MAKE CSOUND RUN
Csound and Frontends
The core element of Csound is an audio engine for the Csound language. It has no graphical elements and it is designed to take Csound text files (like ".csd" files) and produce audio, either in realtime, or by writing to a file. It can still be used in this way, but most users nowadays prefer to use Csound via a frontend. A frontend is an application which assists you in writing code and running Csound. Beyond the functions of a simple text editor, a frontend environment will offer colour coded highlighting of language specific keywords and quick access to an integrated help system. A frontend can also expand possibilities by providing tools to build interactive interfaces as well, sometimes, as advanced compositional tools.
In 2009 the Csound developers decided to include QuteCsound as the standard frontend to be included with the Csound distribution, so you will already have this frontend if you have installed any of the recent pre-built versions of Csound. Conversely if you install a frontend you will require a separate installation of Csound in order for it to function.
How To Download and Install Csound
To get Csound you first need to download the package for your system from the SourceForge page: http://sourceforge.net/projects/csound/files/csound5/
There are many files here, so here are some guidelines to help you choose the appropriate version.
Windows installers are the ones ending in .exe. Look for the latest version of Csound, and find a file which should be called something like: Csound5.11.1-gnu-win32-f.exe. The important thing to note is the final letter of the installer name, which can be "d" or "f". This specifies the computation precision of the Csound engine. Float precision (32-bit float) is marked with "f" and double precision (64-bit float) is marked "d". This is important to bear in mind, as a frontend which works with the "floats" version, will not run if you have the "doubles" version installed. You should usually install the "floats" version as that is the one most frontends are currently using.
(Note: more recent versions of the pre-built Windows installer have only been released in the 'doubles' version.)
After you have downloaded the installer, just run it and follow the instructions. When you are finished, you will find a Csound folder in your start menu containing Csound utilities and the QuteCsound frontend.
Mac OS X
The Mac OS X installers are the files ending in .dmg. Look for the latest version of Csound for your particular system, for example a Universal binary for 10.5 will be called something like: csound5.12.4-OSX10.5-Universal.dmg. When you double click the downloaded file, you will have a disk image on your desktop, with the Csound installer, QuteCsound and a readme file. Double-click the installer and follow the instructions. Csound and the basic Csound utilities will be installed. To install the QuteCsound frontend, you only need to move it to your Applications folder.
Linux and others
Csound is available from the official package repositories for many distributions like Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, Archlinux and Gentoo. If there are no binary packages for your platform, or you need a more recent version, you can get the source package from the SourceForge page and build from source. You can find detailed information in the Building Csound Manual Page.
If, for any reason, you can't find the QuteCsound frontend on your system after install, or if you want to install the most recent version of QuteCsound, or if you prefer another frontend altogether: see the CSOUND FRONTENDS section of this manual for further information. If you have any install problems, consider joining the Csound Mailing List to report your issues, or write a mail to one of the maintainers (see ON THIS RELEASE).
The Csound Reference Manual
The Csound Reference Manual is an indispensable companion to Csound. It is available in various formats from the same place as the Csound installers, and it is installed with the packages for OS X and Windows. It can also be browsed online at The Csound Manual Section at Csounds.com. Many frontends will provide you with direct and easy access to it.
How To Execute A Simple Example
Run QuteCsound. Go into the QuteCsound menubar and choose: Examples->Getting started...-> Basics-> HelloWorld
You will see a very basic Csound file (.csd) with a lot of comments in green.
Click on the "RUN" icon in the QuteCsound control bar to start the realtime Csound engine. You should hear a 440 Hz sine wave.
You can also run the Csound engine in the terminal from within QuteCsound. Just click on "Run in Term". A console will pop up and Csound will be executed as an independent process. The result should be the same - the 440 Hz "beep".
Using the Terminal / Console
1. Save the following code in any plain text editor as HelloWorld.csd.
<CsoundSynthesizer> <CsOptions> -odac </CsOptions> <CsInstruments> ;Example by Alex Hofmann instr 1 aSin oscils 0dbfs/4, 440, 0 out aSin endin </CsInstruments> <CsScore> i 1 0 1 </CsScore> </CsoundSynthesizer>
2. Open the Terminal / Prompt / Console
3. Type: csound /full/path/HelloWorld.csd
where /full/path/HelloWorld.csd is the complete path to your file. You also execute this file by just typing csound then dragging the file into the terminal window and then hitting return.