[PD] newbie growing pains...

padawan12 padawan12 at obiwannabe.co.uk
Tue Feb 27 14:37:23 CET 2007

On Sun, 25 Feb 2007 02:50:55 -0500
"Chuckk Hubbard" <badmuthahubbard at gmail.com> wrote:

> Vanilla Pd is so low-level
> it's like working on the microsound level the whole time. 

A good thing for a composer to experience I reckon, at least for a while.
Improved understanding micro level gives an automatic useful
improvement at macro structure thinking. Sure, learning
DSP basics to get that insight is an expensive outlay of time, but
worth the benefits because if your range of understanding goes from top
to bottom you have a really open range of expression.

> 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.  

With Csound you get "medical student brain", loads of built in functions
parameter lists memorised by rote. Pd is nice because you understand 
what's going on because it's right in front of you, or because you built
it or can open it and see how someone else built it (abstractions).
And you can also get stuck right in and bend it and change it, great 
learning value, a big benefit of open source.
That and the help files. Pd has so many great well thought out
help files. When I was a total noob realising you could just
right click and get help was the fist major money shot.
I now properly "get" the reasoning behind the very anorexic Pd
core, with as much derived from as few objects as possible it becomes 
more portable. The more abstractions instead of externals the better 
in a way.

But it's not either/or with Pd cos it's also got a massive toybox
of funky externals is there to play with in extended when you want to just
have fun and not bother yourself with the exact gubbins of every object
you use. I had so much joy discovering things like g-canvas, vdn~ and
xplay~ , they really kept up interest and enthusiasm for the program.

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