chuck]: device name = "SoundMAX Digital Audio" [chuck]: probe [success] ... [chuck]: # output channels = 0 [chuck]: # input channels = 2 [chuck]: # duplex Channels = 0 [chuck]: default device = NO [chuck]: natively supported data formats: [chuck]: 16-bit int [chuck]: supported sample rates: [chuck]: 11025 Hz [chuck]: 22050 Hz [chuck]: 44100 Hz
To be continued, soon I hope!