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The SuperCollider Book (MIT Press) Hardcover – April 15, 2011
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This book documents the SuperCollider language to an extent never before achieved and shows how it can be used to realize a wide variety of musical and technical applications. The scholarship is sound, as the chapter authors are leaders in the field and deeply knowledgeable on how SuperCollider may be used, taught, and learned.(Robert Rowe, Director, Steinhardt Music Composition Program, New York University)
About the Author
Scott Wilson is Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Birmingham, England.
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I've used SC with Linux on & off over the past years. The SC Book has been a great inspiration for me to get back into this wonderful language - I'm primarily a Csound-based composer, but I'm always on the look-out for interesting developments in similar languages and systems. Btw, the only reason I didn't give it five stars is the absence of an accompanying disc, but in truth it isn't necessary, the book will guide you to all necessary resources. So okay, I'm really giving it four and a half stars. :)
1) The fact that it is written by so many different authors is a problem in itself. On one hand, you get a well-rounded, complete view of a myriad of different concepts and practices. On the other, there is very little connectivity between chapters, and as such it can be quite distressing to finish one chapter and then begin another feeling like everything you learned in the previous chapter doesn't apply anymore.
2) This book is very poor in terms of giving beginner examples. The first chapter starts you off well, but once you get past that, most every other chapter just dives right into very difficult and precise examples after giving very general conceptual explanations. Instead of saying, "You just learned how to add 1+1, so here's how you add 1+1+2", it often feels like "Now that you know how to add 1 and 1, here's how you do differential equations and lambda calculus". Oftentimes chapters will leave you feeling like you have a better understanding of what SuperCollider is capable of but with no means to actually apply any of it. Examples are generally very complex and poorly explained in terms of actually learning the language. There is NO hand holding, and if you don't know much about programming, it will take you a LONG time to understand what they're talking about and how to use their examples in a progressive, practical manner. The Help files on the IDE are almost more useful for examples than this book.
3) There is no "order" to how you learn programming concepts in this book. Learning standard programming from other sources was immensely enlightening because most of the time they teach you concepts in logically reasonable steps (i.e. statements to variables to conditionals to functions and objects to classes to arrays etc...) whereas in this book, it's all extremely scattered. I had NO idea how to use conditionals, loops, or classes in SuperCollider until I learned how to do it in a standard programming language and by that time I had already gotten very far into the SuperCollider Book.
My advice is to use a different book or to learn another, more standard language while you learn SuperCollider. It WILL help immensely and when you finally get this book (and you should definitely get it if you're serious about learning SuperCollider), you'll be much better off.