MaxMSP is a visual programming environment that helps you build interactive programs without any prior experience with coding.  MaxMSP is especially well tuned for working with audio, video, 3d, MIDI, and interactive systems. MaxMSP is split into several parts – Max handles discrete operations and MIDI, this is the easiest place to start getting familiar with the tool.  MSP deals with signal processing and audio.  And Jitter is for graphics rendering and video manipulation.

What can you do with Max/MSP?

Anything! or almost anything that you could possibly imagine for audio and video. Max/MSP is a vast toolbox, a user-friendly version of a programming language. It has a completely open structure and supports connections with many other software programs, robots, electronic instruments, smartphones, etc.


Max has a number of keyboard shortcuts and other helpful tools to improve your workflow and patching efficiency. Here are the very basics that you should commit to memory:

command-click any whitespace in patcherlock/unlock (interaction/editing)
option-click on objectopen the object’s help file
command-click on a GUI object (while unlocked)allows for manipulation of GUI object while patcher is unlocked
command-mopen Max Console
command-iopen Inspector (click on specific objects or right-click –> Inspector Window for Patcher Inspector)
option-dragselect multiple patch cords
command-y (with patch cords selected)auto-align patch cords
command-y (with objects selected)vertical or horizontal align (depending on context) of selected objects
option-click+dragduplicate objects
command-dduplicate objects (auto-alignment if done after using option-click+drag)
shift-click inlets/outletscreate multiple patch cords for inlets and outlets
bmake a button (bang)
ccomment box
ffloating point number box
iinteger number box
mmessage box
nnew object
tmake a toggle (0/1)
xshows a menu describing the key commands


Video Tutorials

Books on Max and/or Interactivity

  • Cipriani, Alessandro, and Giri, Maurizio. Electronic Music and Sound Design: Theory and Practice with Max 7. Volume 1, 3rd edition. Rome: Contemponet, 2016.
  • Cipriani, Alessandro, and Giri, Maurizio. Electronic Music and Sound Design: Theory and Practice with Max. Volume 2. Rome: Contemponet, 2014.
  • Dodge, Charles and Thomas A. Jerse. Computer Music: Synthesis, Composition, and Performance, 2nd ed. New York: Schirmer Books, 1997.
  • Moore, F. Richard. Elements of Computer Music. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1990.
  • Puckette, Miller. The Theory and Technique of Electronic Music. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co., 2007.
  • Roads, Curtis, et al. The Computer Music Tutorial, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1996.
  • Rowe, Robert. Interactive Music Systems. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1993.
  • Rowe, Robert. Machine Musicianship. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001.
  • Taylor, Gregory. Step by Step: Adventures in Sequencing with Max/MSP. Cycling ’74, 2018.
  • Winkler, Todd. Composing Interactive Music: Ideas and Techniques Using Max. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1998.