SuperCollider is one of the most expressive, elegant and popular programming languages used in contemporary computer music. It has become well known for its fantastic sound, strong object oriented design, useful primitives for musical composition, and openness in terms of aims and objectives. Unlike much commercial software, one of the key design ideas of SuperCollider is to be a tabula rasa, a blank page, that allows musicians to design their own musical compositions or instruments with as few technological constraints as possible. There are other environments that operate in similar space, such as Pure Data, CSound, Max/MSP, ChucK, LuaAV, and now JavaScript’s webaudio, but I believe that SuperCollider excels at important aspects required for such work, and for this reason it has been my key platform for musical composition and instrument design since 2001, although I have enjoyed working in other environments as well.

This book is the outcome of teaching SuperCollider in various British higher education institutions since 2005, in particular at the Digital Music and Sound Arts programme at the University of Brighton, Music Informatics at the University of Sussex, Sonic Arts at Middlesex University and Music Informatics at the University of Westminster. Lacking the ideal course book, I created a tutorial that I’ve used for teaching synthesis and algorithmic composition in SuperCollider. The tutorial’s focus was not on teaching SuperCollider as a programming language, but to explore key concepts, from different synthesis techniques and algorithmic composition to user interfacing with graphical user interfaces or hardware. I have subsequently used this tutorial in diverse workshops from Istanbul to Reykjavik; from Madrid to Rovaniemi.

An earlier version of this book was published on the DVD of MIT's The SuperCollider Book. The SuperCollider book is an excellent source for the study of SuperCollider and is highly recommended, but has different aims than this current book as it goes deeper into more specific areas, whilst the current book aims to be present a smoother introduction, a general overview and a specific focus on practical uses of SuperCollider. The original tutorial was initially released as .sc files, then moved over to the new .scd document format, and finally ported to the .html format that became the standard help file format of SuperCollider. SuperCollider documentation has now gained a new and fantastic documentation format which can be studied by exploring the new documentation system of SuperCollider. However, with this updated tutorial, I have decided to port it into a more modern ebook format that would be applicable in the diverse readers on different operating systems. I have chosen GitBook as the publication platform for this rewriting, as I can write the book in the attractive markdown format and use github for revision control. Furthermore, I can publish the book ad-hoc, get real-time feedback from readers, and disseminate the book in the typical modern ebook formats appropriate to most ebook readers.

The aim with this book is the same as my initial tutorials written in 2005, i.e., to serve as a good undergraduate introduction to SuperCollider programming, audio synthesis, algorithmic composition, and interface building of innovative creative audio systems. I do hope that my past and future students will find this work useful, and I sincerely hope that it also is beneficial to anyone who decides to embark upon the exciting expedition into the fantastic and enticing world of SuperCollider: the ideal workshop for people whose creative material is sound.

I encourage any reader who finds bugs, errors, or simply would like a better explanation of a topic to give me feedback through this book’s [feedback channel]: (

Brighton, February, 2016.