Csound: (supposedly) extremely versatile and powerful “audio rendering” application/language — *IF* you can ever wrap your mind around how the damn thing works!

I consider myself to be at least fairly intelligent.  I am also a “multi-instrumentalist” (to a imited extent — guitar/banjo/mandolin/bass/keyboards, etc.).   Having said that, I’m not entirely sure why I’m interested in Csound.

Supposedly, it’s am amazingly versatiile application/language.  (Several of hte Csound references I’ve consulted describe it as an “audio renderer”.)   The “core” Csound application is a command-line (non-GUI), and is essentially an “audio compiler” (in that you can “program” Csound via specially-structured text files.

Now, here’s the thing:

Csound has to be just about the most blatantly obscure (to the point of being almost-totally incomrehensible)  thing I’ve ever encoungered.

Oh, sure: I managed to download, install and run the thing.  I also managed to download and install several of the “front-end” applications (which claim to make using csound more “user friendly”).   So far — WinXound (a specialized text-editor for the 3 types of Csound files), Blue, and cabbage.

So, yeah: I managed to get stuff installed.  THEN I attempt to consult the various “manuals” or “tutorials” — and end up completely and utterly mind-boggled.

The “Canonical Csound Manual”.  The “FLOSS” (Free, Libre, Open-Source Software) Csound manual.   The “Alternative” Canonical Csound manual.  Boulanger’s “Csound Audio Design TOOTorials” — even the “manual” from the (ill-fated) OLPC project  (They subjected SMALL CHILDREN to this thing, seriously???????)

So I (mistakenly) think that getting the “Csound BOok”  (which is supposedly the “definitive reference and instructional work” for Csound would be helpful.  Unfortunately for me, “new” copies appear to cost anywhere from $75-$100.  “Used” copies are somewhat more reasonable.

So I luck into what I mistakenly see as a gold-mine opportuny: a (heavily) used copy of the Csound book, for less than $5, including shipping!

Cool part is: it even includes the CD-rom.

Problem is: The book itself is confusing to the point of being nearly incomprehensible.

Really: I cannot be this stupid.  It has to be (at least partially)  the fact that everything related to Csound appears to have a horrifyingly steep learning-curve.  (The “first” tutorial — which, when rendered, merely genereates a 440-hz sine wave for a few seconds — is almost too syntactically obscure for me to comprehend.

I am — exceedingly — perplexed, and more than a bit annoyed, at this point.

I am NOT this stupid!  I simply CANNOT be this stupid!

 

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