Got An Idea For Some Electronic Music Software? Max/MSP Makes (Almost) Anything Possible


Max/MSP. What a program. Technically, it is a programming language platform. You can do literally anything with it. Using objects and sending messages from one object to another by connecting them in an intricate web, you can create plugins and bring any electronic music idea to life. The downside is that it takes a long time to learn. But, if you want to differentiate yourself from other electronic musicians and have a complicated idea, then why not create your idea from scratch?

It’s really difficult, but really exciting and the possibilities are endless. Your projects can get really messy and look like this:


But, that’s sort of like the source code to a website. You can make your finished product look like this: 


Unfortunately my very simple sampling software, which took me several months to finish, didn’t turn out nearly as detailed as the one pictured above. But I thought it was fun to learn. 

It is a great production tool to create plugins with…that is if you use Ableton Live- they have created an easy integration called Max For Live.

Ableton and Cycling ’74 (the creators of Max/MSP) have formed some sort of an alliance, so there isn’t really any other digital audio workstation software where one can easily use their DIY plugins.

If you don’t use Ableton though, you’re pretty much out of luck. Theoretically, you could create your own DAW software on Max/MSP and then use your plugin with that (which would take way too much time and be EXTREMELY hard to do), but what if you use Reason, DP, Logic, or FL Studio?

Although, somehow I doubt users of FL Studio would be creating their own plugins.

Wow ok that could totally be taken the wrong way. I’m just saying, it’s true! Not trying to be the pretentious person saying you’re sooo much better at creating any sort of computer based music when you create your own plugins, nor am I trying to say homemade plugins are better. Because I happen to love beats made on FL Studio or anything that’s not necessarily from scratch. 

All I’m saying is, Cycling ’74 probably realized that their target market was mostly Ableton Live users… many of whom are very experimental electronic music makers. It’s just an interesting way to potentially make yourself different from other electronic producers. 

Another program Cycling ’74 makes is Jitter, which is really useful for musicians who also want to creatively incorporate video into their shows. 

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