Max/MSP is a visual programming language/environment that is great for building interactive sound systems–we’ll call these systems “patches”. Max is built around the concept of “objects”, which are modules that perform specific functions. For example, there is an object called “cycle~” that produces sine tones, and another object called “metro” that sends out a pulse at specified intervals. By connecting objects you are able to quickly build complex systems that allow you to flexibly manipulate sound in real-time. We’ll talk more about the affordances and constraints of the max/msp paradigm throughout the semester, but for this first workshop, I will introduce you to the Max/MSP interface and together we will build a simple patch for making sound. Please install Max on your computer and follow the instructions below before class.

  1. Install Max/MSP — the fully functional demo lasts for 30 days, feel free to use it in demo mode and then decide how you want to pay for it. There are a few payment options for students–academic pricing | $9.99 / month | $59 / year | $250 / ∞
  2. Create a new folder on your computer to keep all the Max patches you work on in this class and beyond–I’ve got a folder called “Patches” where I keep most everything I make in Max. Organization is an important part of programming.
  3. Open up the program and poke around. If it seems like an alien spaceship, don’t worry! We’ll start from the beginning and I’ll explain the basics in class.