[PD] some thinkings about Pure-data

e.pkelly e.pkelly at btopenworld.com
Thu Jun 26 19:38:39 CEST 2003


Learning PD (Pure Data) is a steep learning curve, but a rewarding one.

I have been working for three years on an interactive music system, which
analyses incoming audio and re-synthesises phrases of the audio stream
according to similarities in the parametric analysis of the audio. When
approaching PD I already had a background in MAX/Msp programming, and so
thought that PD would enable me to create software with the same flexibility
as MAX patches but without the commercial investment. As a student this was
very important, but as a believer that my patches might bring about new
tools for, and ways of thinking about interactive performance this became
doubly important.

After three years I have not published a single patch. I'll tell you why.

Without documentation a patch can be frustrating to use, especially if it
contains multiple abstractions (sub-patches which are called from within a
"master" patch). Very few of us are so financially enamoured (rich) to have
the time to create such documentation or so philanphropic, and the creative
process within such a flexible working environment is such that ideas
frequently overtake the realisation of such ideas. Furthermore, my patches
make use of many externals. Some of these are muli-platform, but others are
not. Windows and OSX users (for example) will find that my patches do not
work because the ggee library has not been ported to Windows! (Gunther, this
would be a good thing!)

PD as a multi-platform application invites diversity of development amongst
the community of users, who make everything from routing systems to music to
multimedia and graphics with it. The lack of a common "clique mentality"
(such as exists within the
Apple Macintosh community, particularly with regards to MAX/Msp) can inhibit
the sharing of source information (patches), yet in another more profound
way it encourages this by being platform-independent and open-source. How
many MAX/Msp sites contain source code (patches)? MAX/Msp allows the user to
make an app out of his or her patch, thus making any abstractions or uses of
objects unusable to the one who downloads this software. People are
protective of their ideas, especially in
a global media network such as the internet!
Does open source mean open access to all? There are lots of issues with
regard to this
which extend far beyond the PD-user community, and the debate goes on!

> I'm a french guy, I would like to participate on the possible translation
of PD
> documentation in French, Do you think it will be happened?

ja kan prata en liten svenska, mais je voudrais a (speak) francais tres bon!
Do it!

> I'm working on an interactive (sensors convert to midi) sampler with PD, I
> put it on the web.
> If anyone is working about the same idea, may be we can give ourself some

I've made a modification of the pitch-shifter engine (pd
documentation) combined with a playback engine, so that we can do any sample
at any pitch with any timestretch parameter. I'll put it on my site when my
site is up and running (sorry I can't do better right now!).


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