Subject: MAX Digest - 21 Sep 1998 to 22 Sep 1998 (#1998-9)
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 00:00:02 -0400
From: Automatic digest processor 
Reply-To: MAX - Interactive Music/Multimedia Standard Environments
To: Recipients of MAX digests 

There are 17 messages totalling 661 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

  1. Firewire Video Output
  2. Video Sampler
  3. Hertz->Cents (5)
  4. msg box s!ze
  5. msg box s!ze [1]
  6. formant synthesis & Hertz->Cents
  7. a-e-i-o-u-
  8. video
  9. CHAMP D'ACTION - on the air / on the net
 10. video sampler
 11. cents, remotes
 12. sluggish 5300
 13. pluggo/evening/EM

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Date:    Tue, 22 Sep 1998 00:28:54 +0000
From:    Johnny DeKam 
Subject: Firewire Video Output

OK -- Today I finally  had a chance to test my Firemax DV system at work
with MAX
(Firewire aka IE 1394 DV i/o)

Short Report:  didn't work.

Having done alot of editing using premiere and this system, which has been
quite stable,
my guess is that Max's inability to scale video is a contributing factor,
and also the lack
of support from the Soft DV codec, which is designed to work with Premiere
and movieplayer.

The movie object attempted to play the video full screen to my monitor,
instead of redirecting the output to the Firewire port.  (usually during
playback in Movieplayer, the movie is scaled very small on the monitor, to
minimize cpu overhead, and then directed to the firewire port).

Suggestion:  There are alot of people who long for better video & graphics
support within MAX.
I understand that music composition has always been the priority, but there
seems to be alot of demand for video/graphics in context of interactive
performance and installation...
Wish: Full compliance/development of Quicktime 3/QTML -- which would bring
flexible media handling, from video, vector graphics, sprites, and all the
graphics and sound formats which QT3 supports.
Not to mention QT3 also play MIDI files like a charm, much better than the
seq or detonate objects
(addressing the concerns of other recent posts to the list)

Who is with me?

Coming soon: I'm getting my new G3 tommorow along with an Iomega buz card --
will of course test MAX with it... I have higher hopes for this one.

-- Johnny DeKam


Date:    Tue, 22 Sep 1998 00:42:38 +0000
From:    Johnny DeKam 
Subject: Video Sampler

>i need to be able to trigger video in real time with keys on the keyboard
>Kind of like a video sampler (with any mpeg card)
>it's there any way of doing this?


These are the possibilities I know of:

1) Max is capable, but is sluggish with video and leaks memory over time
with video playback

2) Custom written Macromedia Director program
   -- brush up on your Lingo and also buy a copy of HyperMIDI XCMD.

3) STEIM's Imagine -- great flexibilty, powerful realtime... caveats: need
VERY fast Mac, also have to re-learn a whole new interface to your computer.

4) Hardware control -- use MAX to control Video laser disk, or other device
with serial port control.
   -- GREAT solution, if you have the gear and love to figure out RS-232

5) pose -- my personal favorite right now -- stable, easy interface, good
performance, dynamic scaling and effects transitions, built on the "video
sampler" paradigm.  Also does still images.
Distributed by Steinberg -- with a street price around $300.  (demo
available at

-- Johnny DeKam


Date:    Mon, 21 Sep 1998 22:02:09 -0700
From:    Les Stuck 
Subject: Re: Hertz->Cents

Greg Laman  wrote:

>A friend of mine (not on this list) is working on amicrotonal
>synth MSP patch and asked me to post the following question
>to the list...
>> Hi.  Could you ask on the Max/Msp list if someone has
>> written an external to do Hertz to Cents/Cents to Hertz
>> conversion?

(by the way, your friend might want to check out ""
in "msp examples", which receives pitch in midicents (440Hz =
6900midicents). this ircam format is quite useful.)

try the classic patch below:

max v2;
#N vpatcher 50 40 256 220;
#P number 106 142 77 9 0 0 0 3;
#P flonum 106 57 74 9 0 0 0 3;
#P comment 106 29 61 196617 Hz to MIDI Cents;
#P newex 106 116 47 196617 * 100.;
#P newex 106 89 46 196617 ftom;
#P flonum 10 143 78 9 0 0 0 3;
#P newex 10 88 46 196617 * 0.01;
#P newex 10 115 47 196617 mtof;
#P number 10 58 57 9 0 0 0 3;
#P comment 10 28 58 196617 MIDI Cents to Hz;
#P connect 1 0 3 0;
#P connect 2 0 4 0;
#P connect 8 0 5 0;
#P connect 3 0 2 0;
#P connect 6 0 9 0;
#P connect 5 0 6 0;
#P pop;


Date:    Tue, 22 Sep 1998 00:30:03 -0500
From:    =cw4t7abs 
Subject: msg box s!ze

!z dzere an+e wa! 2 l!m!t dze s!ze ov dze msg box
!n dze patch b.lo tzo evn when !t rece!vz a msg
wh!ch = lrgr !t w!ll not change s!zez

or !z dzere 1 max objekt wh!ch kountz chars.
or kreatez an arra! from dzem.


max v2;
#N vpatcher 110 271 513 499;
#P newex 22 112 60 196617 prepend set;
#P message 127 116 29 196617 d!sz;
#P message 63 79 69 196617 d!sz !z 2 l ng;
#P fasten 2 0 1 0 27 135 108 135 108 108 132 108;
#P fasten 0 0 2 0 68 105 27 105;
#P pop;


Date:    Tue, 22 Sep 1998 00:34:56 -0500
From:    =cw4t7abs 
Subject: Re: msg box s!ze [1]

>!z dzere an+e wa! 2 l!m!t dze s!ze ov dze msg box
>!n dze patch b.lo tzo evn when !t rece!vz a msg
>wh!ch = lrgr !t w!ll not change s!zez

umenu = oki
abr not abs oki
hensz dze kuerr+e


Date:    Mon, 21 Sep 1998 23:01:30 -0800
From:    dudas 
Subject: formant synthesis & Hertz->Cents

formant synthesis :
fof synthesis was implemented in Csound, and the Csound source code is
publically available somewhere.  This is just one possible implementation.
Another *beautiful* (and real-time) implementation was made by Gerhard
Eckel and Francisco Iovino for the Ircam Signal Processing Workstation
(ISPW) using Miller's Max/FTS 0.26. Gerhard's and Francisco's fof objects
were included in a larger package which implemented Chant (synthesis of the
singing voice via a rule-based method) in a real-time context.  This
package is currently up and running in MSP and being beta tested.  It will
hopefully become available to the Ircam Forum's Real-time user's group this
December!  It IS HOT!!! (...and it has a very sexy logo, I might add.)

the satndard MSP objects mtof and ftom do this conversion nicely. You may
need to multiply by 100. to convert the floating point MIDI note value to

If you don't have MSP, you might try these formulae:

Based on reference MIDI note 0 (C, do, 8.175798Hz):
ftom: expr log10($f1/8.175798) / log10(1.0594633)
mtof: expr 8.175797 * pow(1.0594633\,$f1)

Based on reference MIDI note 69 (A, la, 440Hz):
ftom: expr 69. + (log10($f1/440.) / log10(1.0594633))
mtof: expr 440. * pow(1.0594633\,($f1 - 69.))

I don't think either formula is *exactly* the same as the one used in
mtof/ftom but they're both pretty damn close (especially the second method
based on A440).  The "real" formulae used for the MSP obejcts are printed
somewhere in the MSP manual.



Date:    Mon, 21 Sep 1998 23:00:24 -0700
From:    Christopher Dobrian 
Subject: Re: Hertz->Cents

 asked "if someone has written an
external to do Hertz to Cents/Cents to Hertz conversion".

The ftom and mtof objects (non-MSP objects, but released with MSP) do this.
They take float input and send float output, so you can use them to
get/give cents information.

Since a semitone interval is a different number of Hz depending on what
pitches you're talking about, there's no general conversion formula for
Hertz->Cents. For example, asking "How many cents [1/100 of a semitone]
does 5 Hz equal?" is meaningless. (5 Hz more or less than what?)

However, the formulae used for ftom and mtof
must be equivalent to the following expr objects:
ftom => expr ln($f1/440.)/ln(2.)*12.+69.
mtof => expr 440.*pow(2.\,($f1-69.)/12.)


             Christopher Dobrian / School of the Arts - Music
             University of California / Irvine, CA 92697-2775
                Phone: (949) 824-7288 / Fax: (949) 824-4914


Date:    Tue, 22 Sep 1998 08:40:59 +0200
From:    "Dr. Karlheinz Essl" 
Subject: Re: Hertz->Cents

Greg Laman asked:

> A friend of mine (not on this list) is working on a microtonal synth MSP
> patch and asked me to post the following question to the list...
> > Hi.  Could you ask on the Max/Msp list if someone has written an
> > external to do Hertz to Cents/Cents to Hertz conversion?

The "Realtime Composition Library" for MAX includes two object called
"frq2note" and "note2frq" which does this sort of conversion. Downloading
information can be found at:

Hope that helps.

   Dr. Karlheinz Essl - Composer
   Vienna / Austria
   Studio for Advanced Music & Media Technology


Date:    Tue, 22 Sep 1998 11:35:29 +0200
From:    Robert Henke 
Subject: a-e-i-o-u-

Hi jukka,
i have made a simple patch for the synthesisis of singing vowels according
to the algorithm which is described in that fab book "computer music" by
charles dodge and thomas a jerse.
i could send it to you.
 if you only need a list of frequencies / amplitudes of vowels for male /
female voices i could provide it to. ( of cource this is part of my =

greetings , rob.

Subject: Re: Hertz->Cents

In message , Greg Laman  writes
>A friend of mine (not on this list) is working on a microtonal synth MSP
>patch and asked me to post the following question to the list...
>> Hi.  Could you ask on the Max/Msp list if someone has written an
>> external to do Hertz to Cents/Cents to Hertz conversion?
>> Thanks,
>> Alex
In the IRCAM lib there are two objects 'mtof' and 'ftom' that translate
between frequency and MIDI note values. They accept/generate note values
as floats, so you can use values like 63.37 (37 cents sharp) or, for
that matter any other devision of the semitone you fancy. I have used
these quite a bit on the ISPW and found them very useful.

Lawrence Casserley

Lawrence Electronic Operations -Tel +44 1494 481381 -FAX +44 1494 481454
Signal Processing for Contemporary Music -email


Date:    Tue, 22 Sep 1998 16:15:04 +0100
From:    Todor Todoroff 
Subject: Re: video

>i need to be able to trigger video in real time with keys on the keyboard
>Kind of like a video sampler (with any mpeg card)
>it's there any way of doing this?
There is a software called X-pose, made by the Belgian company Arkaos and
distributed by Steinberg.
It has been used for the last Jean-Michel Jarre tour.
It basically lets you trigger quicktime movies by keyboard or by MIDI. I
think there are also some morphing capabilities controlable in real-time by
MIDI. Check the Steinberg site.


Todor Todoroff
Art, Recherche, Technologie et Musique asbl
273, Rue du Progr=E8s
B-1030 Bruxelles

Tel: +32 2 201 13 51
fax: +32 2 201 15 46


Date:    Tue, 22 Sep 1998 16:51:38 +0200
From:    "Dr. Karlheinz Essl" 
Subject: CHAMP D'ACTION - on the air / on the net

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++  KUNSTRADIO - ZEITTON

                           Tuesday,  6 October 1998
                              22:15 - 23:20  MET

Karlheinz Essl

Meta-composition for computer-controlled soloists


     Mary Oliver (USA):         violin
     Gene Coleman (USA):        bass clarinet
     Elisabeth Flunger (I):     percussion
     Burkhard Stangl (A):       e-guitar
     Radu Malfatti (A):         trombone
     Werner Dafeldecker (A):    double bass
     Richard Barrett (GB):      sampler
     Karlheinz Essl (A):        conductor


In the Hall (live concert):

                       ORF Funkhaus Wien
                  RadioKulturHaus - Studio II
                     Argentinierstr. 30 a
                         A-1040 Vienna

On the Air (radio broadcast):

                    Tuesday, 6 October 1998
                       22:15 - 23:20 MET
                   Oesterreich 1 (92.0 MHz)

On the Net (RealAudio broadcast):



     Tel.: +43-1-50101/8277 (Kunstradio)


CHAMP D'ACTION is a meta-composition for an instrumental ensemble of 3 - 7
soloists. The musicians do not reproduce parts of a fixed score. Instead of
playing a pre-fabricated text from note sheets, they are viewing computer
monitors which display playing instructions on the fly. The musicians are
improvising those structures according to the given parameters.

Instead of being a fixed work, this piece should be viewed as a
meta-composition which unfolds itself in a completely unforeseeable manner
during the performance. It provides a wide, yet demarcated "field of
possibilities" (another meaning of "champ d'action") which is explored by
the musicians during the performance.

Although the piece is composed of independent parts, the aim of the
musicians should be to create relationships by listening and reacting to
the sounds that are produced by the other players which could lead to
dramatic and extremely intense situations.

The notation which is displayed on the computer screens is generated in
realtime by a computer program written in MAX. The playing information can
be controlled by a conductor during the performance which enables him to
create a spontaneous version of this piece on the fly.

   Dr. Karlheinz Essl - Composer
   Vienna / Austria
   Studio for Advanced Music & Media Technology


Date:    Tue, 22 Sep 1998 17:17:01 +0200
From:    Andreas Weixler 
Subject: Re: video sampler

Subject: Re: Hertz->Cents

On Mon, 21 Sep 1998 12:42:56 -0400 Greg Laman 
>A friend of mine (not on this list) is working on a microtonal synth MSP
>patch and asked me to post the following question to the list...
>> Hi.  Could you ask on the Max/Msp list if someone has written an
>> external to do Hertz to Cents/Cents to Hertz conversion?

An external for Hz <--> Cent is sort of overkill. You can do either
direction with a single expr. It's the same as Midi <--> Hz, just using
higher accuracy (factor of 100). Does your friend need the formula?



---------------- ----------------
Dr. Peter Castine           | The camel has a single hump;   |   The dromedary two;
                            | Or else the other way around.
                            |   I'm never sure. Are you?
                            |                              -- Ogden Nash


Date:    Tue, 22 Sep 1998 10:19:49 -0700
From:    Peter Elsea 
Subject: cents, remotes

cents to Hertz
The trans-log object (included in Karleheinz Essl's Real Time Composition
Library) will compute frequency from cents if you give it the args
[trans-log 32.703 34.648 100]. Input the number of cents above C0 you want.
There are inlets to replace the base frequencies if you want cents in other

Hertz to Cents
The expression [expr 3986. * log10( $f1 / $f2)] will give the number of
cents in any interval, where $f1 is the upper frequency and $f2 is the
lower frequency.

remote MIDI
At the CNMAT msp bash last spring, David Z demonstrated how to use msp to
dial the telephone. Perhaps you could kludge up something like this to send
some commands over the phone, although a couple of modems and the serial
object would be easier. Now that 56k is working, modems are as fast as MIDI.

wireless MIDI cheap
A cheap solution to get some wireless photo sensor action would be to hack
into a cordless telephone, connecting momentary relay buffered ouputs from
each photo sensor to the key pads. Then use msp at the base station to
decode it. Of course this only gives you on/off for the photo cells. If you
want continuous level data, you are going have to spend some money.

Things that annoy
The annoyance level would be reduced by using OMS setup. Create a setup for
each configuration of interfaces you have, and change setups before
launching the application. Create one with no interfaces (just uncheck the
boxes in the search ports dialog) and OMS won't bug you when it comes up.

I've been a little annoyed by switch also (especially the gswitches that
come up with the wrong state represented- they show the position  at last
save, but are actually in position 0 when the patcher opens.) maybe I'll
add something to the next batch of Lobjects.

Peter Elsea
Electronic Music Studios
University of California, Santa Cruz


Date:    Tue, 22 Sep 1998 13:41:16 -0500
From:    Ed Hartley 
Subject: sluggish 5300

Howdy folks,

I've written a few MaxPlay patches for my friend to use on his PB 5300.
If he uses either MaxPlay or Studio Vision 3.5 alone, everything is OK but
combined, things get pretty sluggish. Even if MaxPlay isn't doing anything
or even
if only the app is loaded (with no patches), the Vision screen gets real
transport commands are delayed, and if you move the pointer, the MIDI stream

He's got plenty of RAM and a bare-bones extention set. The "Run MIDI in
Background" dialog is checked. I'm out of ideas, but it seems like  this
work better. Any ideas? Thanks.

Ed Hartley


Date:    Tue, 22 Sep 1998 18:17:39 -0700
From:    David Zicarelli 
Subject: pluggo/evening/EM

Time for more announcements.

At the AES convention in San Francisco, which starts this Saturday,
I'll be showing a new program called Pluggo that lets you use MSP
patches as VST plug-ins. The Pluggo System will be given away
to all MSP users, and sold as a standalone product with lots of
fun examples. We're currently in what I would call an alpha stage
with the development, and I'm aiming for releasing it by the end
of November. Before the release, I hope to be able to provide
MSP users with a beta with which they can develop plug-ins.
Pluggo represents a new opportunity for you to express completely
arbitrary and quirky ideas as plug-ins that can be used by
people you don't know, thereby allowing you to gain some small
subversive influence over the sonic palette of the world's sequencer
users. At least that's how I like to think about it.

In any case, I'll be giving demos of Pluggo at the Opcode booth
on the floor of the trade show aspect of the AES convention (held
at the Moscone center) from 2-3pm and 4-5pm each day.

In addition, MSP will provide some of the sonic action in the
Sonorus booth, where a five-channel + subwoofer system will be set

In conjunction with AES, Cycling '74 is helping facilitate an evening of
music performance this Saturday September 26th in San Francisco.
Max list participant jhno  is hosting this event at
his wonderful space at 964 Natoma, south of Market between 10th & 11th.
It's free, and will include a number of worthwhile performers including
Spool (jhno and John Ridenour), Zack Settel and a special surprise
relative, Atau Tanaka, Xopher Davidson, the Xpandathon (multiple
Oberheim Xpanders), and Ammon. Visuals will be provided by Scott
Draves and his graphics program Bomb. Things should get started around
9 or 10 in the evening.

Finally, you may want to check out the review of MSP in the October
issue of Electronic Musician magazine.

David Z.


End of MAX Digest - 21 Sep 1998 to 22 Sep 1998 (#1998-9)