Score11 Quickstart Guide

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For the Impatient

lsex sc


score11 NEWFILE


csound -d orc sout

play test.wav


This guide is intended as a cheat-sheet for users already familiar with the basic operation of accessing and compiling Score11/Csound score and orchestra files on Cornell systems.  Below are the basic steps to start making sound right away as well as a few helpful tips for speeding up the process of using Csound with Score11.

The easiest way to learn Score11 syntax and operation is to use the examples provided on Cornell systems.  To list the available Score11 examples, type:

lsex sc

This will list all examples by name. To access any one of these examples, type:


…where EXAMPLE_NAME is the same of the example from the list.

This will display the example text in the terminal window.  To capture this output as text to edit or save, rerun the getex command, this time capturing the output to a file using the Unix redirection (>) syntax:


…where NEWFILE is the name you wish to give to it.

You now have a copy of the example in your home directory, ready to edit.  To process the file with score11 (since it is a ready-to-tuse example on its own), simply type:

score11 NEWFILE

…where NEWFILE is again the file you captured with getex.  This will create a new file, an output named sout.  This is Score11’s default output name.  It will overwrite the previous sout file if one existed.

Remember that the sout file can always be regenerated from the original Score11 file.

Once the sout file has been generated, we now need and accompanying orchestra file.  A list of all available instruments can be viewed with:


In almost all cases, the orchestra name is simply the same name as the root name of the example.  So marimba1, marimba2, and marimba3 all using the MARIMBA orchestra.  To generate the matching orchestra file automatically, type:


…which stands for “make orchestra”, where INSTRUMENT_NAME is the name of the instrument you wish to generate (MARIMBA, for example).  This command will create a usable Csound orchestra named orch.orc. or simply orc for short.  You are now ready to make sound using the sout from score11 and the orc from mko.  To do this type: from

csound -d orc sout

Notice the addition of the “-d”.  This will suppress the display window that ordinarily pops up.  Leave out the “-d” if you wish to see this window.

Csound will output an audio file compiled from the note/event list you gave it from Score11 and the orchestra/instrument generated with mko.  To listen to the result, by default named “test.wav” written to your current working soundfile directory, just type:

play test.wav

Note: If you are running Score11/Csound from a remote computer, playing the soundfile will actually play the sound ON THE REMOTE SYSTEM.  If you wish to listen the result locally, simply copy the .wav file from the remote system using an scp client (GUI or command line).  See here for more information.

Some Helpful Shortcuts 

Because many of the commands listed above output default filenames such as sout or test.wav, standard Unix shortcuts like !sc (reruns the most recent command starting with “sc”, in this case score11) or !cs (reruns the most recent command starting with “cs”, in this case csound,) can be quite helpful.  In the process of working you will often be making small changes to the notes/events in your Score11 file, then re-running score11/csound to regenerate the soundfile with those changes.  It saves time and typing to simply do:




Notice that third, command.  It will also rerun your “play” command.  The cycle can then continue.  Make your changes, run !sc, !cs, !p and listen to the result.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

Advanced users will notice further that Unix allows you to execute more than one command in sequence on the same line by simply separating them with a semi-colon (;), like this:

score11 NEWFILE ; csound -d orc sout ; play test.wav

This will be treated as a single command sequence.  So running !sc will now RERUN THE ENTIRE LINE (remember, it runs the most recent command starting with “sc”), meaning the user can rerun all steps needed to generate a soundfile in this one command.

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