Looking for some help with "Pure Data"

Are there any good tutorials online for Pure Data? Or better yet does anyone on here have any advice to help me with it? I know how to access the sounds so that they can be edited but I have no clue on how to make the sounds remotely different or better yet create my own. I’m new to this.


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I will write out a few things for you, and hopefully steer you in the right direction :slight_smile:

  1. The FLOSS Manual is a reference manual for every object, made by the people who work on Pure Data, and offers a lot of raw knowledge. It does not offer a good educational path to learning Pd, however.

  2. The Johannes Kriedler tutorial for Pure Data is more educational than the FLOSS Manual. The FLOSS Manual is like a big reference guide, the Kriedler tutorial is like a “Pure Data 101” class from college

  3. Understanding DSP, apart from strictly musical applications, will do a lot to understand the theory. Richard G. Lyons’ “Understanding Digital Signal Processing” is a great book for that. At its heart, Pure Data is the same processes as how cell phone towers, sonar and other such things operate - its all DSP. Learning DSP is not necessary, and this Lyons book is a very boring read (although the best intro DSP book there is), but getting through it made learning Pd and Max/MSP a breeze and made me feel more sure of the concepts.

  4. For every object in Pure Data, if you right click (or command+click for OSX) that object a window will pop up asking three things: properties, open, and help. Properties lets you change the values of things (for instance, you can choose the maximum and minimum values of a slider, if its linear or logarithmic, the color, the pixel size etc.) Open lets you make sub-patches - you can use this by making “modules” (think like a hardware modular, but code) that you can mix and match for easier patching. Help is the real treat though - each object has its own help page built directly into Pd. It gives you a demonstration about how it functions, what each inlet and outlet does, and also recommends related objects. Using the “help” option when you right click objects is a constant education in itself.

I suggest opening up a few patches people have made, and right clicking the objects to learn about them. Don’t go in with previous knowledge, just see what a successful patch does and how the code flows. Once you want to start learning, use the Kriedler tutorial to dive in and explore. Do every tutorial section in order, no matter how boring. Once you want to expand, I would start by looking at the pd-extended objects and see what complements your work flow. Last, always have the FLOSS Manual on hand - it doesn’t educate well in a sequential order, but great for expanding on questions you have from Kriedler.

In general ambisonics, granular, FFT patches and the such are where the real “experimental digital synthesis” realm lies, but you can do a lot with creative modulation and a simple FM patch.


Once you fully understand how the object [T B F] works, Pure Data becomes much easier.


I brought home an Organelle today from the Brooklyn Synth Expo, and spent the evening figuring out how to make a simple original patch with Pure Data. Everything was working out ok, but I got stuck on trying to make both the keyboard and knob1 trigger changes to the pitch of a basic sine wave synth. I started poking around on the forum and found your helpful post… [T B F] was the answer! :grin:

Thanks gxl!