[chuck-users] osc guitar

Kassen signal.automatique at gmail.com
Tue Jul 10 09:48:45 EDT 2007

On 7/10/07, Joshua Patriquin <joshuapatriquin at gmail.com> wrote:
> Ge,

Hi, Joshua, sorry to answer a question not directed at me but Ge has been
bussy and off the list lately (last we heard he was in Beijing)....

I am just entering the world of programming and OSC, though I've been a
> musician for a long time, and am familiar with MIDI.
> I am assembling a guitar and would like very much to operate a computer
> using OSC and skipping MIDI altogether (in fact I would consider my project
> a failure if I must resort to MIDI).

Sounds very interestinmg and daring. Whatever you choose I'd love to hear
about your project to build a OSC guitar.

Several programs in the subworld of music electric ring out... Csound,
> yours, supercollider, etc.
> Why is yours better than the rest?

That's a excelent question. Personally I would never say ChucK is "better"
then Csound or Supercollider. Csound is very old and has facilities for many
things (nearly everything, realy), SC is very highly optimised and a far
more mature then ChucK is. It eould be far easier, objectively speaking, to
make a case ChucK is worse, it is for example young and experimental, it's
not at all unlikely that you would encounter a bug or two (but those are
definately on the way out and updates are quite frequent).

ChucK people tend to hold the odd belief that hunting bugs together build
comunity and that "experimental" equals "exciting".

How is it different?

Ah, here we get to the fun stuff. I tried to learn Csound and tried to learn
SC over the past years. I can still read most Csound programs but didn't
find it's syntax that apealing i also wasn't too content with the lack of
emphasis in realtime playing. SC I liked a lot conceptually but to read or
write it wasn't that intuitive to me. this wasn't helped by me running
Windows exclusively at the time and SC not fully suporting Windows at that

ChucK, however, nearly instantly "clicked" with me. Back then there were no
real tutorials beyond the examples and no manual yet so I started with
editing the examples and before I knew it I was having lots of fun. I can't
make any claims about the way anybody else functions I for me chucK was very
easy to pick up and I find it very easy and convenient to prototy new
instrument ideas ion ChucK very quickly. these days I code in ChucK a lot so
it's to be expected that I'm experienced with it but I keep being pleasantly
surprised just how quickly you can go from a idea to a working prototype.

Sorry for asking to be sold to, but I am a musician and not a programmer...
> I want to learn and need a place to start.

Well, in that case it's easy; I find ChucK is a excelent place to learn and
a place to start. It's quitre conceivable that after starting on ChucK you'd
find you'd like to also try something else, for example you might want to
try SC at that point because SC is typically lighter on the cpu and your
instrument might grow to need a lot of CPU at some stage. At that point,
however, you'd already have done most of your prototyping in a language that
I think is very suitable for this on account of bveing compact, readable and

One of the aims of ChucK is in fact being a good place to learn and start.
People who are far more knowledgable then I am can write papers on that
after testing it in classrooms to novice programers and musicians, I can
just say that I found that for me personally it works like a charm in that
capacity. I also moderate the ChucK-forum where I'm continually pleasantly
surprised to see it works for others as well; people who come in with no
experience and in a few days will be developing their own little utility to
do something usefull in their stdio or for their live setup.

So; i can't guarantee anything, there is no substitute for getting your
hands dirty but if we'd be betting i'd bet on ChucK being a good one to
learn and start with.

How should I interface my guitar (from RMC piezo system) with my computer (
> A brand new ripping machine) and with you software?

If you are sure you want to go with OSC for the connection I'd grab one of
those DSP development boards, one with a ethernet plug and definately one
with a good community around it where you could borow chunks of code. That
part would definately be more time-consuming then developing the ChucK code
to turn the resultant OSC into sound but if you do pull it off it'd be very

I'd say that's definately a advanced project and I think I'd recomend
starting out with something more modest but related.

Don't hesitate to ask more if you have speciffic questions but embedding
guitar => OSC boards isn't my own field of expertise.

Good luck, whatever you decide!

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