Max/MSP and JavaScript

2010-02-11 00:00:00 +0000 by Alex R. Young

In a previous life I was heavily into digital music production. One
popular tool in that area is Max/MSP -- a visual programming language
for music and graphics. It's not just used by hackers, many musicians
and artists also use it. In some ways it's more accessible than
Processing, and is more adept at audio.

Max/MSP allows you to draw networks of audio processing units and
manipulate them in real time. You can interact with MIDI hardware as

What's interesting about Max/MSP is in recent years they've added a
JavaScript API. The API uses globally available functions and objects,
so the API feels a bit like Processing. The company that makes Max/MSP,
Cycling74, has a set of tutorials up called JavaScript in

You can use JavaScript to create UIs with OpenGL, so you could create
interesting animations as well as scripted audio processing.

If you'd like to see some example patches, try searching for JavaScript
in the Max Objects Database. Max is
actually commercial software (it starts at \$250), but there's a 30 day
demo if you're interested in experimenting. If you've got a Mac you can
load Quartz Composer to see a similar type of tool which is focused on