Final Advice: Sequencing, Performing, and Composing with Csound

As you have probably determined by now, you can use Csound in a variety of ways to make music.

1. You could use Csound to synthesize textures, pads, drones, loops, and use them as audio tracks with your digital audio sequencing or PC-based mixing software.
2. You could use Csound to create samples, download and keymap them to your favorite hardware or software-based MIDI sampler, and sequence with this rich new library.
3. You could use Csound to process existing samples or audio tracks at virtually every stage of the pre and post-production process. You might use Csound on the final mix for equalization, compression, reverberation, acoustic modeling, or auditory localization.
4. You might design a family of efficient MIDI instruments in Csound and play them in real-time in your sessions or concerts. (I do.)
5. You might design MIDI instruments whose many parameters are assigned to MIDI controllers, and render this complex orchestra from a standard MIDIfile with both composed notes and controller data - automated sound design!
6. Finally, you might use Csound's .sco file and compose your entire piece using the traditional text-based notelist.

Obviously these last two approaches are the most tedious and least efficient ways of working with the language, but they are, in fact, the most lasting, the most valuable, and the most important. This is because a Csound composition rendered entirely from the scorefile or a standard MIDIfile is completely portable, cross-platform compatible, and as such can withstand the test of time.

Because the entire work can be completely realized and re-created perfectly each time it is rendered, the work will always be "performable." As long as the Csound language is ported to the newest computer platform, and as long as Csound is compiled for the newest operating system, your patches, your instruments, and most importantly, your Csound compositions, will be preserved.

If you are a young composer or sound designer, this may not seem like an important point. You may begin to feel differently once you've spent months to years developing an instrument library for a synthesizer that is no longer manufactured. Or maybe you will feel differently when your patches, your samples or your music are stored on a medium that is obsolete or just plain low fidelity by the standards of the decade. There is often no time and sometimes no way to go back.

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