About This Site

This site contains examples and explanations of techniques of computer music programming using Max.

The examples were written for use by students of computer music and interactive media arts at UCI, and are made available on the WWW for all interested Max/MSP/Jitter users and instructors. If you use the text or examples provided here, please give due credit to the author, Christopher Dobrian.

No guarantees are made regarding the infallibility of these examples.

You can send comments, corrections, questions, etc. to dobrianmaxcookbook@gmail.com.

How to Use This Site

The examples in this site were made to demonstrate basic programming techniques and/or solutions for specific problems, without any particular attention to making a comprehensive collection, an organized instruction manual, or a progressive set of tutorial lessons. Nevertheless, through sheer quantity, the examples do cover many useful fundamental concepts and show how to do a lot of the things one commonly needs to do when programming sound synthesis, effects processing, algorithmic composition, and interactive media performance.

Because the site is a collection of examples that were made ad hoc without a global plan, your best bet for finding something that’s useful to you is probably just to enter some keywords in the search field on the home page.

On each example page you’ll see a picture of the patch, a link to download a working copy of the patch, possibly some links to additional files that may be needed for the patch to work properly, and some text explaining the patch. The patch itself is a plain text file of JSON code. Click on the file name, and it will be downloaded and saved with a .maxpat extension on your local drive. You can then open that file as a Max patch.

Note that many of the examples are designed for versions of Max prior to Max 7. Therefore, they may employ some techniques that seem antiquated or obsolete due to new objects or features introduced after the patch was written. However, they should all still work correctly.

About the Author

A bio blurb is available on the UCI Music Department website.

I’ve been using Max to teach computer music and interactive arts programming for many years. In each class, I’ve constructed examples to demonstrate a concept or technique, or sometimes to answer a specific question from a student. I’ve also frequently provided examples in response to questions posed on the Cycling ’74 Max Forum, and have included most of those here, as well.

My formal education is primarily as a composer, not as a computer programmer or electrical engineer, so the techniques shown here are often imperfect in terms of their elegance, robustness, etc., but they’re generally correct. I hope this site is beneficial to you.


Several people helped with the task of tracking down all the examples from my various class websites and organizing them for this site: Martim Galvão, Jordan Watson, Richard Savery, and Lizzy Erickson. Lizzy and I have also tracked down years’ worth of examples I’ve posted in response to questions on the Cycling ’74 Max Forum.

Formatting of the patches and text in the examples on this site was done primarily by Christopher Dobrian, Chris Hadley, Blake Harrison-Lane, Kevin Anthony, Omar Costa Hamido, Alex Lough, Mark Micchelli, and Tomoko Ozawa. Website design and implementation was done primarily by Mark Micchelli. Chris Wong set up the initial Drupal configuration.

Thanks to all of you for your contribution to making this website.