[linux-audio-user] Should I Bother Learning Csound?

Dave Phillips dlphilp at bright.net
Fri Feb 6 10:43:51 EST 2004


  I'm putting finishing touches to a very long chapter on software sound 
synthesis languages in which I've profiled current versions of Csound, 
RTcmix, and SuperCollider3. IMHO I'd still recommend Csound to a novice, 
particularly to a programming novice. I prefer the more modern language 
elements in RTcmix and SC3, but the one is heavily C-like (fine with me) 
and the other is a Smalltalk derivative. Csound also wins in its 
abundance of helper applications, e.g., FJenie, nGen, Common Music, 
blue, Cecilia, Csound Blocks, and others. However, RTcmix will see a new 
release Real Soon Now, and there may be some more GUI stuff included. 
SC3 for Linux lacks the neat graphic elements of the OSX version, but 
it's still quite an interesting environment. I should also note that 
Csound and RTcmix have no special requirements WRT editors, whereas with 
SC3 you definitely want to learn how to use emacs. (Note that both emacs 
and vi have Csound editing modes available to them.)

  Considering the low cost of each of these systems, why not try them 
all ? You might also want to consider Common Lisp Music, a Lisp-based 
system. Btw, both CLM and SC3 are very much object-oriented languages, 
while Csound and RTcmix are modeled after more procedural languages.

  Finally I would urge the beginner to make a real study of some other 
language, i.e., C/C++, Java, whatever, along with learning a sound & 
music programming language. That assumes the time for such study, but 
consider it time well spent, you'll learn a lot by the inevitable 

Best regards,


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