The following text is intended to serve as an introduction to SuperCollider 3, an object-oriented language for sound synthesis and digital signal processing (DSP). This tutorial does not assume a background in computer science, but does assume basic familiarity with your computer and its OS, as well as a basic knowledge of acoustics and digital audio. (I'm assuming here that words like frequency and sample will not cause any confusion.)
The tutorial is written from a macOS perspective, but much of it should apply to Linux and Windows as well. The parts which specifically differ have mostly to do with GUI aspects (Graphical User Interface).
I should acknowledge that this tutorial is 'by' me in only a limited sense. In writing it I have drawn freely upon the general documentation, which was written by a number of people. This document is not intended to replace those (often more detailed) sources, and refers the reader to them constantly for further information.
A full list of those who have contributed to SuperCollider and its documentation can be seen at:
Within this text, you will see text like "Ctrl-Enter" and "Cmd-Enter". These are key combinations. They mean: hold down the first key and then press the second key (while still holding down the first).
For example: "Ctrl-Enter" is a key combination of the "Ctrl" key and the "Enter" key. It means: press and hold down the "Ctrl" key and then while keeping the "Ctrl" key held down, press the "Enter" key. Once both are pressed down at the same time, you can release both keys.
"Ctrl" is a key found on most Windows and Linux computers. Mac computers have a "Ctrl" key, but when more than one key combination is given for the same instruction, the one that starts with "Cmd" is intended for Mac users. "Cmd" is short for "command" and is the key with "⌘" on it.
For key combinations with 3 or more keys, hold down all keys except the last key and then press the last key. For example, "Ctrl-Shift-P" means: press and hold down the "Ctrl" and "Shift" keys first, then press the "P" key while still holding "Ctrl" and "Shift".
Within the text, and at the end of each section there might be a list of links to other documents, that will look something like this:
See also: 01. Introductory Remarks: Links
Most of these are meant to expand upon what you have just read, but some just point you in the direction of further information which you will probably need in the future. Some of the linked documents are written in fairly technical language, and may duplicate information which is presented in this tutorial in a more casual form. Often they are designed as reference documents for people already familiar with SC, so don't worry if everything in them doesn't immediately make sense. You won't need to have seen and/or fully understood them in order to continue with the tutorial.
Code examples within the text are in a different font:
This is a common convention in documentation of computer languages, and one that is followed throughout SC's doc. The different colours you'll see in code are just to make things clearer, and have no effect on what the code does.
You are encouraged to copy the code examples to another window and play around with modifying them. This is a time honoured way of learning a new computer language! SC will allow you to modify the original tutorial documents, but if you do so you should be careful not to save them (for instance if prompted when closing them). It's safest to copy things to a new document before changing them.
This document is part of the tutorial Getting Started With SuperCollider.
Click here to go on to the next section: 02. First Steps
Click here to return to the table of Contents: 00. Getting Started With SC