- Book author
- Thor Magnusson
The Scoring Sound book is a creative audio coding tutorial for the SuperCollider audio synthesis programming language. SuperCollider 3 was released as open source software in the early 2000s and has been one of the key programming languages for sound, music and instrument design for two decades. The book covers the basics of sound synthesis (additive synthesis, subtractive synthesis, frequency modulation, granular synthesis, etc.) and introduces the inbuilt tools for algorithmic composition. SuperCollider is ideal for instrument design and Scoring Sound introduces how the language communicates with the external world through Open Sound Control, MIDI, network, and hardware protocols.
This book is an outcome of teaching SuperCollider in various British higher education institutions since 2005, in particular at the Digital Music and Sound Arts programme at the University of Brighton, Music Informatics at the University of Sussex, Sonic Arts at Middlesex University and Music Informatics at the University of Westminster. Lacking the ideal course book, I created a tutorial that I’ve used for teaching synthesis and algorithmic composition in SuperCollider. The tutorial’s focus was not on teaching SuperCollider as a programming language, but to explore key concepts, from different synthesis techniques and algorithmic composition to user interfacing with graphical user interfaces or hardware. I have subsequently used this tutorial in diverse workshops given around the world, from Istanbul to Reykjavik; from Madrid to Rovaniemi.
An earlier version of this book was published on the DVD of The SuperCollider Book1 publised by MIT Press. The SuperCollider book is an excellent source for the study of SuperCollider and is highly recommended, but has different aims than this current book as it goes deeper into more specific areas, whilst the current book aims to be present a smoother introduction, a general overview and a specific focus on practical uses of SuperCollider. The original tutorial was initially released as .sc files, then moved over to the new .scd document format, and finally ported to the .html format that became the standard help file format of SuperCollider. SuperCollider documentation has now gained a new and fantastic documentation format which can be studied by exploring the new documentation system of SuperCollider. However, with this updated tutorial, I have decided to port it into a more modern ebook format that would be applicable in the diverse readers on different operating systems. I have chosen Lean Publishing as the publication platform for this rewriting, as I can write the book in the attractive markdown format and use github for revision control. Furthermore, I can publish the book ad-hoc, get real- time feedback from readers, and disseminate the book in the typical modern ebook formats appropriate to most ebook readers.
The aim with this book is the same as my initial tutorials written in 2005, i.e., to serve as a good undergraduate introduction to SuperCollider programming, audio synthesis, algorithmic composition, and interface building of innovative creative audio systems. I do hope that my past and future students will find this work useful, and I sincerely hope that it also is beneficial to anyone who decides to embark upon the exciting expedition into the fantastic and enticing world of SuperCollider: the ideal workshop for people whose creative material is sound.
I encourage any reader who finds bugs, errors, or simply would like a better explanation of a topic to give me feedback through this book’s Discord Server2.
Brighton, June 2013 - Reykjavik, April 2021.