Scripting and Live-Coding Max with Scheme for Max – On-demand

Level: Some experience with Max, plus some experience with any programming language

Scheme for Max brings the power and flexibility of Scheme Lisp to Max, for sequencing, patch scripting, and building complex interactive systems.

In this workshop, you will be introduced to interactive coding with the Scheme for Max object, and will build a performance capable sequencer all in code, that you can interact with live.

Session Learning Outcomes

By the end of this session a successful student will be able to:

  • Create interactive patches and programs with the s4m object

  • Automate patches by sending messages and scripting in Scheme

  • Create sequence playback functions and interact with the Max transport and scheduler

  • Create live coding objects in Scheme

  • Know how to keep learning Scheme with further online resources

Session Study Topics

  • Why Scheme For Max was created and what we can do with it

  • Basic Scheme programming: data types, functions, variables

  • The s4m Max API: interacting with the scheduler, transport, midi, and GUI

  • Samples of Lisp idioms and live coding constructs, and further resources to learn Scheme


  • A computer and internet connection

  • A webcam and mic

  • A Zoom account

  • Access to a copy of Max 8 (i.e. trial or full license)

  • An installation of the Scheme for Max package (free)


  • An installation of a text editor and the ability to edit and save
    plain text (code) files

About the workshop leader 

Iain Duncan is a musician and music technologist in Victoria, BC, where he is pursuing graduate studies at the University of Victoria in music technology and algorithmic composition.

He is the author of Scheme For Max, and has previously worked with numerous computer music and general programming languages. He also works as a software architecture consultant at Crosslake Tech.