COMPUTER MUSIC GAMING : An Introduction to SuperCollider
with Ezra Buchla
Date & Time
March 7, 2009, 12pm–3pm
Machine Project
$55 for members
$75 for non-members

SuperCollider is a fast, interpreted programming environment for producing and processing audio.


SuperCollider is analogous to systems like Max/MSP, but it is open-source and in many ways much more powerful.

However, there is no built-in graphical interface for making patches; it is done entirely with an object-oriented code syntax that inherits from LISP and Smalltalk. This fact makes learning SuperCollider an intimidating prospect for many people; the intention of this workshop is to alleviate such anxieties!

We will dive superfast into the process of making noise with SC, chaining basic processing units in the manner of a modular synthesizer.

Then we will perform some interactive music game excercises, and talk about some of the many, many ways to use SC to manipulate sound in time, algorithmically and interactively.

Along the way, we will encounter lots of fundamental concepts about digital audio and sound synthesis in general, with explanations as needed, and as time allows.


Non-programmers should find this a moderately relatively painless introduction to looking at code. Have courage!

People with even a tiny bit of programming experience should be totally fine.

Experienced programmers who have never seen SC should find it quite amusing.

Experienced SC users may not learn much, but should still able to have fun.


Bring your own computer.

Your computer should have some kind of speakers (laptop speakers are fine, headphones are nice).

Wireless connectivity is a plus since we might try some networked music games (if technical obstacles allow.)

You probably want to try installing and running SuperCollider beforehand; look here: http://supercollider.sourceforge.net/downloads/ and be sure to get the right package for your operating system.

Macintosh users should have a very easy time installing and running SC.

Linux users, you should really know their way around their system, since I won’t so much, and you really should check out the installation process and dependencies well in advance. You may also want to consider a live distribution with SC built-in, like pure:dyne – http://code.goto10.org/projects/puredyne/

The Windows version of SC is a little different and lacks some features, but it should work fine (make sure your Java is up to date!)

Please contact me with questions! ezra.buchla@gmail.com

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