M4L for musicans, NOT programmers?

Questions and discussion about building and using Max for Live devices
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Division Monarchy
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M4L for musicans, NOT programmers?

Post by Division Monarchy » Tue Oct 06, 2015 3:36 am

I see that there are resources out there that teach M4L, but none of them really seem to be on a musical level. Are there any resources that are geared towards musicians rather than programmers and techheads?

I would like to learn this program but I can't find anything within an actual musical context (adding a bunch of data in a box and pressing a "bang" has nothing to do with music) The manual for it, while extensive doesn't really speak to me either.

My background is in performing and writing music, and engineering, and I can't seem to find anything that effectively teaches it in a language I understand. I get that it's a deep program but I'm more interested in learning proficiency with a musical instrument than being a programmer. I've been trying for three years now and don't know a thing. I end up spending a week on it and get bored because of the lack of musical examples and end up repeating the process every few months. Should I just give up on it? I will never understand programming language. I'm frustrated because I see a program that seems like it can do a lot and I can't get anything out of it.

I need a range of musical projects and step by step tutorials. Not 500 page books of programming porn. Is this possible to find?

jonbenderr
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Re: M4L for musicans, NOT programmers?

Post by jonbenderr » Tue Oct 06, 2015 11:43 am

From what you are saying, I would suggest just exploring other peoples devices.

It's not so much a tool for actually making music as much as it is a tool to make your very own tools to assist in making music.

I wouldn't give up on it though. Once it starts clicking together, your mind will go crazy at the possibilities.

Best advice I could possibly give is come up with a simple thing you want to achieve with it, then research how to do that simple thing. Even from an extremely simple utility you can learn a great deal.

Wandering aimlessly through the manual, tutorials, and resources out there is really a great way to get completely lost and discouraged if you're not the type that can process things like that.

stringtapper
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Re: M4L for musicans, NOT programmers?

Post by stringtapper » Tue Oct 06, 2015 5:41 pm

What are you trying to do?

Do you want to create your own devices or are you just wanting to use existing devices?

If it's the former then I'm afraid there's no way around the learning curve. You've got to just jump in with the tutorials or start with a book. I recommend the Electronic Music and Sound Design series dedicated specifically to programming in Max.

Max is a programming language. There's no way around that. I would argue that it's as musically oriented as anything out there. I am a practicing instrumentalist myself and I was able to learn enough to code the things I want to make, so your argument about being more interested in instrumental practice than learning Max is more reflective of you than it is anything about Max or any of the available teaching materials out there. Even Miller Puckette, the guy who created Max, is a practicing violinist. So the whole "musical" argument doesn't hold up.

Check out the sticky on this sub-forum where I have given links to tutorials and books. The built-in tutorials really are the best way to start though.
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Division Monarchy
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Re: M4L for musicans, NOT programmers?

Post by Division Monarchy » Tue Oct 06, 2015 6:17 pm

roomkillahprods wrote: It's not so much a tool for actually making music as much as it is a tool to make your very own tools to assist in making music.
Hmmm... I guess I wasn't looking at it that way, but that makes total sense.
stringtapper wrote:If it's the former then I'm afraid there's no way around the learning curve. You've got to just jump in with the tutorials or start with a book.
Fair enough... The hardest part for me is trying to see where many of the devices are musically applicable. When learning audio engineering every thing I was taught was shown how it relates to sound itself, whereas Max tutorials seem to explain it rather than demonstrate it.

Thanks for the advice.

stringtapper
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Re: M4L for musicans, NOT programmers?

Post by stringtapper » Tue Oct 06, 2015 6:34 pm

Each of the built-in tutorials contains example patches that demonstrate the concepts being taught. Dig into those tutorials. They're the best in the business.

What the other poster said is spot on. Max is a tool for creating tools. Especially the way it functions in the context of M4L.

Again, the EMSD books are the best, IMO. They have a ton of example patches that you can build as you go through the book and then compare to the patches they have on their companion site. The chapters are organized into Theory/Practice pairs so you get the "what" and then the "how."
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Division Monarchy
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Re: M4L for musicans, NOT programmers?

Post by Division Monarchy » Tue Oct 06, 2015 8:05 pm

Thank you. I'm going to check out the EMSD books... Are there any online courses that extensively teach the program? Other than Berklee Music School that is...

stringtapper
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Re: M4L for musicans, NOT programmers?

Post by stringtapper » Tue Oct 06, 2015 11:22 pm

Division Monarchy wrote:Are there any online courses that extensively teach the program? Other than Berklee Music School that is...
I'm not aware of any, actually. I did it mostly through the tutorials, books, and one-on-one lessons with a couple of electroacoustic composers.

Again, check out some of the resources here: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=215743
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Division Monarchy
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Re: M4L for musicans, NOT programmers?

Post by Division Monarchy » Wed Oct 07, 2015 3:18 am

I guess if this program wasn't so buggy and unpredictable it would help in the learning process.

stringtapper
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Re: M4L for musicans, NOT programmers?

Post by stringtapper » Wed Oct 07, 2015 3:45 pm

Division Monarchy wrote:I guess if this program wasn't so buggy and unpredictable it would help in the learning process.
You probably don't need to spend any more time with it at this point.

There's plenty that can be done with the regular old tools that Live and other DAWs have.
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dsu
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Re: M4L for musicans, NOT programmers?

Post by dsu » Sun Oct 11, 2015 3:36 am

Interactive Composition by Manzo & Kuhn, Oxford University Press. Is a pretty good introduction. It is more focused on Live than M4L but the examples are directly musical. I spent about 5 days with the book in July and really found it useful.

http://www.amazon.ca/Interactive-Compos ... 0199973822


madlab
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Re: M4L for musicans, NOT programmers?

Post by madlab » Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:33 am

Division Monarchy wrote:I guess if this program wasn't so buggy and unpredictable it would help in the learning process.
Can you give examples ?
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gg_bristol
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Re: M4L for musicans, NOT programmers?

Post by gg_bristol » Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:18 am

+1 on the Electronic Music and Sound Design series of books

If you come from a musical theory background you won't have a problem picking up the concepts quickly, and it's all based on Max/MSP as the platform. They are programming books based on practical musical applications and tools.

The only thing you will need to be aware of is they are not geared specifically to M4L, so you should read M4L documentation to understand the porting of objects for the M4L API. It's not very difficult.

lqud009
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Re: M4L for musicans, NOT programmers?

Post by lqud009 » Tue Oct 20, 2015 9:16 pm

But what do you want to do? This is the main question. Because in Max you can do nearly everything, I think the easiest way is to pick some simple goals, how to realize a Volume Control, how a Panner, how can I send Midi and how can I receive it - all these simple things you can do with other DAWs. I think you'll find it all at youtube, watch it - try to rebuild - that's it
And yes the books are really helpful to. You'll see the Ideas are coming and you get more and more familiar with the objects and the thinking of Max. I just needed 3 month to build my own basic tools I needed.

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