The Living Thing / Notebooks :


a less irritating audio programming language

Cabbage Studio for Csound is an alarmingly modern experience
    for people used to the classic Supercollider_ UI,
    whose characteristic widget is
    ERROR: Message 'foo' not understood. RECEIVER: nil. *(sic)* Source: Cabbage audio

Csound is an audio coding language. It is Supercollider’s uncle by marriage. Actively developed. Eccentric. Permissive licensing. Smallish. Clean API. Thus, it works beautifully with other languages, which is unusual.

Learning resources

There are various books:



Check out this minimal invocation of the csound api.

#include "csound.h"
int main(int argc, char **argv)
    // Create Csound.
    void *csound = csoundCreate(0);
    // One complete compile/perform cycle.
    int result = csoundCompile(csound, argc, argv);
    if(!result) {
    while(csoundPerformKsmps(csound) == 0){}
    // Destroy Csound.
    return result;

You'll need this API capability, because its interactive capabilities are, AFAICT, minimalist; a decent external sequencer is necessary for live work.

Csound committer Michael Gogins has put it to me that javascript is natural for this niche, and indeed, he has written a lot of code to this end.

Examples of various Foreign Function Interface invocations (lua, python, go) are in the manual. There is a repository of such examples, in fact.


There are a few confusing options and you have to track the release notes to grok the difference.

I recommend you ignore most of them.

Use ctcsound, which is newer, based on ctypes, and runs in python 3. It is clean and easy. Note you may need to compile the latest version of csound to use it. It includes a port of icsound, which makes things easy.

The older interfaces are placed by the csound installer in an idiosyncratic fashion into the system python 2 packages folder, which is asking for trouble and I don't recommend it.

Moreover, python is, in turn, embedded in csound. Fractal infinite recursion left as an exercise.


IDEs, front-ends

There are in fact many frontends.

In addition to Cabbage, mentioned above,


Things I am currently reading: