Real-time Audio Reactive Visual Programming in Max – On demand

Level: Informative for all levels of experience

One of the best aspects of Max MSP is it’s ability to do real-time visual rendering. In this workshop we’re going to learn how to program our own custom visual designs as well as different techniques to make them respond to audio in real-time. Through this workshop we’ll explore different aspects of how Jitter and OpenGL operate within the Max domain along with a look into many incredible max objects. We’ll also touch on some signal processing techniques and how to patch it all together.

Session Learning Outcomes 

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

  • Program their own visual animations in Max MSP

  • Have a basic understanding of Jitter, OpenGL and the differences between them.

  • Learn several techniques to make the visuals responsive to audio in real-time

  • Think of the design aesthetics from a new perspective.

Session Study Topics

  • Intro to jitter and OpenGL + key objects

  • Real Time Audio Responsive Techniques

  • Creating the Visuals

  • Design Thinking and Philosophy


  • A computer and internet connection

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

About the workshop leader

Andrew Robinson is an Arizona based interactive experience designer, artist, and educator.

Andrew has been designing real-time audio responsive animations for live music performances, music videos, and more for the past 6 years and has had the opportunity to work with some incredible musical talent. He also received his master’s degree in interactive experience design from Arizona State University in 2019 and now works at Synthesis Center as an educator and researcher for experience design.

Generative Music Tools: Turing Machine – LIVE Session

Level: Intermediate

There are a broad array of techniques musicians can use to generate music in Max. One such process involves taking inspiration from Alan Turing’s early work on proto-computers, in particular the notion of a tape with data being displayed on it.

This workshop will provide you with the information to construct such a generative device, a ‘Turing Machine’, to supplement your compositional practice.

Session Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this session you will be able to:

  • Understand the fundamentals of a Turing Machine in a musical context.

  • Patch together a generative process using randomisation and counters.

  • Build a functional UI to tweak different aspects of the generative process in real time.

  • Use the finished device to both generate music through MIDI and control broader parameters of software instruments.

Session Study Topics

  • Turing machines, generative music.

  • Random processes: drunken walks and probability.

  • Visual design in Max

  • Composition through MIDI and software instrument manipulation.


  • A computer and internet connection
  • Access to a copy of Max 7 or 8 (i.e. trial or full license)

About the workshop leader 

Samuel Pearce-Davies is a composer, performer, music programmer and Max hacker living in Cornwall, UK.

With a classical music background, it was his introduction to Max/MSP during undergraduate studies at Falmouth University that sparked Sam’s passion for music programming and algorithmic composition.

Going on to complete a Research Masters in computer music, Sam is now studying a PhD at Plymouth University in music-focused AI.