[linux-audio-dev] CSound usability

Dave Phillips dlphillips at woh.rr.com
Wed May 4 12:44:34 UTC 2005

James McDermott wrote:

>>I taught myself how to use Csound, I have no special background in
>>mathematics or computer programming.
>But you're on the LAD list! Just subscribing to a list is a harder
>technical task than some musicians I know are capable of ;)
Well, actually I was one of the founders. I don't recall ever explicitly 
subscribing, maybe someone did it for me. Given my music background, I'm 
not sure I could do it on my own. ;-)

Makes me wonder if I could apply for a disability pension...

>In my experience (correct me if I'm wrong), many instruments don't
>work unless you set up (eg) the right wavetables in the .sco file. I
>don't know how much the .csd format helps this.
You aren't up to date. Function tables can be defined in the orc file too.

Many instruments work even with the "wrong" function table. You can have 
much fun mixing and matching ftable definitions, and the interested 
student can learn a lot by changing elements of even the most simple 

Btw, the CSD format simply combines orc, sco, and command-line options 
neatly into one file format. I believe it is also possible to embed MIDI 
and binary files into a CSD file, but don't quote me on that yet.

>But it's certainly true that if you put all the right bits of CSound
>add-ons together, you can get a nice and usable system. Modularity is
>nice, but the lists of add-ons at www.csounds.com is pretty frightening.
Well, you certainly aren't required to learn and/or use them all. I've 
learned Csound as I've learned any musical instrument: I acquire needed 
skill as I need it. I practice to extend and maintain chops, but if I 
want to use a new method or technique I dig in and learn something new.

Frankly, if you've made the effort to learn how to play an instrument to 
some degree of familiarity then you've already displayed intelligence 
enough to learn how to use something like Csound. Or perhaps I have an 
unwarranted high estimation of the intelligence of my fellow citizens ?  ;-)



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