[PD] Does Pd have a "sound"?

Chris McCormick chris at mccormick.cx
Mon Feb 15 04:24:43 CET 2016

On 15/02/16 06:34, Alexandre Torres Porres wrote:
> yes it does have a sound, quite similar to Max, but rather distinct from
> SuperCollider (this one much "smoother" and "cleaner" or less "harsh"
> than the previous ones).
> I'm not sure why. Some say about the way SC works internally, with
> interpolation or wahtever, but I suspect the objects are coded differently.

Yep, and it is probably also to do with "defaults".

If a particular piece of software or instrument makes it easy to make 
e.g. an aliased square wave, you are probably going to end up with a lot 
of music with aliased square waves, even if it is possible to create 
anti-aliased square waves in the software.

If a particular piece of software makes it easy to generate thousands of 
oscillators, and provides examples for doing so, you are probably going 
to end up with a lot of music with layered oscillators.

If a particular piece of software has cryptography "on" by default, then 
more people are going to encrypt when using it.

Software influences and is influenced by culture. Pd (and other 
software) lends itself to a particular [compositional] culture and the 
code of Pd is in turn influenced by the culture of the people using it. 
I think there probably is a "Pd sound" and if there is then the 
software/culture interface is where it mostly comes from.

Then there are low level things like the treatment of interpolation, 
whether events occur on block boundaries, etc. that give a 
characteristic audio quality, as others described in this thread.

One example just struck me: in Pd it is easier to write patches that you 
can noodle with in a live setting than it is to write patches that 
strongly represent and reify concepts of structured time. As a result a 
lot of Pd work might be best described as "raw" and "live".




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