What does this program do?
I was hoping someone could help me understand the big picture when it comes to using Max/MSP. I am arriving at this program from an interest in computers / computational design rather than a musical and or producing background.
I guess the only reason why I think that matters is; either I am an idiot or the documentation never really mentions where this is all going.
I am on tutorial number 11 and we have yet to make a bleep or a bloop.
Also, what kind of musical hardware is worth buying to expand the potential of Max/MSP.
the big picture is just music
the Max tutorials are geared to MIDI
you start getting sound on #12 from a MIDI synth
or a sound font
you might try doing the MSP tutorials at the same time
use the help screens and the documentation for objects as well
hang in there – the beeps and boops are coming soon
Max/Msp is a program for making other programs. By itself, this is all it does. Consider it a visual enviroment for software design. To do anything useful with it, the programmer in you, must awake.
At 11:47 PM -0700 12/15/07, w corcoran wrote:
>I was hoping someone could help me understand the big picture when it comes to using Max/MSP. I am arriving at this program from an interest in computers / computational design rather than a musical and or producing background.
>I guess the only reason why I think that matters is; either I am an idiot or the documentation never really mentions where this is all going.
One way I like to think of Max/MSP/Jitter is to think of it as Lego for media. It’s sort of like a construction set to make the music/video environment that’s _just_ what you want (and also, probably, that just you want).
The way I use Max, the lines are blurred between tool building, tool using, and composing. One of the main things I’ve been using Max for is a program I use in conjunction with a modular synthesizer. A little info and a screen shot can be found here: http://www.xfade.com/Gyre
>I am on tutorial number 11 and we have yet to make a bleep or a bloop.
There are Max tutorials, and MSP tutorials. Bleeps, etc. don’t really start happening until the MSP tutorials. To a large extent you are well served by going through the Max tutorials before the MSP ones, IMO.
>Also, what kind of musical hardware is worth buying to expand the potential of Max/MSP.
A good audio interface is a good thing to have. Some sort of controller would also be good. Perhaps a MIDI interface. There are a variety of sensors that are used. The list of hardware that people are using with Max is pretty long.
Thanks. This is all very helpful.
I can’t tell you how inexperienced I am when it comes to dealing with musical production equipment. I am a drummer and would eventually like to buy a Roland V-Drums kit.
Is there any one piece of equipment that I could buy in the mean time which could help me make some music?
Also, the tutorials are great, but are there any examples of working programs online? It would be nice to see how a fully functional patch works.
At 9:51 AM -0700 12/16/07, w corcoran wrote:
>Also, the tutorials are great, but are there any examples of working programs online? It would be nice to see how a fully functional patch works.
I think you’re more likely to find smallish programs that solve a specific problem online.
I have a few examples that illustrate solutions to specific problems that people on the list were asking about here: http://www.xfade.com/max/examples
I also have a few more complete patchers here: http://www.xfade.com/max/
if you’re a drummer and interested in guiding your efforts in that direction you could pick up a 16-pad drum sequencer like Korg’s padKontrol. it’s also a lot easier to get into the bleeps & bloops with a midi controller (which you should be able to pick up easily enough on craigslist). to my knowledge though, it should be quite easy to send midi messages to the roland console and control different algorithms with max, trigger them with the drums, manipulate the produced sounds, etc. i think the best way to go about it is to imagine a certain project you want, try to build it, and then come back for help. this forum is regularly read by guys all over the world who just dream this stuff and do it.
While there are benefits to doing a lot of Max tutorials before starting to work with MSP tutorials its not the only path. I got into the world of Max/MSP through PureData (an open source system Max/MSP developed be Max’s creator Miller Puckette http://crca.ucsd.edu/~msp/). They way I learned PD (I later could apply the same knowledge to Max/MSP) was by using the drafts of Miller’s signal processing text that uses PD for the examples. I suggest looking at this book to anyone who wants to teach Max/MSP because Miller teaches audio processing (MSP) and message processing (Max) side instead of the separated aproach with the Max and MSP tutorials.
Miller’s book does deal heavily in the math involved with examples, but even if it seems math heavy for ones tastes, I still think it is a great way to get started because you work with synthesis right from the first chapter. You can’t go wrong combining Miller’s book with the Cycling74 tutorials :)
As far as going in order, I found that while the tutorials are sequential you don’t need to stick to it. Once you get a feeling how Max programing works and how to work with objects, don’t be afraid to look at the contents and skip ahead if there is something you want to learn about. Also looking at the help file for each object you see in a tutorial (right click the object in Max) is a big help–so is checking out all the "see also" links in those help files.
I have been on the web all day trying to track down all of these leads…this is great!
Following advice I decided I should be looking at the MSP documentation concurrently. Already opening my eyes.
I am also looking into making my first hardware purchase and would like to have a clear understanding of what is required to make some music before I buy anything…I am currently thinking about a Korg padKontrol per ruxtomikron advice…I watched a demo of this device online and it seems cool, but how does this interface with Max/MSP and/or how does Max/MSP augment the device?
Also, can someone help me understand what is typically used for audio playback?…how many channels are needed?…is this functionality part of what the Korg does?
Sorry such a dumbass…
you’d actually be using a lot of Max with a device such as that, being that it’s a midi controller. if MSP is what you want to eventually start creating with you’ll still have to use Max to communicate between the padKontrol and MSP. for example, there’s an object that i believe is called mtof that will take midi data and translate notenumber into frequency, and beyond that you can scale to your heart’s content, that is if you want to use a controller like that to generate tones.
if the controller doesn’t already have the midi output designation in the manual you’ll have to figure out which information is being sent via which pad, which is simple enough using the print object. after that you’ll just write down the values (look up a midi implementation chart online to make sure you know whether you’re transmitting notenumber, controller messages, etc. it’s also a good idea to just read about general midi). midi is sent in lists, being that every action has two list elements. the first one tells you what midi function you’re using, and the second one tells you the value of that function. some things, like keys on a keyboard, have multiple messages for what you would otherwise dismiss as a simple gesture (note on message, velocity message, note off message). this is something you’ll have to do for any device, especially the roland V drum module, unless the outs & ins are listed in a manual or online.
another thing you can do is send midi messages from max into something like a minimoog, in which case you’re sending all the note info via mapping software (Max/MSP in this case) and can have free reign over other module paramaters.
just a note, i’m not trying to give product endorsements here, i just know it’s one that i’ve been looking at for a couple of projects i’m working on. ultimately you’ll want to choose the one that’s right for your intents and your budget.
I like the "lego media" analogy. That’s great and right on the money. But unlike Legos you can have all kinds of sophisticated control and automation, presets, generation, etc….
I really think of MMJ as a programming environment, one that allows you to create and control all kinds of data streams. There also (just happens) to be several hundred Lego types that you can then hook up in all kinds of ways. Lots and lots of creative media-manipulation is possible–it’s very good to think outside the box of music / video, or at least the ways in which they’re approached in most programs.
For example, Max doesn’t come with a built-in editing interface for video like you might find in iMovie. But using Max you could make your own. If you want it to be another iMovie, you probably could do it, but it would take awhile… (and with free apps out there, there’s not that much point.) On the other hand, just messing with some simple interactions and effects, you can already create functionality that iMovie doesn’t have (example: effect changing with real-time recording, no compression / rendering time; triggering new videos with keystrokes; playing in MIDI notes while recording; mapping the video onto a rotating cube). There are a million other possibilities, as you will soon see.
So, FWIW, there’s a real "stripped-down" feel to Max that’s at first a bit confusing (blank slate, blank stare) but you grow to understand the possibilities fast. At some point you realize this, and if you keep tinkering you will repeatedly say to yourself… "holy crap, that’s wild that it can do that!" I’ve got a lot of hours under my belt and still say this many times a day.
Also, one of the best side-benefits of working with Max is that I see features in many other programs and know (for the most part, anyway) "how they did it", at least conceptually. This is not to say I could necessarily code them in C or whatever they used. The point is that I see how I could make either the same, an abridged, or an expanded similar function. *Most of the time* I at least know it’s possible, and lots of times, is quite easy with Max. I love that one person tinkering can make similar stuff that’s in pricey commercial apps—alone, without pay, in much less time! It really makes one wonder where the future of "programming" will be… graphical environments make a lot more sense to a lot more people than code does.
Enjoy the new world!
>First thing you’ll need is a sound card.
>If you’re on a mac, you don’t have to care, you’ve got the best
if you’re on a mac you can work with the audio inout of the mac (on
Kasper T. Toeplitz
noise, composition, bass, computer
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