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Max/MSP/Jitter for Music

A Practical Guide to Developing Interactive Music Systems for Education and More

V. J. Manzo

Publication Date - November 2011

ISBN: 9780199777679

360 pages
8-1/2 x 11 inches

A practical way to learn Max/MSP/Jitter, a powerful programming language for musical applications


In Max/MSP/Jitter for Music, expert author and music technologist V. J. Manzo provides a user-friendly introduction to a powerful programming language that can be used to write custom software for musical interaction. Through clear, step-by-step instructions illustrated with numerous examples of working systems, the book equips you with everything you need to know in order to design and complete meaningful music projects. The book also discusses ways to interact with software beyond the mouse and keyboard through use of camera tracking, pitch tracking, video game controllers, sensors, mobile devices, and more.

This book will be of special value for everyone who teaches music at any level, from classroom instructors to ensemble directors to private studio instructors. Whether you want to create simple exercises for beginning performers or more complex programs for aspiring composers, this book will show you how to write customized software that can complement and even inspire your instructional objectives.

No specialist foreknowledge is required to use this book to enliven your experience with music technology. Even musicians with no prior programming skills can learn to supplement their lessons with interactive instructional tools, to develop adaptive instruments to aid in composition and performance activities, and to create measurement tools with which to conduct research.

This book allows you to:

-Learn how to design meaningful projects for composition, performance, music therapy, instruction, and research
-Understand powerful software through this accessible introduction, written for beginners
-Follow along through step-by-step tutorials
-Grasp the principles by downloading the extensive software examples from the companion website

This book is ideal for:

-Music educators at all levels looking to integrate software in instruction
-Musicians interested in how software can improve their practice and performance
-Music composers with an interest in designing interactive music
-Music therapists looking to tailor programs to the needs of specific groups or individuals

And all who are interested in music technology.

Visit the companion website at www.oup.com/us/maxmspjitter


  • A practical way to learn Max/MSP/Jitter, a powerful programming language for musical applications
  • Does not require any prerequisite programming skills
  • Ideal for design interactive music for composition, performance, music therapy, instruction, and research
  • Richly illustrated throughout with helpful sidebar tips and explanations
  • Features an extensive companion website

About the Author(s)

V.J. Manzo (PhD Temple University, M.M. New York University) is Assistant Professor of Music Technology and Perception at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). He is a composer and guitarist with research interests in theory and composition, artificial intelligence, interactive music systems, and music cognition. He has authored several open-source interactive music projects including the Modal Object Library, a collection of composition/theory algorithms for use in algorithmic and electro-acoustic composition, and EAMIR, an open-source project assisting individuals, including those with disabilities, to compose and perform music with accessible musical interfaces, alternate/adaptive controllers, and sensors. V.J. has lectured on electronic music and interactive music systems for education and presented his compositions and interactive systems at numerous universities, conferences, and performance venues including ACM, ATMI, CMS, ISTE, TI:ME, SEAMUS, MENC, Peabody, American Composers Forum, and ASTA. For more info, visit www.vjmanzo.com.


"A groundbreaking, step-by-step approach to empowering the creativity of music educators and music students through interactive computer software design." --from the Foreword by David Elliott, Professor of Music and Music Education, New York University

"Max has become a major player in the world of music making and VJ Manzo's book is perfect for those who want to become fluent with the language. And, for the growing legions of music makers who are using clusters of applications for diverse projects, Manzo's clear categorization of Max functionality may well make this book an ongoing standard reference for building specific Max/MSP patches within each cluster." --Morton Subotnick, Composer and Educator

"This book is a lucid and systematic introduction for beginners or intermediate users to all three components of the popular multimedia software Max/MSP/Jitter, covering MIDI, basic programming concepts, real-time audio/video manipulation, camera tracking, and alternate controllers. VJ Manzo does an excellent job of clearly explaining how to use the software. Music educators, students, music technologists, sound designers, game developers, composers, and multimedia artists interested in learning Max in order to develop their own software applications will find this to be a highly useful text." --Cort Lippe, Director, The Lejaren Hiller Computer Music Studios, University of Buffalo

"There are very few comprehensive resources out there for educators in music technology to get their students engaged in the creative act of writing software, as opposed to simply relying on commercial applications. This book, start to finish, provides a thorough curriculum for using Max in a music education setting, nicely complementing the company's own documentation by showing how to build more complex projects that integrate interactivity and sound. Manzo's book is a great read, not only for educators and students but for electronic musicians looking to expand their arsenal of expressive tools." --R. Luke DuBois, Brooklyn Experimental Media Center, Polytechnic Institute of NYU

Table of Contents

    Foreword by David Elliott
    Chapter 1: Introduction to Programming
    Chapter 2: Generating Music
    Chapter 3: Math and Music
    Chapter 4: Scales and Chords
    Chapter 5: Interactive Ear-training
    Chapter 6: Data Structures
    Chapter 7: Control Interfaces
    Chapter 8: Control Interfaces Continued
    Chapter 9: Tools for Music Theory Concepts
    Chapter 10: Working with Time
    Chapter 11: Building Standalone Applications
    Chapter 12: Working with Audio
    Chapter 13: Audio Playback and Pitch Tracking
    Chapter 14: Audio Buffers
    Chapter 15: Audio Effects and Processing
    Chapter 16: Working with Live Video
    Chapter 17: Working with Video Files
    Chapter 18: Video Research Instrument
    Chapter 19: Informal Music Learning Instruments
    Chapter 20: Compositions and Perception Tools

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