Sonic Art: An Introduction to Electroacoustic Music Composition.

Adrian Moore (2016). University of Sheffield Sound Studios. A tutorial book for all students of sonic art contextualising a number of toolkits made at the sound studios. Published by Routledge. 

USSS Tool kit download

Sonic Art: An introduction to electroacoustic music composition. Download a brief example from chapter 2 explaining some of the ussstools. NB. This free-to-view chapter is from a very early edition of the text. Many new updates including multi-channel tools have been added to the book. 

Using USSS tools with Pure Data Vanilla (Windows)

You can now use the USSS tools with Pure Data Vanilla. A number of tools have changed slightly but the ussstools should now work with Vanilla and extended as before. With Vanilla, all you need to do is add the following libraries via the Deken library manager. 

Libraries for addition via Deken

The window above shows my own personal setup. I made a completely separate directory for additional libraries. You find the Deken library manager in Pure Data under Help>Find externals. Type the external you require and let it install it. (I didn't put these in my pure data folder in case, in the future, I wanted to remove or move them). 

A bundle of important libraries to make USSStools function with Pd vanilla. (Windows only). See below for install instructions.

There are a couple of libraries that require adding at startup (zexy, gem and iemlib1 - see preferences > startup) but mainly your Pure Data needs to locate the individual .dll files by searching through a number of paths. You'd think that by simply adding Mydrive:/myexternalsfolder/ Pure Data would find all sub folders. It was my experience that this was not the case. Therefore I made a number of entries for individual library folders as shown in the picture.

  • Drive:/myfolder
  • Drive:/myfolder/cyclone
  • Drive:/myfolder/iemlib
  • Drive:/myfolder/creb
  • Drive:/myfolder/unauthorized
  • Drive:/myfolder/iemgui
  • Drive:/myfolder/hcs

And voila...this seemed to work. Now you can take advantage of all the other functionality of Vanilla (like solidly working with ASIO), better interface and perhaps add additional graphics libraries for more cool knobs and buttons. Please let me know if you have any problems or share success. 

A bundle of my vanilla-downloads folder is here. Please remember these are Windows only. If working on a Mac, you will have to use Deken. The installation is pretty quick though. 

Installation on Ubuntu 14.04

installation on Ubuntu

  • In a similar fashion to the installation on Windows, the libraries for Pure Data vanilla must be loaded separately and individually (as shown in the sudo apt-get install <pd-name_of_library>). Then add your paths. If you find errors, please do email me. Pure data here is 0.45.4. For newer versions of Ubuntu you can install deken. 
  • Freeverb. I think I may have missed this off the original installation. Please add <sudo apt-get install pd-freeverb> 

Installation on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

  • Freeverb. Please remember to install Freeverb. <sudo apt-get install pd-freeverb>
  • I noted an error in p44combplayer and usss.combplayer. These have been corrected.
  • Shapee~ from Eric Lyon's fftease collection. <sudo apt-get install pd-fftease> There may be a bug in this software for 16.04 (14.04 works ok).

Installation on Mac OSX (Vanilla)

screenshot of OSX install

The easiest way to add these libraries is to use the Deken plug in under help>find externals. There are clearly many differences between the OS, Pure Data and externals. It will always be best to add the creb, cyclone, freeverb, Gem, hcs, iemlib, unauthorized, zexy, iemgui sets from here. You will often be presented with a choice of downloads. You may be presented with a number of OS specific downloads. Your choice here. My limited advice would be to stick with one uploader as best you can. Also, consider strongly not letting Deken store your libraries where it wants to but put them somewhere you can easily destroy and reload. Then follow the image above and locate the libraries whereveer they may be. 

El Capitan

This was a MacBook Pro running Version 10.11.4. Pure Data Vanilla version 0.47.1 was obtained from I selected the 32bit version even though the Mac was a 64bit machine. 

Shapee~ works but this external was compiled for el Capitan (10.11.4)

A full set of library files for the installation above is here

Pure Data was installed as administrator. Furthermore, when first run (as administrator) I had to press the control (ctrl) key and click the app and select open. This then allowed me to open a non-trusted app from the internet. 

Then, logging back in as a normal user I was able to use Deken (Help: find externals) to locate the externals as indicated in the screenshot. (creb, freeverb, cyclone, gem, hcs, iemlib, unauthorized, zexy and iemgui). These I installed into a personal folder outside of the ussstools folder (I called this libraryfiles). I then set paths as shown (under Pd:preferences: paths) and added the gem library on startup (Pd:preferences:startup). Make sure to Pd:Save All Settings. 

Finally in my pd patches I made sure I also set paths to locate the library files (object box: declare -path libraryfiles). This will be different for you as you may locate your downloaded libraries somewhere else. See the picture below. In this instance, my test.pd file was in a 'top' level. I therefore had to search into the USSSTOOLSKIT/ussstools folder AND the libraryfiles folder

setup path for libraries osx

Mountain Lion (10.8.5)

Date 28.02.17. I performed another installation set for PureData 0.47.1 and OS Mountain Lion. The bundle of externals is here (but see above, you are probably best sourcing some of these files directly from their source). 

A full set of library files for Mountain Lion is here 

This also includes the full set of fftease plugins by Eric Lyon (which you would also have to set paths to if you want to use Shapee)

install on mountain lion 10.8.5

FFTease by Eric Lyon

I use the Shapee plug-in a great deal. This comes bundled with Eric Lyon's FFTease externals. 


OSX with pd-extended (hot fix)

ussstools on 'El Capitan'. Very pleased to report that pd-extended and blue run the tools just fine on El Capitan. Upon installing pd-extended you'll be asked to install Apple's version of X11 (xquartz). This will take some time to install but be patient. pd-extended and csound ( are then simple click and install. Blue (you should already have a working version of java) is not an install but simply a download. Place the bin/blue application where you want. Videos on some Blue ussstools to follow. Adrian. 01.06.2016

Support for pd-extended withdrawn.

However, support for pd-extended is now withdrawn so it's best to take advantage of Vanilla, load in the libraries required to make the USSStoolkit run and work with that (see above). You can still obtain a solid working version of pd-extended at should you need it. Adrian 29.03.2016.

 Short video clips supporting the USSS tools.

0. Welcome and Introduction

1. Getting the ussstools from the website (see above for link)

2. Playing soundfiles using usss.output and usss.sfplay

3. Playing soundfiles and varying the speed (and the pitch)

4. Recording your results into a soundfile

5. Basic Granulation

6. Finding the right sound for the job. 

7. A more complex example.

This time the audio is in stereo and not just what the microphone picked up. It's a little bit out of sync but that's because of the free and low quality screencapture and mp4 hacking. 

8. usss phasorsynth demonstration.

Polyphonic synths with midi keyboard 

9. Pulsing a granulation sound.

adding pulse to a sustained sound  

10. Polyphonic MIDI sampler.

using the keyboard to change the pitch of a loaded soundfile  

11. Texture generation.

developing the MIDI sampler using notes in a table instead of the keyboard