Programming, sound and image in Max is an internet based course, produced by Notam. It was launched in the autumn of 2010, starting 30. September 2019 for the tenth time in a new and expanded version. Information about how to register is found on the bottom of this page.
The students are given a thorough review of Max, and afterwards they will be able to produce their own solutions. The course is best suited for participants with some skills within multimedia technology. It gives basic training in both programming in Max and working with digital sound, video and graphics, depending on which version of the course you are following.
The participants get an understanding of working with sound, video, graphics and interaction in a way that is useful for people working with e.g. audio engineering, music, composition, visual arts and interaction design.
Max is a programming language and also a multimedia software. Some prior experience with software for sound, video, programming, or an equivalent to this, is an advantage.
The tool used in the course is Max from Cycling ’74, and the main focus is technical mastering of this tool. The course mainly consists of numerous tutorials which are to be handed in to our teacher. These tutorials are to give both a technical and a theoretical in-depth learning. The technical tutorials looks at different fields such as musical signal processing, sound synthesis, video, 3D graphics, algorithms and interfaces, depending on which version of the course you select. Participants must expect to spend 100-300h of work during the course, depending on which version of the course you are choosing. The reason for this large amount of time, is because Max has a high degree of complexity and less time spent would be just scratching the surface.
Participants will progress at a rate of their own within the timeframe of thew course. During this time there are several deadlines for assignment submissions. All the necessary material is downloadable online. One committed teacher, your supervisor, is available for questions, answers and comments during the whole span of the course. Course assignments is submitted electronically via email, and will be evaluated and commented on within four working days.
This page shows an example of the language and content of the course.
Max has become a sort of standard for interaction design work in connection with audio, video, computer graphics and sensor electronics. The program makes it possible to build customized solutions where traditional software comes short. This course will give a thorough review of Max so that after the course attendance you will be able to produce your own solutions.
Max is as mentioned earlier a program somewhere between a programming language and ordinary software. The program is not as difficult to master as a proper programming language, but not as intuitive as an ordinary computer program. The advantages of this kind of computer software compared to regular software are that the possibilities for flexible, custom made solutions are far greater. The downside is that it is more technically demanding to master at a fairly acceptable level.
There exist other similar programs, but one of the advantages of Max is that the program is widely distributed so that you can easily get help and support if you encounter technical problems. Another advantage is that Max has a well made collection of documentation and tutorial files, making it easier to get started without a whole lot of experience.
Illustration: Miya Masoaka’s combination of koto, laser koto and computer is an example of a combination of traditional musical instruments and computer. Courtesy of the artist.
MSP is the audio part of Max. In MSP you can, amongst other things, work with synthetic sound, analyzis of sound, sound effects and multichannel loudspeaker setups. MSP is a very powerful tool. If you have an idea for working with sound, there is a high probability that it can be realized in MSP.
Max/MSP is not the only program which makes this kind of work possible. The program Pd which is free software, Native instrument’s Reaktor Reaktor and Kyma (which uses it’s own hardware) are all closely related to Max. There are also free text based software solutions for working with sound, such as SuperCollider,Csound,CLM and Chuck. Within these systems you work with the same modular structure, but are writing the code as text.
Jitter is the part of Max that deals with graphics and video. In Jitter, you can work with such techniques as for instance video, image analysis, 3D-graphics and virtual reality. Jitter is a comprehensive programming tool for working with visuals. If you have an idea for a visual work, there is a high probability that it can be realized in Jitter.
Max/Jitter is not the only software making it possible to work with video and graphics in this way. The combination PD/GEM (Graphics Environment for Multimedia) is very similar to Max and Jitter. The software vvvv (free software) and Vdmx, are also closely related to Max. There are also text based solutions for multimedia such as Processing. In the same way as in similar audio software, all code in Processing are written in text.
This course is based on Cycling ’74’s own tutorials in Max. These tutorials are a good and thorough way of learning the program and to do it on your own is ok. The advantage of following Notam’s course is, however, that you get help and guidance along the way. It will be a significant challenge for people without a programming background to learn Max, and we expect the vast majority of people to benefit greatly from this course. We ensure further that you have understood the subject by making the student solving mandatory exercises.
You buy Max by downloading it directly from Cycling ’74’s own website. This downloaded version acts as a demo version, but to use it as a fully functional program you must have a license. The cost is per July 2019 $399. If you are a student or a teacher, it costs $250. There are also special deals for schools and institutions. You may also subscribe to Max for $9.99 per month.
The price of the software comes in addition to the course fee.
The course exists in 4 versions:
Max/MSP/Jitter for working with programming, interaction, audio, video and graphics. Duration: 9 months. 6 deadlines for handing in of tutorials. Approximated time spent: 375 hours.
Max/MSP for working with programming, interaction and audio. Duration: 6 months. 4 deadlines for handing in tutorials. Approximated time spent: 250 hours.
Max/Jitter for working with programming, interaction, video and graphics. Duration: 6 months. 4 deadlines for handing in tutorials. Approximated time spent: 250 hours.
Jitter add-on course for people who has attended the Max/MSP course or have corresponding skills. Duration: 3 months. Two deadlines for handing in tutorials. Approximated time spent: 125 hours.
Deadline for registration for all the courses including Jitter add-on: 16 September 2019.
Start for all the courses except Jitter add-on is 30. September. Jitter add-on starts 23. March 2020.
Duration: 3-9 months depending on which course you choose. Submission at your own pace. During the course there are 2-6 deadlines for submitting assignments depending on which course you choose.
Max/MSP/Jitter NOK 9,000,-
Max/MSP NOK 6,000,-
Max/Jitter NOK 6,000,-
Jitter add-on NOK 3,000,-
Teacher: Asbjørn Blokkum Flø
Number of students: 8 and 6*
Deadline for registration: 18 September 2019
* There are a limited number of students, 8 for Max and MSP and 6 for Jitter. The course is confirmed by payment.
Photo by Koka Nikoladze
To follow the course, you will need a computer with a normal audio input and output, a USB or MIDI-keyboard and the software Max.
For the MSP-part of the course, it is an advantage to to have a simple microphone connected to the computer’s audio in, but this is not completely necessary.
For the Jitter part of the course, you will need a computer with a video camera, e.g. a simple built in camera.
If you have any questions concerning the course, send them to: admin [a] notam02.no
Illustration: Laetitia Sonami’s Lady’s Glove enables new forms of interaction between the artist and the computer through Max. Courtesy of the artist.
The course is written by Asbjørn Blokkum Flø, who together with Piotr Pajchel also is the teacher. Flø holds a degree in composition from the Norwegian Academy of Music. Since 1999 he has been working as a freelance composer and sound artist with a focus on instrumental music, electronic music and sound art for radio and installations. He has been working with Max since the middle of the 90s, and has a long experience with interactive works. Photo by Ivan Brodey
The tutor for the Jitter part of the course is Piotr Pajchel. Piotr Pajchel is a video based visual artist who graduated from The Norwegian National Academy of Arts in Oslo. Piotr’s work with real-time video is used in installations, performances and live jams. He has participated in many exhibitions nationally and internationally since 2001. He was responsible for the video work in the artist collective Verdensteatret between 2003 and 2019. Piotr has used Max since 1999. Photo by Jørgen Sørheim
Registration for the course is done by paying for the course via Paypal. Select one of the four course options here:
Remember to include the following information:
First name and last name