[chuck-users] report on my first livecoding gig

Kassen signal.automatique at gmail.com
Sun Jun 3 13:39:24 EDT 2007

On 6/2/07, David Powers <cyborgk at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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 agree with a lot of what you are saying here. Max is fine and clearly it's
acessible and let's not forget that for some time it was the only system
that could do many of those things around and that institutions change at a
slower pace then bedroom-studio-ists do.

Personally I'm getting the imprssion that if you realy want to take
advantage of what Max can do you will quickly end up with a file that's hard
to manage and where doing those things isn't that accessible anymore, but I
have to add that I didn't seriously use it.

Aside from being able to afford to buy things; I think it's great that
trying ChucK is free. Low tresholds are a definate pre. I think this is
especially interesting in livecoding. The open-ness of that mode of
performing is realy harmed IMHO if systems are used that are hard to aquire.
Low tresholds are a definate pre in educational systems as well.

The same thing seems to apply to ChucK, except moreso, because code
> really intimidates these people. They are really using Max because
> they learned it in class, first, and second they rely on such a huge
> amount of pre-built stuff, and may have little understanding of basic
> coding logic. Now, I don't particularly want to build DSP from the
> ground up (I still don't understsand stuff like fft math very well, or
> basic filters), but working in PD and ChucK has, I believe, given me a
> much better idea of the logic of constructing generative works from
> scratch, so much so that I feel I could learn to do it in almost any
> environment at this point with a little patience. I highly doubt that
> the typical Max user could say the same.

I agree, mostly, but I got the impressiont that ChucK code is comparatively
un-intimidating. For one thing stuff like "maybe" and "=>" are very
intuitive and kind of funny, for another it's compact and there is (still)
no need or real use in importing lots of things all the time.

I also wanted to say that Kassen's report has really inspired me to
> try to get into livecoding by the end of the some, if I can ever get a
> break from writing crappy PHP for people's websites...

That's great to hear! I think we hardly scratched the surface of livecoding
yet. I'd love to see where it could go with different formats, more practice
and systems that get optimised for it as we start to understand what's
needed. I could for example well imagine that the Mini could get tools and
hotkeys that would be especially suited for that style of coding. It's most
definately a very exciting fieldd to dable in now.

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