How Can It Be?

Well, each season we see the introduction of a new crop of excellent graphical tools and utilities that make Csound even easier to work with (see sidebar), but more importantly, the last year saw the release of a huge "patch-book" for Csound - The Csound Catalog with Audio ( With the "Catalog" tweaking is a piece of cake. It contains over 2000 working instruments that explore virtually every known synthesis and signal processing technique. And there is an MP3 preview of each file so you can check them all out instantly before choosing to render and modify those you find most interesting. This will save you both a ton of time and a ton of disk space too. In this final section of my master class, I will give you one example of how you might use a processing instrument from The Csound Catalog with Audio as a sample processor or post-production tool.

Before we dig in, I will offer some general advice to the Csound Catalog Tweaker:

1. Run the orchestra and score to make sure they are working correctly, then make a backup to modify.
2. Start by changing the values in the score to see how the instrument behaves within different ranges.
3. Substitute different waveshapes and functions. Use either the ones provided in the score, or add your own.
4. Substitute your own soundfiles in the orchestras.
5. Create hybrid instruments by adapting and combining the parts of several instruments you understand well.
6. Block-diagram the instrument to see how the signals flow and better understand the operation and algorithm.
7. Turn to the reference manual and read up on some of the opcodes used.
8. Credit the source of your mods. "Based on a waveshaping instrument by..." is the right thing to say.

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