Over the past year, I’ve had the pleasure of discovering Oliver Bown’s wonderful sound art library, Beads. Beads is a library for creating and analyzing audio in Processing or Java, and it is head-and-shoulders above the other sound libraries that are available for Processing. From the ground up, Beads is made for musicians and sound artists. It takes ideas popularized by CSound, Max and other popular sound art environments, and intuitively wraps them in the comfort of the Processing programming language.
The book covers all of the standard sound-art topics in straightforward tutorial style. Each chapter addresses a basic topic, then demonstrates it in code. Topics covered include Additive Synthesis, Frequency Modulation, Sampling, Granular Synthesis, Filters, Compression, Input/Output, MIDI, Analysis and everything else an artist may need to bring
their Processing sketches to life.
It’s true that these topics are well-covered by other environments in other places. There are a plethora of sound art platforms these days. I love Pure Data, Max, SuperCollider and even Tassman and Reaktor. But there are a million people out there making visual art in Processing who don’t have a good way of exploring multimedia in the environment in which they’re comfortable. This tutorial is aimed at Processing programmers who think that sound art is a bridge too far.
In fact, Beads makes sound art incredibly easy while staying within the comfortable confines of Processing. So stop reading blog posts. Download the Beads Library. Download the book. Download the source code. And get to it!!