What is Csound?

Csound is a programming language designed and optimized for sound rendering and signal processing. The language consists of over 450 opcodes - the operational codes that the sound designer uses to build "instruments" or patches. Although there are an increasing number of graphical "front-ends" for the language, you typically design and modify your patches using a word processor. Usually, you create two text files - a .orc (orchestra) file containing the "instruments," and a .sco (score) file containing the "notes." In Csound, the complexity of your patches is limited by your knowledge, interest, and need, but never by the language itself. For instance, a 22,050 oscillator additive synthesizer with 1024 stage envelope generators on each is merely a copy-and-paste operation. The same goes for a 1 million voice granular texture! Have you ever dreamed of sounds such as these? Well in Csound you can. And in Csound these dreams can come true!

The 450 opcodes in the Csound language range in power and complexity from a basic oscil (table-lookup oscillator) and linen (linear envelope generator), to the full-blown waveguide physical modeling family that includes wgbow, wgclar, wgflute, and wgbrass. There are familiar analog modeling opcodes such as adsr, lfo, vco, and even a moogvcf. There are opcodes for reading and processing samples such as soundin, diskin, reverb, and sndwarp and opcodes for doing phase vocoder resynthesis and FFT-based cross-synthesis such as pvoc, pvadd, and pvcross.

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mastering.zip contains the accompanying Csound .orcs and samples discussed in this tutorial

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