- Series: The MIT Press
- Paperback: 782 pages
- Publisher: The MIT Press; PAP/CDR edition (March 6, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0262522616
- ISBN-13: 978-0262522618
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.3 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #306,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Csound Book: Perspectives in Software Synthesis, Sound Design, Signal Processing,and Programming PAP/CDR Edition
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-- Max Mathews, Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Stanford University
" This is the most important book written in the last decade in the field of electronic music. Together with the new Csound technology, it will revolutionize electronic music." -- Max Mathews, Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Stanford University
& quot; This is the most important book written in the last decade in the field of electronic music. Together with the new Csound technology, it will revolutionize electronic music.& quot; -- Max Mathews, Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Stanford University
"This is the most important book written in the last decade in the field of electronic music. Together with the new Csound technology, it will revolutionize electronic music."--Max Mathews, Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Stanford University
This is the most important book written in the last decade in the field of electronic music. Together with the new Csound technology, it will revolutionize electronic music.―Max Mathews, Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Stanford University (Endorsement)
Written for the technically astute, The Csound Book and its accompanying CD-ROM provide a vast resource for seasoned Csound users to expand their use of the language. With its numerous examples and tutorials, this tome also makes Csound more accesible to a new generation of more musically-oriented individuals. As such, it marks a potential turning point in the field of computer musci. This is an important text.―Marcia Bauman, Composer, co-creator of the International digital Electroacoustic Music Archive at Stanford University (Endorsement)
This book provides both a theoretical introduction and practical hints to use Csound and to tailor it to the reader's own needs. It is an excellent tutorial and much more, since a host of distinguished contributors make their own developments available. I look forward myself to developing my own sonic and musical tools with the Csound Book.―Jean-Claude Risset, composer, Directeur de recherche, Laboratoire de Mecanique et d'Acoustique of CNRS (Endorsement)
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I almost dinged this book another star when I opened it up and discovered that it no longer comes with CDs. No problem, I thought. I'll go to the URL provided in the text and download the files. Oops, no files there. Just an e-mail link to request them from the webmaster at MIT Press. Well, the folks at MIT Press were very responsive, and I had the supplemental files on my roll-your-own CDs less than 24 hours later. No harm, no foul. Just FYI: I was given FTP access to two ISO images totaling about 1.2 gigabytes. Good thing I wasn't on dialup.
So, let me stress that, as of November, 2014, you'll need to request the supplemental files from MIT Press. This wasn't mentioned in any of the reviews here, but most of them are some years old. If you're like me and you learn best from hands-on experimentation, you're gonna want that material.
OK, here's the scoop from the perspective of a computer-savvy novice in computer music. First, CSound has a formidable learning curve. Unlike Reason or GarageBand or many other current consumer-level music programs, you don't just draw notes in instrument or loop tracks and mix them down into music. If you're here looking for CSound guidance, you probably already know this. The book is heavy on acoustic theory and the theory of sound production (that's SOUND, not just music). CSound gives you enormous control of SOUNDS at the most fundamental level. Whether or not they sound MUSICAL is an entirely separate discussion.
Second, I would have probably considered returning the book to Amazon were the folks at MIT Press not so responsive in providing the supplemental materials. You really need some of that stuff. Copying instrument parameters from the text into an editor would waste a lot of time and offer lots of chances for typos. More important, many of the chapters seem to provide instrument code (.orc), but not fully elaborated score code (.sco) in which to give instruments a workout. SCORE CODE IS ON THE CDS! Good to know. And, having immediate access to MP3 samples of the many, many instruments in action should aid your study.
One final caveat: this book dates from 2000 and the CD material is from generally the same period. The newest version of CSound I could find on the CDs was version 4-something and I'm using 6.03.1 on my iMac. Sound is sound and the fundamentals of producing it digitally are what they are. Still, the book was written when Windows XP was a "thing" and most Mac users were still using the Classic OS. There may well be code on the CD that uses opcodes that have been deprecated or which have seen a change in their required parameters. Our mileage is likely to vary.
My initial rating will be four stars, but only because the lack of supplemental material could have been a significant problem and wasn't mentioned previously. Perhaps I'll revise it to "five" after I've had a chance to delve into those 700-plus pages.
Many have lamented the terse documentation of the Csound manual since it does not provide sufficient examples of how the various opcodes and features of the language may be used by composers and researchers. The Csound Book succeeds brilliantly in filling the void. Even for the seasoned computer musician, the text provides numerous opportunities for "ah ha!" moments and spurs renewed creative responses to musical problems. Part of the reason for this lies in the abundant resources of the language itself and its continued development and refinement by members of the Csound community.
This is a great companion book, allowing the reader to explore practical applications of concepts such as Fourier synthesis, digital filter theory, chaotic systems, reverberation, and algorithmic composition. This is accomplished very elegantly and always with reference to direct experience with the aid of numerous examples of Csound code. The book serves an important function by providing concrete examples of myriad synthesis methods, digital signal processing techniques, and specialized applications within one conceptual framework.
This book is full of excellent graphics, uniform and well commented coding examples, illustrative instrument-design flowcharts, thorough indexing, appendices of various kinds, all of it extremely well edited. There is an impressive unity to the text even though different authors have written the various chapters.
There is a treasure trove of instruments and compositions contained on the CD-ROMs. Many of these are by established composers of computer music and by the authors of the various chapters. Others, however, are by students from around the world. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in computer music in general and Csound specifically.