SuperCollider interaction

If you are using SuperDirt, you are also somehow using SuperCollider. Most of the time, you can’t really know about this because the process handling SuperCollider is invisible. Everytime you start Sardine, you also incidentally start SuperCollider and SuperDirt with only one command. SuperCollider is a very exciting programming language and audio server. Since its first publication in 1996, this software has been adopted by many musicians worldwide because of its robustness and performance. Some people are live coding directly in SuperCollider because they can handle its verbosity and complexity. Most of the time, people are developing high-level layers to communicate more easily with SuperCollider just like we do.

To get a better understanding of the Sardine environment, think about it this way:

  • Sardine is an independant layer on top of everything. It can do MIDI and OSC alone.
  • SuperDirt is a specialised audio engine designed to make live coding on SuperCollider simpler.
  • SuperCollider is the fundamental audio server that receives all the information and processes audio.

We can't do the audio synthesis or the scheduling directly in Python. The language is not fast enough to handle most of it and we must rely on external software to make things work smoothly. However, we can collaborate with it very easily.

It means that Sardine has a few commands that will help you get the most out of SuperCollider:

  • SC.scope() will open an oscilloscope pop-up window to visualise all your audio channels.
  • SC.freqscope() will open a frequency analyzer pop-up window to visualise your audio output.
  • will open a general pop-up window that can help you with a few things:
    • monitoring your CPU usage.
    • monitoring the audio volume.
    • recording sound on the server.

It does not end here. You can also execute arbitrary code written in SCLang, SuperCollider’s programming language. To do so, simply pass a string to the SC() object:

# Play a sinewave at 200hz
SC("a = play({ * 0.25});")

# Stop that sinewave

In the future, it is very likely that Sardine interaction with SuperCollider will be further refined. For the moment, it is only used as lightweight high-level layer on top of SuperCollider :)