[LAU] OT: C or C++?

Dave Phillips dlphillips at woh.rr.com
Fri Oct 15 10:23:18 UTC 2010


Josh's original question seems to have morphed into another LAU monster. :)

I'll respond with a different perspective, that of the amateur coder who 
has zero background in formal studies of computer science. To misquote 
Dr. McCoy from Star Trek, "Damn it, Jim, I'm a musician, not a programmer !"

In the 80s I learned some x86 assembly and C, primarily because I wanted 
to know more about the internals of Csound. Later I looked into Lisp and 
Tcl/Tk. Recently I've been dabbling in Java, mainly due to an interest 
in Processing. In each case I had a specific goal in mind, one to which 
a specific language had been recommended. Since my goals were very 
low-level - I didn't need a GUI or realtime capabilities for most of 
what I was doing - I didn't need to learn every little detail of any 
particular language. When I hit the wall with my laughably tiny skills I 
always knew where to turn for help (props to the awesome LADders !).

I assume Josh is looking in the same direction. IIRC he stated he wasn't 
interested necessarily in gaining a professional's skill. Neither was I, 
but I knew that a little command of something like C or Java might 
enable me to write a few helpful apps for my own uses. In fact I did 
write a few dozen instrument and score generators for Csound, they were 
quite useful for my purposes.

Btw, I've found it most helpful to learn from a text with real-world 
examples for musical purposes. I learned more about Lisp through Rick 
Taube's Notes From The Metalevel than I ever did with the standard 
texts. I'm now working my way through Andrew Brown's book on jMusic, 
picking up some very useful advice on using Java. It's not always 
possible to find such a text for any given language, but plenty of 
relevant (i.e. music-related) code exists for C, C++, Python, and so forth.

Just a couple pfennigs from a perpetual novice.



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