[PD] newbie growing pains...

Chuckk Hubbard badmuthahubbard at gmail.com
Sun Feb 25 08:50:55 CET 2007

On 2/20/07, Derek Holzer <derek at umatic.nl> wrote:
> Hi Jared,
> for what it's worth, I've been working with PD for years and I still
> can't read most other people's patches ;-)
> Everybody has their own style, their own "handwriting", and some are
> more readable than others. Diving right into somebody's finished patch
> is pretty difficult for an experienced user, and almost impossible for a
> beginner, I'd say! If you were trying to learn German, would you start
> by reading Goethe?

Imagine learning English by reading Shakespeare.  I tried German with
Kafka, and, probably for the same reason I like reading him so much in
English, it was impossible.  Such long sentences.
James Joyce learned Italian from Dante Alighieri, and supposedly
caused a stir when he went to Italy talking like a medieval person.  I
obtained a book of Petrarch sonnets a few years ago, and half the
words were nowhere in any Italian dictionary.

> I learned PD by reproducing things which I understood already in stages,
> such as going from a quad-panner, a mixer, a sampler and a
> delay-network, to complex feedback-FM, a granular synthesizer and an
> algorithmic sequencer...etc etc.

I've found it impossible to make a granular synthesizer with Pd.  I
thought I tried everything.
I've gone from Csound to Pd, and back to Csound, and found I
understood Csound so much better for it.  Vanilla Pd is so low-level
it's like working on the microsound level the whole time.  I don't
know if it's because Pd is younger, or less popular, or just that it
hasn't accepted many externs into the mainline (as Csound has
ravenously), but unlike Max/MSP or even Csound, Pd has very few
effects you can realize without knowing *exactly* how the DSP behind
them works.  FFT is about the highest-level thing, and even that has
the bare minimum of automation.  Ditto with the user-friendly filters.
I don't feel like I'm even learning Pd anymore, so much as learning
DSP.  If I completely understand how some effect is created, it's no
trick to realize it in Pd.



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