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Mark Polishook tutorial

Routines and clocks

Use clocks to create automated, algorithmic scheduling. Among the things that clocks "play" are routines, tasks, and patterns.

To see how a clock "plays" a routine, first examine how a function works in a routine.

The first argument (and usually the only argument) to a routine is a function.

A .yield message to an expression in a function (in a routine) returns a value.

Evaluate (again)

The routine above returns nil when its evaluated a second time. This is because once a routine "yields" and if there's no additional code after the .yield message, the routine is finished, over, and done - unless it receives a reset message. Then it can start over again.


The first three .next messages return a string. The fourth .next message returns nil.

Reset the routine.


Use a .do message in a routine to make a loop.

Evaluate the routine one more time than the loop in the routine allows.

The routine returned three strings followed by nil.

Scheduling routines

Rewrite the routine so that it includes a .wait message.

Then "play" the routine, eg, send it a .play message.

Append a .reset message to the routine so that it can start over.

Clocks and the convenience of .play

When a routine receives a .play message, control (of the routine) is redirected to a clock. The clock uses the receiver of the .wait message as a unit of time to schedule ("play") the routine.

SuperCollider has three clocks, each of which has a help file.

The .play message is a convenience that allows one to write

instead of

Scheduling synths with routines

Enclose synths within routines. It's often the case that the synthdef used by the synth in routines should have an envelope with a doneAction parameter set to 2 (to deallocate the memory needed for the synth after its envelope has finished playing).


Process synths spawned in a routine through effects that run outside of the routine.


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