“The Csound Book” and the CD-ROMs that come with it: both unusable and indispensible

The Csound Book http://www.amazon.com/Csound-Book-Perspectives-Processing-Programming/dp/0262522616/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1215706387&sr=8-1 (which you can still get, and for less than $55, if you look around a bit) is not at all a good introduction to Csound and certainly not a reference manual. It’s sort of sad in a way; the book obviously represents a gigantic effort to put it together and yet was almost completely impenetrable to a newcomer (and I considered myself pretty computer- and electronic-music-literate.) My guess is that the assumption was that, since all the contributors were from academia, that they first learned Csound in academia and didn’t need to vouchsafe the first steps to Outsiders…

However, it’s still indispensible if you can afford it (or find it cheap, like I did) It’s basically a collection of essays and examples for the intermediate and advanced user. It also comes with two CD-ROMs which are chock full of instruments, examples, and numerous chapters which aren’t in the print edition. It’s basically as if someone just put a whole bunch of Csound goodies in a basket for you to sort through to separate out the useful gems and nuggets from the old, obsolete and arcane.

What would be wonderful, if it existed, would be a nice book based on (say) Csound v5 that would take you from “kindergarten” through “middle school”? Once a person got that far, if they were still interested they would know enough to continue their own research.


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