Let me introduce myself. I'm the Rip Van Winkle of electronic music. I took an extended leave from the fields of music theory and composition to raise three children. When I "retired" we were programming with decks of cards and storing microcomputer programs on cassette tape! Back in the day, I wrote a program that drilled aural comprehension students on melodic memory. Students entered the note names AND the rhythms. Quite an achievement back then.

Now I have the uninterrupted time to devote to music once again. My main access to the state of the art is through the Web. I bounced about from link to link, overwhelmed and beginning to despair, when I happened upon Csound. The skies parted, a light shone down upon me, and a heavenly chorus began to sing. (Actually, I think it was "Trapped in a Convert".) Here was the perfect program for me - total control, totally digital and totally free!!

That was several months ago. I have since worked my way through the mini-toots, the master toots, and a variety of helpful websites. (Thank you Google!) There is so much to learn and experiment with that I sometimes feel overwhelmed. This is especially so when I read the postings to the Csound mail list. I must admit that 90 percent of the time I really have no idea what is being discussed.

When I feel I am not making progress as quickly as I should I read the occasional posting where someone else admits that they have been working in Csound for years and still feel they are only scratching the surface of the capabilities of this program. It's good to know there are others out there like me. A little encouragement to those of us new to the program would be greatly appreciated! To that end, I have started a wish list for Newbies. I hope others will add to it.

A Newbie Wish List

  1. A mailing list for newbies only where we can ask questions (after consulting all available resources, of course) or ask for further explanation without fear of being ridiculed or ignored.
  2. A listing of all user groups by geographical region. What a treat it would be to meet face to face with other Csounders! It would be nice to know what groups are out there. Hopefully, it would encourage the forming of more groups.
  3. A section of the e-zine devoted to compositional techniques. I find I’m adapting to way I compose to make score coding more efficient. Any tips from the pros would be most welcome.
  4. Speaking of the e-zine – how about a column each issue that details the building of a fairly simple instrument that even Newbies could understand? Let’s encourage the simple but elegant in instrument construction.

That’s all I have for now. I’m sure others will be adding to this list soon.

Happy Csounding!