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)

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