Music visualization in Processing by yours truly.

If you’re in the LA area, I’m teaching a reasonably beginner-friendly workshop in making musical tools with visual interfaces, using entirely free software (Processing and Pd, on Mac, Windows, Linux, and if you like, Android). It’s this coming Thursday night, September 8 – the perfect way to get back to school! (For me, too…)

I’ll also be sharing some resources as I put them together for that workshop, so wherever you are, keep an eye on CDM soon.

The workshop is US$60, but you’ll leave with the skills you need to make your own music tools and audiovisual creations free, as well as the ability to use JACK to route those straight into hosts like Ableton Live.

We’ll follow up Thursday night’s workshop with a free Pd community patching circle on Sunday (for making patches; it’s a get-together, not a class).

Also, I’ll be at the TRASH_AUDIO-sponsored Synth Meet Saturday afternoon. Hope to see you folks in Southern California at one of these events there.

Full details of the workshop – and please do feel free to post / disseminate / share with people in the area:

Image and Music: Make Your Own Musical Tools, Free, with Processing and Pd

Thursday, September 8
Update – due to interest, we’ve scheduled a Saturday 6-9p class, as well
US$60 (discounts for members)
Limited space

Sign up in the CrashSpace store

Make your own instrument, sequencer, or effect, then give it a visual interface – not just fake knobs and buttons, but via any picture you desire. Now you can, with two integrated tools, entirely for free. Learn how:

Using Processing, the artist-friendly rapid code “sketching” environment, and Pure Data (Pd), the visual patching tool, we’ll discover how to create custom music creations entirely in free software. Starting with simple projects, you’ll learn how to get up and running to create your own tools, see some of the basics of how to make visual interfaces in Processing and construct musical tools with Pd, as well as how to route audio from these into software you already use like Ableton Live.

Via the new free libpd library for Processing, developed by Peter Kirn and Peter Brinkmann, you can use Pd patches right inside Processing. You create your musical creations – sequencers, drum machines, synths, effects, and so on – using the graphical environment Pd, which uses patch cords to represent the flow of signal through your sonic rigs. (A library of useful building blocks means you can construct all kinds of powerful tools even without much Pd knowledge.) Then, in Processing, you can create graphical interfaces via lightweight code, which can even run on your desktop or even mobile phones and tablets powered by Android. We’ll experiment with some simple two-dimensional and three-dimensional generative graphics for visualizing and playing our instruments, and some useful tools (a synth, a drum machine, a pattern maker, an effect you can use with a mic).

What you’ll need to know: Some basic knowledge of either Pd or Processing – ideally a little of both – is recommended, but not required. If you haven’t worked with them before, you’ll get a crash course in how they work and some sample code and patches. If you have, you’ll learn how to use them in some new ways and pick up some additional tips.

What you’ll need to bring: Definitely bring your computer so you can follow along! This is a hands-on workshop! Mac or Linux recommended. Windows users will be able to at least use Pd and Processing via OSC, and we hope a libpd for Processing build is ready (volunteers accustomed to building Windows software welcome!) We’ll install the software, but if you want to install Pd and Processing ahead of time, go for it.

Emblem of LA’s very cool CrashSpace hackerspace, which has also hosted Handmade Music. More on them as I travel there next week! Photo (CC-BY-NC) Tod Kurt.

If you’ve got any questions about the workshop, feel free to ask in comments and I’ll answer.

Sunday, September 11, noon – whenever
Patching Circle, for Pd, Max, AudioMulch, and other patchers
Free, open community patching – bring your project

And Saturday afternoon and Sunday night, while I’m not directly involved, the Synth Meet

Hope to see you at the workshop, in particular!

See you in Los Angeles…

10526 Venice Boulevard, Culver City, CA
(right on the 3, 33, and 733 buses)

View Larger Map

  • This will definetely be a great workshop.
    Please give us some any documentation for all those tooo far away to come! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  • pfuu, anyone with a private jet?
    Paris to L.A…so short

    have fun guys…;-)

  • josh g.

    "Then, in Pd, you can create graphical interfaces via lightweight code, which can even run on your desktop or even mobile phones and tablets powered by Android."

    Is that part supposed to say Processing?

    Also, very jealous, wish I was at that end of the continent.

  • Peter Kirn

    This is the first installment. Happy to tour with this workshop, anywhere that'll have me. πŸ˜‰ And yes, will do what I can online, too (though it's great to get to work on stuff in person, for sure)

    @josh g: Yes! Fixed! Copy edit bonus! (which end of the continent are you on?)

  • just reserved a spot!

    Peter, totally excited you are doing this in LA!!!

    can't wait!!!

  • Bummer. I would have loved to attend this but I won't be down until Friday night with Toppobrillo for the TRASH_AUDIO-sponsored Synth Meet. Maybe you could tour San Francisco in the future with this workshop. πŸ˜‰

  • Peter Kirn

    @George: SF is definitely high on the list. But see you at the Synth Meet, and maybe the patching circle Sunday during the day. (There were a couple of reasons we opted for Thursday over Sunday for this. It'll also mean I'll be chilling at the Synth Meet rather than prepping!)

  • @Peter: Is the patching circle also happening at CrashSpace?

  • This looks like fun – looking forward to attending!

  • Peter Kirn

    @George: yup. Adding a map…

  • Sounds like a great workshop, Peter!

    And as for its tour-ability, how much would it take for this to play in south florida? (you have my email. . . ) – – – (. . . and of course, this would include a free tour of the deco district in miami, btw!).

  • would love to go to the workshop! been wanting to start making my own musical tools, especially for interfacing with monomes. but i have work that night. hopefully the next one will be closer to san diego, to avoid the 3-hour drive through l.a.'s rush hour…

  • Sound really great guys. Well Done!

    But, is the ticket from Greece included in the price? πŸ˜›

  • from vietnam, it is a little bit too far to make to L.A…would love to attend though..


  • Another vote here for the SF Bay Area. Sounds like a great class.

  • Peter, is the pdlib for processing ready? If so, where can it be got?
    I've been researching this a bit lately and it seems like the way to go in terms of creating personalized sonic creation system + graphic interface. I'm already making use of Charlie Robert's Control and Konkreet Performer but this seems like a whole 'nother level.

    I see it's available for android only so far, which I think is funny and makes sense. What are your thoughts on Processing on ipads? Why hasn't the Processing crew gotten on board with porting it to iOS? 

  • BTW, what happened to the PD-LAunch videos that where gonna be available for free. I wanna see Miller's and Han's presentations.

  • Peter Kirn

    Pd for Processing is there in the repository, and someone has even written a tutorial, but I'll be updating both.

    Processing is written in Java and built on the Java platform. The "Processing crew" are volunteers, so that'd be a fairly big job. The Processing.js port works in part on iOS, though not as well as on desktop because of the absence of technologies like WebGL on mobile.

    But libpd works on iOS.

  • Ted Kusio

    When are the NYC classes, Peter?

  • Sounds like it should be an awesome class.

  • @Peter – By repository you meanΒ

  • GreaterThanZero

    I wasn't sure if I could attend tomorrow (I'm starting a new job and things are sort of in flux), but as I haven't gotten word yet that I ought to be elsewhere, I'm guessing I'm free.  So I signed up for the Thursday session.

    …and I also signed up for Saturday, just in case.  Maybe I'll start a project Thursday and get stuck on something in time to ask about it Saturday?

  • @Peter – Any chance we can get an update on how the class went? what was covered and so forth? Maybe even a small video tutorial on how to set up basic connection between Processing and libPd. You know those are so helpful.