Intro to Patch-Based Programming

With visiting artist Matt Sargent

A growing trend in new media practice has been wide adoption of patch-based programming: using a graphic interface to ‘wire together’ chunks of re-usable code. While many artists use Max/MSP, a commercial software package, others are using Quartz Composer [free on the MAC platform] and Pure Data [freely available open source software for multiple platforms including MAC and PC.] These environments allow for the creation of synesthetic, self-generating, process-based artworks - sound, moving image, interaction... it’s all in there. 


This 4-hour workshop will introduce students to the capabilities of patch programming software by showing and listening to a wide range of examples of projects created in Max/ MSP and Pure Data.

 This will be followed by hands-on experience building a few projects from scratch in Pure Data, including: 
+ digital delay (w/ modulation, feedback, and other options a la Frippertronics) 
+ one-voice synthesizer (w/ sine/ saw/triangle option and some ADSR attack control) 
+ multi-voice synthesizer (as well as a general introduction of how to make other future patches multi-voiced) 
+ envelope follower (ability to track incoming pitch and volume from a recording or microphone) 
+ simple three-voice vocoder 
+ simple playback/record patch, which can be hooked up anywhere in the future to record, save, and resample work.


Matt Sargent is a musician based in Buffalo, NY. He holds a Presidential Fellowship at SUNY Buffalo, where he is working on a PhD in Music Composition. His music has been described as “so simple and so natural, and yet sets up a complex set of interactions.”(Sound Expanse) A Chesapeake Bay native, his interests are often focused on the movement of bodies of water, tides, and possible musical analogues to these natural processes. His music has recently been heard in performances and installations at the Wulf (Los Angeles), the Machine Project (Los Angeles), Hemphill Fine Arts (Washington D.C.), Norwegian Academy of Music, SEAMUS 2012 National Conference, Silo City (Buffalo), and the Yale University Haskins Auditory Laboratory. Matt frequently collaborates with musicians, choreographers, filmmakers, and visual artists. In addition to composing, Matt maintains an active career as a guitarist, music technology researcher, and educator.

Open to GW Students Only, To rsvp, please e-mail: art@gwu.edu.