SuperCollider 101

Workshop Date: 
Mon, 07/09/2012 - Fri, 07/13/2012
 Bruno Ruviaro and Fernando Lopez-Lezcano

SuperCollider Workshop

SuperCollider is one of the most powerful programming environments for real time sound synthesis and processing, algorithmic & generative composition, and many other audio related applications. It is widely used by artists and scientists alike for both research and actual artistic creation. It features a powerful state-of-the-art sound engine and an easy to learn, fully featured object oriented language. Moreover, it is open source and totally free of charge. SuperCollider works on Linux, Mac, and Windows.

This five-day intensive workshop welcomes participants of any discipline with or without prior programming or musical experience. The class is aimed at musicians, composers, researchers, sound artists, programmers, and all computer & electronic music enthusiasts interested in learning more about SuperCollider. If you have no prior experience, we will guide you through the creation of your first sounds, instruments and musical structures in SuperCollider. If you have some prior experience with SuperCollider or other similar software, you will be able to move more quickly into advanced topics with help and advice from the instructors.

This is a project-based class in which you will learn practical skills along with the study of technical, theoretical and artistic related topics. People of all computer skill levels are welcome in this learning environment. Participants immediately start working on projects the first day and are expected to finish a short piece by the last day. We will end the week with a listening session where all participants will play and discuss their final projects.

The workshop will alternate morning classes and afternoon hands-on lab sessions. Morning classes will cover the basics of the SuperCollider language, introducing computer music theory topics as needed, as well as looking at musical examples and analyzing useful code snippets. Afternoon lab sessions will include practical coding exercises proposed by the instructors, and work on individual projects. This is the time to try things out and solidify what you have learned in the morning, with direct help from the instructors to answer your questions.

Participants will have access to the state-of-the-art facilities at CCRMA, including two multichannel composition studios. You may use your own laptop during the workshop; alternatively, you may use one of the several CCRMA workstations available in the building.

Topics to be covered:

What is SuperCollider and how it compares to other programming environments such as Pd and Max/MSP;
UGens (Unit Generators): oscillators, filters, delays, granulators, etc.;
Overview of synthesis techniques: additive, subtractive, AM, FM, granular synthesis;
Building your own Synth Definition (SynthDef);
Synth Server & Language
Using external controllers (MIDI or OSC)
Tasks, Routines, Events, Patterns
Building GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces) in SuperCollider.
Algorithmic composition
Fundamentals of spatialization techniques (ambisonics, amplitude panning, VBAP, reverberation)

If you plan to use your own laptop, please install and test SuperCollider before the workshop starts. We will of course try to help troubleshooting your install if it does not work, but it it would be immensely helpful if you have a working setup when the workshop starts.
If you are not sure how to install SuperCollider, or cannot bring your own laptop, you will have a CCRMA desktop computer available for you for all afternoon lab sessions and individual work.

You can download SuperCollider from:

And you can get started with help from:

Screenshots, anyone?

SuperCollider on PlanetCCRMA

SuperCollider on PlanetCCRMA Linux (Fedora)

SuperCollider on the Mac

SuperCollider on Linux

Another Mac screenshot...

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