Step 4: Using frontends: QuteCsound

Many “front end” or control programs for Csound have been created over the years, and many of them have fallen by the wayside. QuteCsound, even though it currently has the unencouraging version number of 0.5.0 is actually an excellent one, and hopefully will find some legs and be supported into the future.

Update 3 May 2010

The current version of QuteCsound is 0.5.0. I am not sure which versions of Csound it’s compatible with. However, digging into 0.4.2 in more depth on my Windows 7 system with Csound 5.11 on it I can say that by far most of my misgivings I carp about below have been soothed! At some point I’ll update this whole page and try to get current.

As far as I know, Csound 5.12 installers for Windows have still not been released, but probably for 90% of users, 5.11 should be just fine.

Update 6 Apr 2010

QuteCsound is still being developed. This is a great thing (for instance, as far as I can tell, Cecilia has not been updated since 2004. Although it’s difficult to tell from looking at the numerous places it lives). Apparently, the Csound gurus feel it’s stable and useful enough such that it’s included with the latest Csound versions (5.12 as of this writing.)

However as of this writing 5.12 is not built for Windows platforms. Which means you either:

  • wait
  • build it yourself (snork)
  • use a previous version

Blue has also had a major update in the last few weeks so it might be worth taking another look at that.

Update 7 May 2009

Well, it wasn’t the magic app I hoped it would be.

Some CSDs it played fine. However, some very simple ones that play via the command line or other Csound players it seems to semi-choke on. It presents a dialog with the filename and an OK button. There’s no explanation in the dialog. When you press OK, the dialog disappears and the source code has a lot of pink highlights. It seems to have trouble with Csound files that use “/* – */” instead of “;” style commenting.

It also marks legal “f” statements in the score as errors too.

In the Console display, it flags legal constructs like <CsoundSynthesizer> as errors. So apparently I either need to understand more about how to work this tool, or wait for a newer version.

(I really need to reorganize this site/blog…)

NOTE: this discussion is really intended for Windows XP users. There may be some relevant comments for other platforms but consider that a happy accident.)

I had Csound 5.10 installed on my Windows XP machine. I’ve tried lots of Csound front ends and editors, but none of them really had a compelling combination of stability, features and usability. I had been reading quite a bit about QuteCsound in the Csound forums so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try.

The download page for the various QuteCsound flavors is here:

This is as of early May 2009 and the version I’m discussing is 0.4.1.

First of all Csound must be already installed and working on your target machine. Then, besides obviously picking the right version for your platform (unless you’re going to compile it from source yourself), you need to choose the double or single precision version of QuteCsound. This is turn depends on whether your Csound installation is double or single precision. That’s another discussion entirely.

Anyway, for some reason I had Csound 5.10 (double) installed so I installed the QuteCsound double version. This went quite simply. There were a couple of check boxes in the installation. QuteCsound is based on the Qt (which is NOT QuickTime) widget/GUI library, so that needs to be installed along with everything else. Also, MINGW needs to be checked as well (which is “Minimalist GNU for Windows.”) So I presume that the code was all written in a platform-independent manner to talk to a layer that connects it to a specific OS – like Windows, Linux or MacOS.

In the download filename itself it says that it’s for Csound 5.09. But I thought, surely it will be forward compatible. That turned out to be my first problem. It ain’t. It immediately gave an error message about a library not being found (Csound64.dll.5.1). The copy I found in my Csound installation was Csound64.dd.5.2. I suppose I could try to create a copy and rename it, but instead I went ahead and uninstalled Csound 5.10 and installed 5.09. When I did this, I launched QuteCsound and ran the built-in default Csound csd file and behold, a sine tone was heard. This means that QuteCsound successfully found Csound which had a dac connection to my sound hardware. This was an encouraging sign (sine?).

The next step will be to try to run more CSDs and see if they work.

My first impressions of the QuteCsound interface are great. See the screenshot here to get a sense of it.

Page#35/last edited 20100503


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