[Feb 15/16] Exploring Audio in OpenFrameworks

Learn to program rich interactive audio applications. A workshop for those who love sound, music, and computing. Put away your patch cords and see how it feels to type a signal chain.

[Feb 15/16] Exploring Audio in OpenFrameworks

Jason Levine
Sat/Sun, Feb 15+16, 2014, noon to 6pm
Cost: regular $225, student/member $200

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596 Broadway, #602 | New York, NY 10012 | Phone: 212-431-1130
Subway: F/M/D/B Broadway/Lafayette, R Prince, 6 Bleeker

For Mac OS X only!

This two day workshop will acquaint participants with the glorious fusion of audio units with openframeworks.

About audio units/core audio

The Audio Unit Framework is a Mac OS X architecture for audio plugins similar to VST. Audio Units can be audio file players, effects(like delay or filter), samplers, synths, mixers, audio input/output and more. Audio Units can be chained to together to create a signal chain ( or graph ). Every Mac comes with a selection of basic audio units and many more can be downloaded for free or purchased. Normally, people experience audio units in the context of another program such as Logic Pro, Garageband, or Ableton. Futhermore, nearly every app that uses interactive sound, desktop or mobile, is using audio units under the hood. In the this class we will learn to program our own interactive sound/music apps .

About openframeworks

openframeworks audio unitsopenframeworks is an open source C++ library created for the purpose of empowering artists and creators.  It allows artists to express themselves through the exploration and manipulation of the data inside digital media at the deepest level. At the core, OF allows users to easily manipulate graphics, images, audio, video, and type. OF also comes with a set of core addons that allows users to work with 3D models, networking, computer vision, OSC, vector graphics, and XML. This is but the tip of the iceberg. At last count there were 1046 3rd party addons making OF a truly versatile and current tool. Much more than just a set of c++ libraries and addons, openframeworks has a rich community here in NYC, online, and around the world. Active forums and constant development make openframeworks a truly exciting project to be a part of.

How they fit together

Core audio is known for its high level of difficulty and steep learning curve while openframeworks is known for its ease of use and for being easy to jump into. Its almost impossible to imagine how they could work together…. Lucky for us, @admsyn created ofxAudioUnit, a well-documented addon that allows OF users to easily use the audio unit framework without dealing with inner complexities of the audio unit framework! Both OF and AUs run on iOS so any app you create on your desktop can be compiled to run on iOS with minimal changes.

Combining AUs with OF is perfect for creating musical instruments with novel controllers, generative music, interactive music playback systems, audio-reactive visuals, and of course experimental sound art.

Participants will start by learning to load audio units into OF. We will study three sound sources: audio file players, audio input, and sampler/synths. We will build signal chains by adding effects to these sound sources, and then use mixers to control the flow of sound. Participants will learn to control the parameters of each unit and to programmatically send midi messages to sampler/synths. Finally, we will get the waveform data, the RMS amplitude, the dB, and the FFT of signals passing through that signal chain, and make simple visualizations of these values. If time allows we may delve into some basic algorithms and data structures for making music.

Programming background and love of music is required. Students must bring headphones. Sadly, audio units only run on Mac OS X. Sorry Linux and Windows users :-( I will offer a cross-platform OF + audio class in the near future :-)

Jason Levine

Jason Levine is a musician, performer, and creative coder. On a mission to bridge different artistic disciplines, he sees computation as a universal language for translating and communicating between different mediums. Inspired by improvisation, Jason focuses on the interactive and generative qualities of coding to create real-time software systems for live performance. He recently attended the first ever semester of the School for Poetic Computation, a project initiated by Zach Lieberman, one of the co-founders of openframeworks.

Jason has worked extensively as a beatboxer/vocalist accompanying circus shows, street theatre, and contemporary dance. This work has been presented notably at Siguientescena(Mexico), Danza-UNAM(Mexico), Pflasterspektakel(Austria), and at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. His work fusing performance and code has been presented at ART&&CODE:3D(USA), Piksel(Norway), Carnival for e-Creativity(India), Festival de la Imagen(Colombia), and Festival Eklectik(Montreal). Most recently, Jason has worked as a freelance creative coder, designing interactive visuals for Eryc Taylor Dance, generative art apps for Fragile Tension LLC, prototyping Kinect interactions for Harmonix’s new game Fantasia:Music Evolved, and directing a music video for upcoming electronic artist Alarke. He is currently working on an interactive audiovisual system for the CLOUDS documentary.


body-controlled instrument from Jason Levine on Vimeo.

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