dumb noob questions
i’ve been interested in max/msp for years now since i first heard of it, i bought it a couple years ago and have tried repeately to do anything with it but i’m an idiot and haven’t managed to get past the first couple tutorials before getting bored and just wanting to make music and using digital performer and reaktor or kontakt or whatever, but then i always come around to wanting to learn it again and not give up, however, unlike reaktor which you can immediately start messing around with (ensembles other people made which you can play with and or tweak or whatever) there seems to be absolutely no "instant gratification" with max and without any decent centralized user library it looks like i’ll have to build everything myself, so i was wondering, do you people build everything you use to make your music in maxmsp? like a sequencer, synths, samplers, and effects? how long did it take you to get functional with it to where you could compose entire songs with it? anybody use it with a host DAW program? if so what is needed to do this? is anyone willing to hook a complete idiot up with some patches just so i can get going and be able to do anything with it? also is there any easier way to learn this program without laboring through the tutorials?
It’s kind of hard without a class. I have a class on it and I feel I still hardly know anything.
This site will give you some cool synths to play with. You might be able to edit them if you go though some of the old tutorials.
i’d kill to take a class like that on max, unfortunately i’m in boston, which is pretty far from berkeley, or else i’d be on it in a heartbeat.
There is a Berkley college of music in Boston too.
I’m sure they have an MSP/MAX class.
There are also a million colleges in Boston. I’m sure you can find what you are looking for if you look hard enough and are willing to spend some money.
I was there! I knew I "should" learn Max/MSP, but I was having so
much fun in Logic/Pluggo. I owned Max/MSP for over a year before I
really got serious and jumped in. I even bought some hardware, like
an Akai sampler (I had pretty much sold off all my midi gear by this
point) which made the difference in learning Max, for me. I went
through the turtorials (in order in Max, then after about 6 months,
started learning MSP. (I also live a few blocks from Ben Neville, C74
programmer, and uh, that helped me a lot, too. :)
actually you’re right, berklee does have one as i’ve just found. i don’t know if i can take it though as it lists a ton of pre req classes, but since i’m not going for a degree perhaps i can take it.
i heard of someone at massart teaching a class which involved maxmsp before, i e-mailed the guy and never heard anything back.
but i will look into this berklee class.
> so i was wondering, do you people build everything you use to make
> your music in maxmsp? like a sequencer, synths, samplers, and
Yes, but I am not interested in sequencing so much…
> how long did it take you to get functional with it to where you could
> compose entire songs with it?
I do live electronics, the concept of a "song" has always been
suspicious to me. I sing a song, I don’t need Max for that… ;-)
If you think music is songs, you miss most of it…
> anybody use! it with a host DAW program? if so what is needed to do
Yes, I create Pluggos for ProTools – just Max/MSP is needed and a DAW of
> also is there any easier way to learn this program without laboring
> through the tutorials?
No, absolutely impossible, go through them, they will inspire you for
what you are missing…
   
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These are all helpful, but rather odd answers to me, similar to the odd question (no offence meant; it is also a good question). For me, Max is a programming environment, similar to a programming language, not a program for making music. Why do we program? Usually to answer a need which cannot be answered in another manner. I had collected a great number of needs over the years before I stumbled across Max, and had satisfied some of them by programming in C and C++, but Max is like a treasure chest of nice objects which someone else has already programmed, tested and standardized so that you don’t have to.
To just "start making music", I don’t require Max; I own a piano and a bunch of other instruments. The moment that I wish I could do something with an instrument which I can’t (like play the flute three octaves lower or sing in four-part harmony) I begin looking for a solution. Until now, Max/MSP has always allowed me to find that solution.
Yes, I nearly always build my own patches, although some of them start as the help-file(s) and grow from there. However, I don’t use Max/MSP alone. At the very least, I have a microphone and use the centuries of work that other people have put into the instrument I play. If I need a sampler, I can opt to use any of the samplers on the market, if they do what I need, and connect them to Max in one way or another. The same for synths, etc. It always comes down to the question: what do I need? If I need a sampled piano, I definitely won’t look to Max to supply it, because it already exists in nearly every sampler emulation or external machine, which let themselves be connected to Max with ease. If I need a MIDI-manipulation program which can turn the motions of a joystick into relevant information for a synthesiser, then Max can allow me to create one.
If I want an array of buttons, faders and other controllers which make music when I touch them, I don’t need Max, because there are a large number of companies making programs which do exactly that, and do it intuitively. In the moment, however, that I want one of those programs to do something which it wasn’t programmed to do, then Max becomes very appealing. For example, I want a fader which controls synth 1 in the lower 33% of its range, synth 2 in the middle and synth 3 in the upper range, I can easily create one in Max and use it to control the program I am already using.
Max allows you to create very cool random generators. It’s a lot of fun to create random phrase of music and import it into a sequencer.
Say you want a phrase of music based on a complex mathematical formula. It would be near impossible in a normal sequencer. Fire up max, add a dash of genius and you’re good to go.
The real fun comes when you start mixing music and movies. Jitter is where it is at.
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