[chuck-users] report on my first livecoding gig

Loscha loscha at gmail.com
Sat Jun 2 13:23:55 EDT 2007

On 6/3/07, David Powers <cyborgk at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > I am finding almost all of the "Academic" music kids at my local
> > > Dorkbot (Melbourne, Australia) are using Max for their work, simply
> > > because it was what their lecturers used. I am hoping to change their
> > > opinions on the matter, and expose them to ChucK!
> >
> > Yes, that was the exact case here. Marcel, who organsed this, teaches
MAX so
> > most competitors were his students. MAX is great, nothing wrong with
> > but I would've liked more diversity in this competition (I saw one other
> > night as a spectator). After this finale I suspect next season will see
> > diversity.
> >
> I am getting really tired of how "MAX-centric" (not to mention
> mac-centric) everyone who does any kind of experimental (or academic)
> electronic music is. I guess part of my annoyance is that it's
> prohibitively expensive, especially for a non-student. I can't afford
> either Max, or a Mac. But I just find it strange how people are really
> confused when I tell them I use PD instead of Max, and even though PD
> is free nobody seems interested in using it. Max just has some sort of
> "aura" of being the software you are "supposed" to use.

I have to say "Bump" on that about [Max/Mac] -centricity.

I respect Max (hey, it's named after one of my top 5 heroes of music), and I
have utmost respect for the work that people like Brad does; Adding ~chuck
into Max is awesome. It's a level of coding I will never aspire to, but, as
Oppenheimer is misquoted as saying "Who'll bake the Bread?".

Please, allow me to indulge you all with a little tale about my history in
"computer music".
 I remember trying to get into CSound back in 1996. I was poorer than a
student -- I was on mediocre welfare, living a small town where I had to
struggle to get access to a computer with a CD-ROM drive (remember
Caddies?). I had to pay to download software at my local town library.
Through a bizarre chain of events through someone's website I'd learned
about CSound, and this place called IRCAM (where they were doing the vocal
effects for a foreign film Farinelli was done). I was spending the majority
of my luxury money on copies of Future Music and Sound on Sound because
these were the only publications I could get my hands on. It had software on
CDs. CDs! I would occasionally get to copy this stuff onto floppy disks
(spanned zips) and would play them on my woeful IBM made 386, no co-pro, no
sound, non upgradable PS2. With 2 megabytes of ram. I would run a CSound
example, y'know, toot1 toot2. Save them to 5K 8 bit sound files, then load
up Windows 3.1 where I installed a driver someone got for me from the
internet that played wave sounds through your PC speaker.

I thought I was so hardcore, and, in a lot of ways, I was.

I struggled with CSound for a few weeks, but, due to overwhelming lack of
technology, I never got back into it.
 Instead, I purchased a Synthesizer. I had Mark Vail's book on
"Synthesizers". I saw a Dx7IIFD in a store, it was potentially within my
price range -- if they'd let me pay it off over 3 months, which, joy -- they
did. I ended up getting it. I had NO IDEA about FM at all! It was an uphill
battle, but, I managed to get my hands on a copy of "FM Synthesis..." by
Chowning & Bristow.
That was a whole other kettle of fish. I have a livelong obsession with FM,
as you can tell from my website www.loscha.com, particularly the
www.loscha.com/ybb page. I've been collecting FM synthesizer service manuals
for quite a while, datasheets of different chips, and even old soundcards
with discrete FM chips. I dabble in electronics engineering, so, I might
make something from the YM3812s one day).

It wasn't until 2002 that I owned a computer fast enough to consider doing
serious music on (Duron 800) which is what I am using for Chuck, and trying
to get into Pd a bit, too. I prefer to use open source sound software
whenever possible, I've purchased some software over the years -- well,
purchased is a loose term. I've had it purchased for me by caring family
members and a few donations from caring fellow musicians.

 I believe in ChucK, like there are a lot of people out there who believe in
Linux, that it can change the world, even in small ways.
ChucK will be able to run on Mobile Phones, soon (if it can't already).
Hopefully, those guys and gals who get Linux to run on FPGA boards the size
of playing cards will be able to squeeze ChucK on there, too. Imagine --
unplugging your USB cable from the side of a box the size of a pack of
cigarettes (not that I smoke), plugging in headphones and a few AAs -- and
listening to a beautiful piece of music a friend on the other side of the
world made last night, generated in real-time right there in your pocket?

 That would be truly beautiful.
And, you know what? I'm pretty sure I'll be alive to see it.

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