last update: 2011 feb
I’m so jazzed about ChucK (http://chuck.cs.princeton.edu/) that I want to give it its separate page.
It’s also a software based, real-time, sound generation, synthesis and analysis system and language, but it’s as different from Csound as can be.
ChucK is only a few years old, and is based on the fact that modern desktop computers are fast enough to be able to process input, compute audio and play it all essentially in real-time. This gives it an entirely different thrust than something like Csound. Csound has wrappers and tools to allow more or less real-time processing and performance, but those have all been added to the basic design of Csound over the years (its to the credit of Csound’s designers that all those things work as well as they do.
ChucK, being newer, is easier to get one’s head around, as there is a much smaller amount of documentation and information to process. I recommend installing it, reading and working through the tutorial information, and reading the forum http://electro-music.com/forum/forum-140.html . Even as feeble a programmer as I am have been able to get working ChucK programs going with a minimum of grief.
On the other hand, being new, there are still some bugs and features-to-be-implemented in ChucK that you may need to work around.
As of February 2011, the version is 188.8.131.52. There is a change log at the ChucK site but the versions are not dated so I don’t know how recent that is. Looking at the latest dates of files in the downloaded zip archive I assume October 2009. 184.108.40.206 was pretty stable on Windows XP
If I can figure out how to run it and generate some simple tunes, anyone can. Give it a look and hopefully someone will carry the ball and continue its development.