Entrepreneurship and Professional Practice: Research and Findings

This module is about Max MSP and after being introduced to this software, I found that I had no knowledge and I had to do a lot of research on this software before I could try and start to create anything.

“Cycling’74 makes software for creating media applications that work the way you want without limits”

This video is a basic introduction to Max MSP.

I then downloaded a 30 day free trial from the Cycling’74 website.

Before I coud use the application I had to do a little more research and I looked on the Max MSP wikipedia page for some more information.

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_(software))


Max is a visual programming language for music and multimedia developed and maintained by San Francisco-based software company Cycling ’74. During its 20-year history, it has been widely used by composers, performers, software designers, researchers, and artists for creating innovative recordings, performances, and installations.

The Max program itself is highly modular, with most routines existing in the form of shared libraries. AnAPI allows third-party development of new routines (called “external objects”). As a result, Max has a large userbase of programmers not affiliated with Cycling ’74 who enhance the software with commercial and non-commercial extensions to the program. Because of its extensible design and graphical interface (which in a novel way represents the program structure and the GUI as presented to the user simultaneously), Max is widely regarded as the lingua franca for developing interactive music performance software.


There are many tutorials on MAX 5 and these are shown on the webpage below and these range from basic to midi, data, communications and even JavaScript.


Because I still had little knowledge of the software I decided to go through the tutorials one by one and see if I could gain knowledge about creating fully working objects with sound.

The image above shows the basic tutorials that I went through during my first time use of Max MSP.

This image shows the first Tutorial which is called “hello” and this shows the three main elements of a Max patch (object boxes, message boxes and comment boxes)

After completing most of the tutorials, I conducted an experiment with my classmate, and this was about creating a fully working object in which audio was produced. Using what was learned throughout the tutorials and using basic Max MSP knowledge I created a number object and put this onto my patch so when scrolled up and down the numbers would change, increasing as I scrolled up and decreasing when scrolled down, I then created another one and linked this to the first one so when I scrolled up and down both changed at the same rate. I then created a button object and linked it to both the number objects so when the numbers were changed when the mouse was being scrolled, the button object would then turn yellow to show that the button was being controlled by the number objects. There was a slight problem as when I did this for the first time I accidently created a link that made it loop around therefore the yellow button would not appear. An error message then appeared at the top stating in yellow “stacked overflow” this meant that because it was looping, Max MSP did not understand the loop as it was connected to itself and too much information was going in and out of the object.

I then created a blank object and inside the object I typed in “cycle~” and the ~ (tilde) shows that this is MSP based and it is in the audio section, which it what I needed. I linked the cycle object inlet to the new object I had inserted, which was called, the ‘math: multiply’ object, and this is vital to the process that controls the audio sound and volume. The outlet of the cycle~ object links to the inlet of the math object and this contains an audio cord which shows when linked to the speakers that it is going into the left and right speakers, I made a mistake whilst doing this as I only connected to the left inlet, so when sound played it only came out of one speaker, this was a common error and rectified easily when I put another audio loop into the right inlet. I then added a float object, which alters the pitch of the sound, and this was set to 0.5, which means it is 50% of the normal volume.

Once the float object was inserted a conducted a test and the sound worked and by scrolling up and down I could change the volume as it was coming out of my speakers.

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