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Csound Power! Paperback – January 20, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


1. The World of Csound. Why Use Csound? Why You Might Not Want to Use Csound. A Quick History of Csound. Resources: Mailing List; The Online Wiki Manual; How to Use the Canonical Manual; Books for Further Study. 2. Downloading & Installing. Choosing the Correct Version: -d vs. -f Versions; When to Use an Older Version. Running the Installer: Windows; Macintosh; The Many Flavors of Linux. Setting Up Your System. Audio I/O: Real-Time Output vs. Rendering; What Are Portaudio and Jack? Testing Your Setup. What the Console Output Means. Running Csound from the Command Line. Command-Line Flags. 3. The Structure of a .csd File. The .orc/.sco File Concept. Tags. The Orchestra Header. Adding Comments to Your Code. Macros. Compiler Error Messages. 4. Using the QuteCsound Interface. The Main Windows. The Configuration Box. The Editor Window: Fixing Known Editor Glitches in Windows. Widgets. Accessing the Manual. Syntax Hints. Live Events. 5. Building Your Own Instruments. instr and endin. i- vs. k- vs. a-. p-fields and p-values. A Simple Tutorial Instrument. Adding Features to the Tutorial Instrument. Adding Still More Features. Logic and Flow Control. Debugging Tips: Common Errors; Using Print Statements. 6. Writing a Score. i-statements. t-statements. f-statements. Looping Score Sections. Advancing the Clock. Using Macros. Creating Score Events from Within the Orchestra. 7. Thirty Opcodes You Must Know. What Is an Opcode? Tone Generators: Basic Oscillators; FM Synthesis; Granular Synthesis; Formant Synthesis; Sample Playback. Envelopes. Filters. Noise Generators. Global Signal Routing. The Important GEN Routines. Table Operations. Panning. Dynamics. Analysis and Resynthesis. User-Defined Opcodes. Sound Design in Csound -- Principles & Ideas. 8. Other Front Ends. blue. WinXsound. Cecilia. AthenaCL. 9. Using Csound with MIDI. Setting Up a MIDI System. The MIDI Opcodes. Performance Considerations. 10. Other Options for Real-Time Use. OSC. Real-Time Audio Processing. Using Csound with Pd. 11. Creating Audio Effects. Delay. Reverb. Waveshaping. Chorusing. 12. Algorithmic Composition Using Python.

About the Author

Jim Aikin has written hundreds of articles on music technology for Keyboard, Electronic Musician, Mix, and other magazines. He is the author of POWER TOOLS FOR SYNTHESIZER PROGRAMMING, CHORDS & HARMONY, PICTURE YOURSELF PLAYING CELLO, and two out-of-print science fiction novels. His short fiction has appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and other magazines. He is also active as a hobbyist computer programmer, having released half a dozen freeware text adventure games. To learn more about his varied activities, visit

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Product Details

  • Series: Power!
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning PTR; 1 edition (January 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1435460049
  • ISBN-13: 978-1435460041
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 8.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,781,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David L. Phillips on March 22, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Disclaimer: I contributed a tiny bit of Linux-specific information to the book, so I might be a bit biased here.

I'm definitely biased by 20+ years of working with Csound, and as a long-time user I am pleased to see this book. There's no lack of documentation for Csound, but Csound Power provides a missing part - a normal user's introduction to the installation, configuration, and basic use of a deep and complex environment. Csound Power is relatively up-to-date (Csound development is a very active track), and the book's tutorial material includes an excellent introduction to Andres Cabrera's outstanding CsoundQt, a cross-platform IDE for writing, editing, and running Csound code. Other noteworthy material includes a great tutorial on building your own synthesizers (Jim's an expert on the topic) and a chapter titled "Thirty Opcodes You Must Know" that significantly reduces the new user's initial confusion when faced with Csound's hundreds of opcodes (i.e. processing modules). Another neat chapter presents the possibilities when Csound connects with other interesting music and sound software - e.g. Max/MSP, AbletonLive, Pure Data (Pd) - by using MIDI or OSC messaging, or by writing control programs in general-purpose computer languages such as Java and Python.

Minor critiques: No information regarding Csound on mobile devices, and no disc with code examples and other relevant material. Frankly, neither lack bothers me at all, but some may wonder why it's missing. Development of Csound for mobiles has only recently begun to move forward, I doubt there was much relevant information available while Jim wrote the book. Regarding the disc-with-code: Sorry, I'm Old Skool, I think it's good practice to copy the (usually brief) examples into an editor.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R Foose on February 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Csound Power is a welcome addition to the library of books dealing with this powerful audio program. I received my copy yesterday, and am about halfway through a first reading. The book is geared to be an introduction to creating music with csound, as opposed to a more in-depth explanation of all its features and uses. (For which see the Reference Manual and Boulanger's 'Csound', in particular). It compares to the recently released FLOSS manual for Csound in that it selects a subset of the 'unit generators' for discussion. But unlike the FLOSS manual, it goes into greater depth about installing and configuring both the Csound program and the Csoundqt front-end. The thirty-plus unit generators discussed are certainly enough to enable someone new to Csound to create interesting and/or remarkable music with the program, and they are certainly enough to establish a good base of understanding for further exploration. Along the way, the author includes his own tips for use and other bits of helpful information. Anyone with a basic knowledge of how sound is created and how music is organized will be able to profitably use the book. I was a bit surprised at the book itself. It's dimensions were large than I anticipated. The typeface is also a bit bigger than other Csound books I have, but not by a lot, and it does make reading easier for an old guy like me. There is no CD to accompany the text, so you'll need to type in the examples yourself. This is actually a good thing, since it's really the best (if not only) way to learn to use Csound anyway. If you want to learn Csound, you will if you use this book.
(Note: I'd give it five stars..but I'm not done reading it yet!!)
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By Lim Pier on June 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
CSound is really big - this book cuts through the chase and brings what's essential for the average person to start making music to the table. Recommended.
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