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Using more traditional coding to create/enhance music


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As part of my university course, I've been learning to use the Visual Programming Language Pure Data (pd) as a way to not only explore some of the more maths-y and science-y concepts in music, but also to create a window into some of the more interesting effects that you can code from scratch with simple arguments to replicate plug-ins or fx in a DAW. It's been a pretty incredible experience so far, with a lot of what I've learned helping to complement my understanding of what it is certain effects actually do, and how they do them.

I was just wondering, does anyone else use PD or a similar language to aid in composition or production of their music?

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Pd is amazing for doing MIDI controller hacks.

I have a patch that generates MIDI output by interpreting pen gestures on a graphics tablet as violin bowing. It automatically steps through notes from a predefined MIDI file (which I generate from my Finale score), so I don't have to bother with pitch input at all when recording and can focus on rhythm and expression. It's the best MIDI controller I've ever used, and because I programmed it, it can evolve as my needs evolve. I'm in the process of expanding it so that shaking a Wii controller will generate frequency and depth to base vibrato on.

I also use Pd to do some user interface stuff for an overhaul of SONAR's MIDI editing interface that I've scripted with SONAR's CAL script. Basically, CAL outputs data about SONAR to Pd via MIDI, and I can work with that data in Pd and then send the results back to SONAR by writing a file to disk and then reading that file with CAL.

Edited by Moseph
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