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Scripting

The blue music composition environment entails the use of timelines on which SoundObjects are placed. these SoundObjects are basically lists of notes, grouped as a single perceived object. These can be as simple as a single note, or a group of notes one might handle as a "motive", the "bassline for the A phrase", "the results of an predetermined matrix of sounds and silences through 28 flippings of coins", or "the stochastic group motion of migrating birds mapped to 17 instruments that produce variable timbres", etc. but underneath it all, regardless of what SoundObject you use, ultimately the SoundObject will produce notes in which blue will add to the running score and output to a .CSD file.

Seen this way, blue represents a sort of visual note-generator scheduling system. when blue was earlier on in it's development, I realized that in creating blue, I created a simple generic temporal framwork which would allow people to create score generators and only worry about generating those scores, while easily adding them to the framework of blue which would allow the manipulation and scheduling of those score generators without the original authors having to worry about developing that aspect of it. as my imagination began to wander, I saw that things like cmask, mother, cybil, and other scoring languages that have been built over time for csound could be used in the way they've always been used, but that they could easily be integrated into blue.

for myself, the SoundObjects I've built have offered me the ability to separate my concerns: as the author of blue, I concern myself with finding new ways to organize and manipulate SoundObjects, and as a SoundObject author, I concern myself just with making objects that generate notes, leaving the scheduling of that SoundObject to the framework.

But, not everyone programs in Java, and there are also scripts and script libraries to be used in other languages already made.

Having seen that the SoundObject system and temporal framework of blue was a pretty open architecture, I decided at the time to explore the possibilities of using script within blue by creating the Python SoundObject so that i could use maurizio umberto puxeddu's Python pmask library within blue. what that allowed was for the ability to write Python scripts within blue, blue executing and bringing back in the generated notes from the Python script and integrating that with the other notes of the native Java SoundObjects.

After successfully developing and proving the possibility to myself, I continued on to build other SoundObjects as user's requested or as I desired for my own compositional explorations.

One day, some time back, a user suggested that I build a generic external SoundObject that would let you write any script within blue, provide a commandline to be used, and have blue write the script to a temporary file, run the commandline on it, and bring the generated notes back into blue. busy at the time, I later did build that SoundObject, and it opened up a world of possibilities.

With the new external SoundObject, it became possible to write script in any language within blue. this means one could use not only scripting languages like perl, Python, shell scripts, batch files, JavaScript, wscript, etc., but also run specially created text input for score generators like CMask, nGen, etc. (note: cmask does not currently work within blue, as it is unable to print to stdout; more on this and possible ways around it later). It also meant that other people's work on score generating libraries and scripts, regardless of language, now had the ability to be reused within blue.

As blue has developed the past couple of years, from its initial goals of embedding timelines within timelines, to its current state as a generic temporal framework and all-around composition environment, I've always developed with the mindset of keeping this as open and generic as possible, to build a tool that could grow as I knew I'd always be exploring new things in composition. These days, the inclusion of these two SoundObjects, the external SoundObject and the Python SoundObject, are now becoming part of my everyday use as I work with blue, allowing me to explore ideas rapidly, creating objects and functions which follow the models of my musical work, and which also serve as possible prototypes to new SoundObjects which I may later decide to create in Java and add to blue.

From my own experience, I'd highly recommend to anyone that they learn a little bit about scripting and how to use it to achieve their musical goals, as I've found the experience highly liberating and musically rewarding .

Why Use Scripting?

For some, the use of scripting or programming may never be a factor in how they go about creating their music, as the tools they have already are enough. But for some, it may be easier to go about expressing their needs musically by use of script. and for others, there just might not be anything available to do what one wants to do.

Within blue, there are many ways to go about expressing and designing your musical work. Included with blue are the built in SoundObjects which can take in standard csound scores. Together with the use of the noteProcessors in blue, already there are the tools to write standard csound scores, move them in time, and manipulate those scores by adding or multiplying pfields by user given values(to achieve things like scaling amplitudes or transposing notes) or retrograde notes.

However, lets say you might find scripting in your prefered language to be easier to achieve your goals, or you want to use a scoring language other than csound's standard score format, or someone has advertised a new set of scripts or libraries to use. you could do all of this within blue.

In my case, I was recently modeling an object system that represented a musical model that hasn't been used much in current electronic music programs. I enjoy using the blue environment, but this was a case where I needed to do some work by programming, and the existing tools didn't exist in blue. The process was pretty experimental and the use of compiled languages like Java would have been slower than using a scripting language, as the prototypes for the object model I was building were changing rapidly. What ended up happening is that I worked in Python within blue using the Python SoundObject, developing my core objects, and was then able to rapidly experiment with composing with these objects by using other Python SoundObjects which used my core class definitions, moving them around visually and listening to how the musical output. I could have done all of this outside of blue, strictly using script, but the visual element and the ease of quickly copying blocks of Python script and moving them around, made experimentation much quicker and more apparent to me. A great benefit out of all of this is now I have a prototype which I can then perhaps use to program SoundObjects for blue in Java, maybe adding a GUI to the object to control parameters, making the process of using the SoundObjects that much easier.

The total process of prototyping and experimenting was a great experience, as I felt that each part of the process functioned to help me best express what I was going after. I used script to quickly create the objects I wanted to use to model the musical model I had in mind, and then used blue to experiment with those scripts to hear the sounds they could produce.

Finally, it lead to strong candidates for objects which I could go on to build in a more generic fashion for everyone to else to use in blue, adding to the compositional possibilities.

In the past, I've also built simple functions to do a very specific task, like "add a value to all p4's of all notes". Something like this could be the case where you have a simple task that might be monotonous and you could probably achieve your goal much more quickly by a little script. (For example, I want to generate a test file for my orchestra and all it has are notes lasting two seconds duration, whose start times are every three seconds; something like this could be done in maybe 6-10 lines of script, regardless of the size of the orchestra.)

Those are some of my reasons for the use of script for musical work, and I'm sure others have their own reasons. In the end, it's up to you to evaluate your situation and see if it will aid in your work or not.

Scripting and blue

Every once in a while someone releases a new program for score generation, a utility they've decided to make for their own benefit that they've graciously shared with the community. Often, these musical tools are exclusive in their use, meaning they're good for their use, but are difficult to integrate with other work.

For example: say you're working on a piece and want to use an external score generator to generate a score to add to your piece. now, in experimenting, you might have to:

  1. Create your csound score

  2. Create your input file for the external score generator in another file

  3. Run the score generator

  4. Copy the generated score into your csound score file

  5. Repeat process as you experiment

Now imagine that process to the nth degree if you decide to use multiple external programs!

However, with blue, you can do all of that in one environment. You could write your standard csound scores as well as your input to your chosen score generator within blue, press the play button and then have blue do the work of going out to compile the score generator material and bring it back in, integrate it with your csound score, and output a single unified score file. You get the benefit of using the visual timeline to move your generated score blocks around in time, as well as only having to concentrate on the score input to the score generator, leaving all of the tedious work to blue to handle.

Or, say you're working on a score generating library in a scripting language. Now that you've finished it, you want to start working with it. but say you want to also do standard csound scores along with your scripts; having to do the two in the single scripting environment might not be optimal, as you would constantly have to use "print()" functions or use note objects, when it might just be easier to write "i1 0 1 2 3 4 5" and work with that for some of your work, and use your libraries for others. In this case, blue can handle that in that you can call your libraries you've developed and script the parts you want to script within blue, as well handle all of the standard csound score type work.

Within blue there are currently two main objects for scripting, the Python SoundObject and the external SoundObject. The external SoundObject runs scripts outside of blue and brings the results back into blue, and the execution of those scripts is as fast as it would be running the script outside of blue. With the external SoundObject, one may also choose from a variety of scripting and score generating languages to use. The Python SoundObject is limited to Python, and runs Python scripts much slower than they would be for running a Python script outside of blue using the external SoundObject. However, the PythonObject has two main features which may influence your decision in which to use it or not: it does not require Python to be installed on the system as it uses Jython to interpret the script (Jython is an all-Java implmentation of the Python interpreter; for more information about Jython, visit http://www.jython.org ), and it does not reinitialize the interpreter between uses.

The second point regarding the Python SoundObject may need some explanation: by not reinitializing the interpreter between uses, all Python SoundObjects in blue all share the same interpreter. By doing this, you can define variables, functions, and objects in one block, while using those variables in another block.

As an example, in my recent work with the Python SoundObject, I've set up the first PythonObject in my blue work file to have nothing but class definitions as well as function definitions. The second PythonObject block only has script that sets up instances of those classes written in the first PythonObject, and in this second block I did all of my initialization work for these classes. Finally, throughout the rest of the blue work file, I had PythonObjects that used the class objects I set up in the second PythonObject. This would not be possible using the external SoundObject, as once a script is run, all existing information in memory for that script is lost (unless you decided to make some kind of serialization scheme to write data to a file to be accessed by other scripts, or perhaps were using a web server to maintain state data).

The next two sections below will explain how to use the two different SoundObjects, and for the Python programmer, help you determine when you might want to use one object verse the other.

External SoundObject

The External SoundObject is a generic object that allows you to write script within blue to be executed outside of blue and have the generated score be brought back in. The way this is implemented, blue will read in anything that the external program writes to stdout. for most scripting languages, this equates to a "print()" command of some sort in your script.

The External SoundObject's editor takes in two inputs, a script and a commandline to run on that script. technically, when blue is in the score generating pass and comes to an external SoundObject, the external SoundObject writes your script to a temp file, then runs the commandline given, either swapping “$infile” with the name of the temporary file generated, or appending the name of the temporary file to the end of the commandline if no “$infile” is found.

Let's say you're writing a simple perl script:

 print "i1 0 2 3 4 5\n"

and you for your commandline you use:

perl

or perhaps:

/usr/bin/perl $infile

When blue goes to generate a .CSD file and comes across your external SoundObject, what will happen is that:

  1. Your script will get written to a temp file (for this example, let's say it's "/tmp/temp4253.txt")

  2. blue executes the commandline given with that temp file.

    1. For the first commandline, it'll then run:

      perl /tmp/temp4253.txt
      
    2. For the second commandline, it'll then run:

      /usr/bin/perl /tmp/temp4253.txt
      
  3. perl runs, and will print "i1 0 2 3 4 5\n" to stdout

  4. blue will get that output from perl, then bring that back in, convert it to blue Note class.

  5. blue then will shift the note over to the start time of your external SoundObject, then scale the note to the duration of the SoundObject.

And that's it!

Note.

In general, all time values for start are from time-zero within the SoundObject. This is like taking a three notes: you know one starts at the beginning, one starts 1 second later, and one starts 2 seconds later. No matter where you put those three notes, the relationship of that block of notes is the same, one at the beginning, one 2 seconds later, etc. so it is with SoundObjects in blue. When you make a script to generate notes, have it start at time zero and let blue do the scaling and translation of time for the SoundObject. blue was made this way so that no matter what you generate within the block, the generated notes will start at the start of the SoundObject and will last the duration of the SoundObject.

Now, any script that has a commandline that can execute on a file will work with blue. so, as another example, let's say you want to use Python and you're using the pmask library. You have both of these installed on your system and you know they work fine because you've tested them outside of blue. Now, let's say you wrote the following Python script (which really, was written by Hans Mikelson as a an example for using pmask, taken from the CSound Magazine):

from pmask import *


     density = Mask(UniformRandom(), PowerSegment([(0.0,
 0.03),  (20.0, 0.5)], 3.0), PowerSegment([(0.0, 0.08), (20.0, 1.0)], 3.0))
     duration = Mask(UniformRandom(), PowerSegment([(0.0, 
 0.4), (20.0, 3.0)], 1.0), PowerSegment([(0.0, 0.8), (20.0, 5.0)], 1.0))
     frequency_mask = Mask(UniformRandom(), PowerSegment([(0.0,
  3000.0), (20.0, 90.0)], 1.0), PowerSegment([(0.0, 5000.0), (20.0, 150.0)],
  1.0))
     frequency = Quantizer(frequency_mask, LinearSegment([(0.0,
  400.0), (20.0, 50.0)]), 0.95)

     index = Mask(UniformRandom(), PowerSegment([(0.0,
2.0),   (20.0, 3.0)], 1.0), PowerSegment([(0.0, 3.0), (20.0, 5.0)], 1.0))
     panorama = Range(0, 1)

     amplitude = Lorenz('x')

     ss = ScoreSection(0.0, 20.0, 1, density, duration, 
frequency,  index, panorama, amplitude)


     print str(ss)

and you tested it outside of blue and it worked fine. Well, now you could create an external SoundObject in blue, paste in this script, set the commandline to "python", and now have the notes imported into blue.

Let's try a non-scripting example now and use Mark Williamson's drum pattern scoring utility to generate a drum pattern(available at http://www.junklight.com). Mark's utility is itself a perl script, but it takes in a text file using a scoring language he developed.

copying in the example drum.pat file into the scripting area:

instrument1 "i1 $now .2 2000 2.2 0"
instrument2 "i1 $now .2 2000 2.4 1"
instrument3 "i1 $now .1 2000 4 1"
instrument4 "i1 $now .2 2000 1.6 0.5"

instrument5 "i1 $now .1 2000 4 0"
pattern1 1 1 1 
pattern2 1 1

pattern3 1 1 1 1
pattern4 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
pattern5 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
plist1 1 2
ilist1 3 5

bar length 1 second
time error .01
# poly rhythm example
loop 5

 play 1 with 1
 play 2 with 2

endloop
# straight 4/4

loop 5  
 play 2 with 1
 play 3 with 3


endloop

loop 5 
 play plist 1 with 4

 play 4 with ilist 1

 play 3 with 1
endloop


loop 5 
 play plist 1 with 4
 play 5 with ilist 1

 play 4 with 1

endloop

Having unzipped the drumscript.zip into my home direcotory, I used the following commandline:

perl /home/steven/drumText/drums.pl -input

I ran the test button and got... nothing! I got alot of exceptions printed to the console. Running the drum script outside of blue, I saw that by default, some logging information was being printed (the name of the infile and input). Modifying mark's perl script a bit to comment out those two print statements, I reran the script within blue and... success! The generated output from mark's script successfully was rebrought back into blue.

Score generation programs can either print out to stdout or write out to a file. If writing out to a file, care must be taken to use the $outfile parameter of the External SoundObject so that after the external program finishes, blue will know to grab the file's contents back into blue.

Python SoundObject

The Python SoundObject is a Python-only scripting SoundObject which uses the Jython Python interpreter (more information about this all-Java Python interpreter is available at http://www.jython.org). Jython is included with blue, and being so, it means that if you are using the Python SoundObject in blue, you do not need Python installed on your computer. The Python SoundObject is made in such a way that it in no way uses any Python installations you may or may not have on your computer, but instead only uses what is a part of Jython. If you want to add extra packages and libraries to use with the Python SoundObject, you may copy them into the lib/PythonLib directory or in the userhome/.blue/pythonLib folder. As an example of adding your own library, you can see that already included with blue in the lib/PythonLib directory is the pmask library by Maurizio Umberto Puxeddu (currently, I do not know where this library exists anymore on the internet; if you know where it can be downloaded from, please let me know and I will update this part of the documentation to better give credit to Maurizio).

So, to clarify, having a Python interpreter installed on your computer does not in any way affect the Python SoundObject within blue; they are two completely different entities. also, if you have a library installed for use with your Python interpreter installed on your computer, it will *NOT* be accessible to the Python SoundObject. to use it, you will have to copy it into the lib/PythonLib directory of blue.

Note: what you could do, also, is put the individual libraries you install in the lib/PythonLib directory as part of your PythonPATH environment variable, such that all of the libraries will be both accessible to your Python interpreter on your computer as well as the one in blue. It is not recommended to put the entire PythonLib directory as part of your PythonPath, however, as the PythonLib has many of the same files from the standard Python installation and may cause issues with locating standard library files. However, I find that just copying the library twice into both the PythonLib and my standard Python install's directory to be sufficient and easier to manage.

Using Python with the External SoundObject versus the Python SoundObject

This has been the most often asked question since the addition of the external SoundObject blue, and when I initially put in the external SoundObject, I thought that the Python SoundObject would become somewhat unnecessary.

But a week or so after the addition the of externalObject, I started using Python alot more in conjunction with blue and found that the Python SoundObject has a few key benefits which make me use it now everyday.

The Case for Using the External SoundObject

First of all, performance of the PythonObject is not as fast as using the standard Python interpreter with the external SoundObject. For simple scripts, the difference in speed isn't that noticeable, but when using something like pmask which has alot of calculations when generating score output, the speed difference does become an issue. If speed is an issue, then you might choose to use the external SoundObject, if the benefits listed below aren't an issue.

Also, if you have an existing Python interpreter installed on your computer and have libraries installed and are just simply used to your setup, then it might be just plain easier to use your existing Python setup rather than dealing with where things are in blue and managing having libraries installed for both the resident Python interpreter and blue's PythonLib.

And to add to all of that, you may be using features which are part of the most recent Python interpeter version, and those features may not be available as part of Jython (more information as to what Jython supports is available at the Jython homepage, http://www.jython.org). Also, if you're using libraries which call native code, they will not work with Jython.

So, if the Python SoundObject is slower, if you have to manage another set of libraries, and you might not have all of the features of standard Python available, why use the Python SoundObject at all?

The Case for Using the Python SoundObject

Now, just to let you know, I use exclusively the Python SoundObject when I'm doing Python scripts in blue. I haven't come across any of the standard libraries I've needed that were't included with Jython, and if it's a sign of anything, Maurizio Umberto Puxeddu's pmask library works fine with the PythonObject.

One of the things I used to do is keep an installation of blue on a zip disk, including my work. The nice thing about this was that I was able to take this disk and work off it while at work on a windows machine, as well as take it home everyday to my linux machine and start up blue without having to do anything different. Because I used the PythonObject at that time, I didn't have to worry at all about anything installed within either system, as all of it was contained within blue. It's also a reassuring thought that if I took my work to a friend's computer, be it a macintosh, windows, or linux pc, I wouldn't have to worry about if Python was installed on their computer.

Besides these very practical issues, the way you can go about using the PythonObject differs very much from the usage of Python with the externalObject.

With the externalObject, each script run is its own entity, run with a different interpreter. This means that memory is not shared between instances of the externalObject: variables and results of execution in one externalObject are not accessible to another externalObject. However, with the PythonObject, the interpreter is not reinitialized between runs, meaning you can share results between one PythonObject and the next. This can of course lead to very convoluted methods of developing scripts within blue, which is of course not recommended, but it does have some very pragmatic possibilities which are very useful.

In my latest work with blue, I've been using almost exclusively the PythonObject for all of my SoundObjects in blue. I did use some sound SoundObjects initially to draft some sounds out, converting them to instruments in the orchestra manager later. I also used genericScore objects for writing some test notes for my instruments which I keep around also for experimenting, but for the piece's final output, they are not being used.

For setting up my piece, I developed some classes to use in Python, instantiated multiple instances of the classes set with different parameters, and then use those instances in different PythonObjects in blue for creating the score of my piece. Because the interpreter is not being reinitialized between uses by the PythonObject, I'm able to use one PythonObject to hold only definitions of functions and classes, another PythonObject which only has my initialization scripts that makes instances of the classes defined in the first PythonObject, and from all other PythonObjects, I use the instances from the second PythonObject as my generators.

to better clarify, my first PythonObject has scripts like:

class Yo(): 
    def do(self, a,b):
        print "doing something with " + str(a) + " : " + str(b)

    def yoyo(self, a,b):
        print "do something with a and b which are instances of Yo()"

while my second PythonObject has script like:

generator1 = Yo()
generator2 = Yo()
generator3 = Yo()

while all other PythonObjects in my piece have a minimal amount of script, something like:

generator1.generateNotes(input1, input2, input3)

I find that it's a nice way to separate the concerns of each object. as I'm currently in the middle of working on the piece, I'm finding that first PythonObject getting a bit big, so I'm thinking i'll split that into different PythonObjects, which I can visually see labeled on the timeline by changing their names to something like "generator classes", "generator utility functions", "constants", etc. and probably in the future, as I get to finishing this piece, I'll probably take all of these class definitions and make a library of Python code out of it and just have it installed into my PythonLib directory. But having the way it is now I've found to be very convenient in development as it's easy to find all of my code.

Note: the execution order of blue is top-down per soundLayer, meaning it will process all SoundObjects in the first soundLayer, and if it finds a polyObject, it will go down into that and process the first soundLayer, etc. before going on to the next SoundObject. because of the execution order, I can put all of my PythonObjects that have nothing to do with note generation (my class definitions, utility functions, and intitialization scripts) in the first few soundLayers of my piece and know that they'll always get interpreted by the jython interpreter and left in the memory space first before trying to process the other SoundObjects.

Note: as a warning, also because of the execution order, if you reopen your piece and try the [test] button on a PythonObject that uses code from the initial PythonObjects and find that it's not generating notes, it's because that code has yet to be entered into the memory space of the interpreter. either individually running all of the PythonObjects that deal with class definitions and initialization or just pressing the [play/stop] button to generate your score will get those objects interpreted and entered into the jython interpreter's memory.

Because of this alone, I find I use the Python SoundObject more than I do using the external SoundObject. if I was to use the external SoundObject and wanted work an even remotely similar manner, I'd have to come up with some strange hack to maybe write script in one external object have the execution of that object write that script into a file which would have to be reimported into other scripts. not a horrible hack, but enough for me to want to avoid, especially when it's not necessary. (though, if you're programming in a scripting language besides Python, you would hack to work in a manner like this...)

Usage

For the PythonObject, instead of using a print command to stdout to bring things back into blue, you simply assign the variable

score

to the text string of your generated notes. when the PythonObject is done processing, blue gets whatever value is assigned to that variable and parses it as a text score, then proceeds to do the standard operations of scaling and translating the notes in time, then applying any noteProcessors which may have been added to it.

Also, should you need, the variable

blueDuration

is assigned the value of the subjective duration of the PythonObject on the timeline.

So, within your scripts, you have access to the duration of the SoundObject should you want to make your script use that for any purpose you might have. one example might be that you have a score generating function that depends on duration, maybe if it has less duration it produces notes with louder amplitude and than if it has a longer duration.

Let's say you're writing a simple Python script:

 score = "i1 0 2 3 4 5\n"
  1. the first thing blue does is clear the

    score
    

    variable in the interpreter and assign the variable

    blueDuration
    

    the value of the duration of the SoundObject on the timeline. For this example, it does not affect the outcome of the score generated

  2. Next, blue runs the script. in this case, the only thing that happens is that the

    score
    

    variable is being assigned the text string of a single note, along with a newline.

  3. At the end of the script's execution, the

    score
    

    variable is read. the score variable may or may not have anything assigned to it, but the script within the PythonObject is still run. this allows for the possibility of code that needs to be run but doesn't necessary need to generate score text at that time. (as mentioned above in The Case for Using the Python Object)

  4. blue parses the score text, making Note objects for blue to use, applies scaling and translation of time to make the genreated notes start at the time of the PythonObject and last the subjective duration, then applies any noteProcessors.

And that's it!

For the following example, I will make a very simple score generator that produces as many notes as I give as an argument. the entire code for the script is:

def generateNotes(numOfNotes):
    scoreText = ""

    for i in range(numOfNotes):
        scoreText += "i1 " + str(i) + " 2 3 4 5\n"

    return scoreText

score = generateNotes(10)

The function I made,

generateNotes(numOfNotes)

, takes in the number of notes I want to generate. for the above, I wanted it to generate 10 notes, and if I printed out the above

generateNotes(10)

, I would have gotten the result:

i1 0 2 3 4 5 
i1 1 2 3 4 5
i1 2 2 3 4 5
i1 3 2 3 4 5
i1 4 2 3 4 5
i1 5 2 3 4 5
i1 6 2 3 4 5
i1 7 2 3 4 5
i1 8 2 3 4 5
i1 9 2 3 4 5

This text string above is returned by the

generateNotes()

function and assigned to the

score

variable. blue then grabs that text from the

score

variable and parses it and the proceeds with compiling out the .CSD file.

Note: this is a very basic example of a note generator. As you work with Python more for score generation, you'll probably either create a slew of text-handling classes that use lots of regular expressions or a more object-based system that interacts amongst itself before generating score text output. I hope to address these types of design decisions in the near future in another tutorial which will hopefully help those new to scripting and programming learn how to go about analyzing music goals in terms of programming and then designing and implementing their solutions.

Usage Ideas

Using the external SoundObject and the Python SoundObject, besides their general usefulness of allowing scripting in blue, may be considered alternative methods of extending blue through script rather than compiling Java programs. The extensibility of the system is very open-ended, as whatever is available to Python and other languages now becomes accesible to blue, as well as using score-generating programs that are able to print to stdout.

So if you wanted to write a perl script that hits weather websites on the internet, gathers data from them, and then maps that data to different parameters of a note generating algorithm, you could build that outside of blue, but then have the added benefit of being able to use that within blue.

If you build a C++ program to generate scores, you're able to call it from within blue.

Maybe even something simple like doing a text include of a text file could be done rather easily with a few lines of Python or perl script.

Also, you can approach building scripts for tools as also being prototypes for building fully qualified blue SoundObjects and noteProcessors in Java, which has the added benefit of being able to have a GUI added to it. so if you have a utility script you use often, suggesting it to a Java programmer could lead to it's inclusion into blue, where it could be remade in a way to have it be usable by non-programmers as well.

Future Enhancements

As blue has developed over time, and as the ways to use it are being augmented with each new build, I'm always looking for new ways to make the process of working with blue easier. My recent work with the Python SoundObject and the External SoundObject have shown me that there's a lot of neat things that can be done with blue, things I really didn't account for when I first built blue, and would now love to handle. For the future, in addition to developing more and more tools for blue itself, it would be nice to be able to have more conventional coding tools to aid scripters in the script work for blue. I'm aware of the limitations for debugging and console output right now in blue, but, then again, all of the scripting additions to blue are rather young, and blue's development continues every day.

For immediate goals, I've written down the following as things I should look into now:

Python test console for the PythonObject

Like the test button, but would show all output to stdout as it looks before being processed by blue, as well as showing all output to stderr.

Language neutral script library

With the PythonLib for the Python SoundObject, it's nice to have a portable way of keeping all of the scripts that can be used with blue along with blue, if you happen to be carrying your work around with you. I think that this ability would be fantastic for the external SoundObject. already i have a method that returns the absolute path to the lib directory of blue; with this, I think it should be possible that before blue runs any script, it could look for a "<BLUE_SCRIPT_LIB>" constant of some sort and do a text replace to put in the absolute path to the lib directory. that way, you could do something like:

from <BLUE_SCRIPT_LIB>.myLibrary import *

as well as use a commandline like:

perl <BLUE_SCRIPT_LIB>/myLibrary/myProgram -input $infile

Which would make the library accessible from any system. the nice thing about something like this is that I could then include other people's script libraries and programs as part of the blue release, or other people may wish to advertise that their scripts are usable within blue and have a place to install it in that is easily accessible on any blue system. (For example, using the above convention, if I have a blue work file that repeatedly calls a library that someone else developed, I can put that library in my lib dir, use the convention above, and then say if someone else wanted to run that file or if I was bringing that file to another computer, all I'd have to do is install the library in the lib directory and everything should work, as opposed to having to do a find and replace on ever call to the library to change the path to where it is on the new computer.)

Finding a text editor component thats made for programming

This would be fantastic, to find a Java text component that I can swap in that would handle things like syntax-hilighting of different languages, maybe has some kind of help system for syntax and references, etc. I haven't found one I could easily use or modify yet, but hopefully something will come along.

Final Thoughts

As time goes on, I'm sure there will be alot of additions to blue to help aid scripting and the use of other score generating programs within blue. I hope this tutorial has helped to show how to use the external SoundObject and Python SoundObject in blue, as well as helped show what's very possible by using these SoundObjects.

If you have any comments, suggestions for improving this tutorial, or questions, please feel free to email me at stevenyi@gmail.com.

Thanks and good luck!

Steven