Introduction to the Eastman Csound Library
(This section last updated August 2004, Allan Schindler)
The Eastman Csound Library, the topic of this extract from the Eastman Computer Music Center Users’ Guide, is a collection of front-end programs, "instrument" algorithms, score file preparation programs and assorted utilities designed to simplify ECMC/CEMC users’ introduction to, and use of, the Csound music compiler. Csound is a widely used software audio synthesis and signal processing package, available at no cost under the LGPL (Lesser General Public License) from the Csound Home Page web site (http://csounds.com) inversions Linux (and other flavors of Unix), Macintosh and Windows.Csound initially was developed on Unix systems during the 1980s by a team led by Barry Vercoe at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and employed a commands issued from shell windows. During the 1990s the Csound programs were ported to Macintosh, Windows and other platforms. Today, cross-platform development of the "canonical" (official) Csound source code continues by a world-wide group of Csound users, coordinated by John Ffitch, who update "canonical" (officially supported) versions of the language.
Like other software music compilers (such as Cmix and cmusic) that have been written at academic computer music centers, Csound has its roots in the very first music compilers, called Music I through Music V, written by Max Mathews at Bell Labs beginning around 1957. In most of these compilers, the fundamental means of creating or modifying sounds is a user-defined synthesis or signal processing algorithm, called an instrument inCsound. The algorithm consists of a step-by-step sequence of mathematical and logical operations, coded in the Csound compiler language, and then executed by the CPU. Often, these operations are very similar to the types of operations that takeplace within the electrical circuits of hardware synthesizers, amplifiers, mixing consoles and other types of audio gear. Aparticular instrument algorithm, which generates a particular type of audio signal or timbre, might be likened to a particular "patch" available on a hardware synthesizer or sampler. Alternatively, analgorithm might add reverberation, or echos, to a previously created soundfile, or to the audio signals being generated simultaneously by some other instrument within the same compile job.
Read more in the attached PDF.