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  • System Detail

System: cecilia

Authors

Description

Cecilia is a graphic user interface for the sound synthesis and sound processing package Csound. Cecilia enables the user to build very quickly graphic interfaces with sliders and curves to control Csound intruments. It is also an editor to Csound with syntax highlighting and a built-in reference. Cecilia is also a great tool to explore the parameters of a new opcode in an interactive and intuitive way. Cecilia was designed by and for musicians and sound designers. First and foremost, we wanted to make the most powerful and open-ended sound processing language readily usable for composers, researchers and sound artists. Creators will find in Cecilia all the tools necessary to make sound what they want it to be. Included are all the traditional sound processing devices such as EQs, compressors and delays adapted for the most simple applications and the wildest imaginable sonic contortions. If you are an advanced Csound user you may think that FLTK widgets have now made Cecilia redundant. This is not the case, as it is much faster to build an interface with Cecilia, and there are many features not yet covered by the FLTK opcodes, like logarithmic faders and curves. The downside for the advanced user is that the new opcodes are not yet inculded in the built-in reference. New opcodes are none the less perfectly functionnal in Cecilia, as Cecilia is merely an interface to Csound. Cecilia is written in Tcl/Tk so as to be portable. So far, Cecilia has been released for Windows, Linux, IRIX, MacOS X, and MacOS. The IRIX and MacOS ports are currently not maintained but newer versions might just work on these platforms. Cecilia is released under the terms of the GNU General Public License. Cecilia was initially developed by Alexandre Burton and Jean Piche; of the Faculte de Musique at Universite de Montreal from 1995 to 1998. It was then ported to Linux by Dave Philips. Stephan Bourgeois and Yves de Champlain also contributed. It is currently maintained by Bill Beck, Phil Sobolik, and Hans-Christoph Steiner.

References

“... the individual and the society are deprived of the formidable power of free imagination that musical composition offers them. We are able to tear down this iron curtain, thanks to the technology of computers...”

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“... but beware, technique can submerge the user: We must defend ourselves; it is good to use techniques, but we have to dominate them, to stay alert.”

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“The use of computers is the logical outcome of a historical development. It by no means heralds a new musical epoch; it simply offers a fast, reliable and versatile means of solving problems that already demanded solution. The person who writes the computer programme must bear the development of musical language up to the present in mind, and try to advance a stage further.”

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“The characteristics of every sound depend on the way in which the sound was produced. Each art-form exploits its special production methods in order to endow the phenomena with unmistakable characteristics. Artistic economy demands that the means be appropriate to the end, and that the exploitation of the means be an end in itself.”

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“... and the hope of an extraordinary aesthetic success based on extraordinary technology is a cruel deceit.”

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“The danger is great of letting oneself be trapped by the tools and of becoming stuck in the sands of technology that has come like an intruder into the relatively calm waters of the thought in instrumental music.”

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“With the development of electronic and computer music, multidemnsionality of sound representation turned out to be both natural and useful. But music goes beyond multidimensionality -- it is even more complex.”

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“The computing machine is a marvelous invention and seems almost superhuman. But in reality it is as limited as the mind of the individual who feeds it material. Like the computer, the machines we use for making music can only give back what we put into them.”

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“Composers are now able, as never before, to satisfy the dictates of that inner ear of the imagination. They are also lucky so far in not being hampered by esthetic codification -- at least not yet! But I am afraid it will not be long before some musical mortician begins embalming electronic music in rules.”

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“Music is then no longer primarily conceived as a guide for premeditated emotions, but as the density of the possible relationships which first become actuality during production under the influence of chance, and which during performance are presented to the listener as sounds beyond any environmental associatiations, independent of bodily actions required to produce sounds...”

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“... the use of numerical machines no longer stands in need of justification. It is not a mystery. If there is a mystery, it is in the mental structures of music and not in the computers, which are only tools, extensions of the hand and the slide rule.”

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