Csound can be embedded in a Max patch using the csound~ object. This allows you to synthesize and process audio, MIDI, or control data with Csound.
The csound~ requires an installation of Csound. For Csound6, it should be a part of the main installer. If this is not the case, you should find an installer in Csound's file release folder, for instance as to Csound 6.02 here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/csound/files/csound6/Csound6.02/csound%7E_v1.1.1.pkg/download.
The next paragraphs were instructions for Csound5. They may now be obsolete.
On Windows (only), various versions of Csound5 have a known incompatibility with csound~ that has to do with the fluid opcodes. How can you tell if you are affected? Here is how: if you stop a Csound performance (or it stops by itself) and you click on a non-MaxMSP or non-Live window and it crashes, then you are affected. Until this is fixed, an easy solution is to remove/delete fluidOpcodes.dll from your plugins or plugins64 folder. Here are some common locations for that folder:
<CsoundSynthesizer> <CsInstruments> ;Example by Davis Pyon sr = 44100 ksmps = 32 nchnls = 2 0dbfs = 1 instr 1 aNoise noise .1, 0 outch 1, aNoise, 2, aNoise endin </CsInstruments> <CsScore> f0 86400 i1 0 86400 e </CsScore> </CsoundSynthesizer>
At this point, you should hear some noise. Congratulations! You created your first csound~ patch.
You may be wondering why we had to save, close, and reopen the patch. This is needed in order for csound~ to find the csd file. In effect, saving and opening the patch allows csound~ to "know" where the patch is. Using this information, csound~ can then find csd files specified using a relative pathname (e.g. "helloworld.csd"). Keep in mind that this is only necessary for newly created patches that have not been saved yet. By the way, had we specified an absolute pathname (e.g. "C:/Mystuff/helloworld.csd"), the process of saving and reopening would have been unnecessary.
The "@scale 0" argument tells csound~ not to scale audio data between Max and Csound. By default, csound~ will scale audio to match 0dB levels. Max uses a 0dB level equal to one, while Csound uses a 0dB level equal to 32768. Using "@scale 0" and adding the statement "0dbfs = 1" within the csd file allows you to work with a 0dB level equal to one everywhere. This is highly recommended.
All csound~ inlets accept an audio signal and some outlets send an audio signal. The number of audio outlets is determined by the arguments to the csound~ object. Here are four ways to specify the number of inlets and outlets:
"@io 3" creates 3 audio inlets and 3 audio outlets. "@i 4 @o 7" creates 4 audio inlets and 7 audio outlets. The third and fourth lines accomplish the same thing as the first two. If you don't specify the number of audio inlets or outlets, then csound~ will have two audio inlets and two audio oulets. By the way, audio outlets always appear to the left of non-audio outlets. Let's create a patch called audio_io.maxpat that demonstrates audio i/o:
Here is the corresponding text file (let's call it audio_io.csd):
<CsoundSynthesizer> <CsInstruments> ;Example by Davis Pyon sr = 44100 ksmps = 32 nchnls = 3 0dbfs = 1 instr 1 aTri1 inch 1 aTri2 inch 2 aTri3 inch 3 aMix = (aTri1 + aTri2 + aTri3) * .2 outch 1, aMix, 2, aMix endin </CsInstruments> <CsScore> f0 86400 i1 0 86400 e </CsScore> </CsoundSynthesizer>
In audio_io.maxpat, we are mixing three triangle waves into a stereo pair of outlets. In audio_io.csd, we use inch and outch to receive and send audio from and to csound~. inch and outch both use a numbering system that starts with one (the left-most inlet or outlet).
Notice the statement "nchnls = 3" in the orchestra header. This tells the Csound compiler to create three audio input channels and three audio output channels. Naturally, this means that our csound~ object should have no more than three audio inlets or outlets.
Control messages allow you to send numbers to Csound. It is the primary way to control Csound parameters at i-rate or k-rate. To control a-rate (audio) parameters, you must use and audio inlet. Here are two examples:
Notice that you can use either "control" or "c" to indicate a control message. The second argument specifies the name of the channel you want to control and the third argument specifies the value.
The following patch and text file demonstrates control messages:
<CsoundSynthesizer> <CsInstruments> ;Example by Davis Pyon sr = 44100 ksmps = 32 nchnls = 2 0dbfs = 1 giSine ftgen 1, 0, 16384, 10, 1 ; Generate a sine wave table. instr 1 kPitch chnget "pitch" kMod invalue "mod" aFM foscil .2, cpsmidinn(kPitch), 2, kMod, 1.5, giSine outch 1, aFM, 2, aFM endin </CsInstruments> <CsScore> f0 86400 i1 0 86400 e </CsScore> </CsoundSynthesizer>
In the patch, notice that we use two different methods to construct control messages. The "pak" method is a little faster than the message box method, but do whatever looks best to you. You may be wondering how we can send messages to an audio inlet (remember, all inlets are audio inlets). Don't worry about it. In fact, we can send a message to any inlet and it will work.
In the text file, notice that we use two different opcodes to receive the values sent in the control messages: chnget and invalue. chnget is more versatile (it works at i-rate and k-rate, and it accepts strings) and is a tiny bit faster than invalue. On the other hand, the limited nature of invalue (only works at k-rate, never requires any declarations in the header section of the orchestra) may be easier for newcomers to Csound.
csound~ accepts raw MIDI numbers in it's first inlet. This allows you to create Csound instrument instances with MIDI notes and also control parameters using MIDI Control Change. csound~ accepts all types of MIDI messages, except for: sysex, time code, and sync. Let's look at a patch and text file that uses MIDI:
<CsoundSynthesizer> <CsInstruments> ;Example by Davis Pyon sr = 44100 ksmps = 32 nchnls = 2 0dbfs = 1 massign 0, 0 ; Disable default MIDI assignments. massign 1, 1 ; Assign MIDI channel 1 to instr 1. giSine ftgen 1, 0, 16384, 10, 1 ; Generate a sine wave table. instr 1 iPitch cpsmidi kMod midic7 1, 0, 10 aFM foscil .2, iPitch, 2, kMod, 1.5, giSine outch 1, aFM, 2, aFM endin </CsInstruments> <CsScore> f0 86400 e </CsScore> </CsoundSynthesizer>
In the patch, notice how we're using midiformat to format note and control change lists into raw MIDI bytes. The "1" argument for midiformat specifies that all MIDI messages will be on channel one.
In the text file, notice the massign statements in the header of the orchestra. "massign 0,0" tells Csound to clear all mappings between MIDI channels and Csound instrument numbers. This is highly recommended because forgetting to add this statement may cause confusion somewhere down the road. The next statement "massign 1,1" tells Csound to map MIDI channel one to instrument one.
Notice that in the score section of the text file, we no longer have the statement "i1 0 86400" as we had in earlier examples. This is a good thing as you should never instantiate an instrument via both MIDI and score events (at least that has been this writer's experience).
To send Csound events (i.e. score statements), use the "event" or "e" message. You can send any type of event that Csound understands. The following patch and text file demonstrates how to send events:
<CsoundSynthesizer> <CsInstruments> ;Example by Davis Pyon sr = 44100 ksmps = 32 nchnls = 2 0dbfs = 1 instr 1 iDur = p3 iCps = cpsmidinn(p4) iMeth = 1 print iDur, iCps, iMeth aPluck pluck .2, iCps, iCps, 0, iMeth outch 1, aPluck, 2, aPluck endin </CsInstruments> <CsScore> f0 86400 e </CsScore> </CsoundSynthesizer>
In the patch, notice how the arguments to the pack object are declared. The "i1" statement tells Csound that we want to create an instance of instrument one. There is no space between "i" and "1" because pack considers "i" as a special symbol signifying an integer. The next number specifies the start time. Here, we use "0" because we want the event to start right now. The duration "3." is specified as a floating point number so that we can have non-integer durations. Finally, the number "64" determines the MIDI pitch. You might be wondering why the pack object output is being sent to a message box. This is good practice as it will reveal any mistakes you made in constructing an event message.
In the text file, we access the event parameters using p-statements. We never access p1 (instrument number) or p2 (start time) because they are not important within the context of our instrument. Although p3 (duration) is not used for anything here, it is often used to create audio envelopes. Finally, p4 (MIDI pitch) is converted to cycles-per-second. The print statement is there so that we can verify the parameter values.
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