A student producing music at a computer

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. 

2022: PC only 

2021: for now, there will be three ways to access the tools. Ultimately, the ussstoolkit will move to github. 

  1. Google drive link: please contact me if you have difficulty downloading. This toolkit requires additional libraires to be installed using Deken (pd>help>find externals)
  2. Google Chrome (and many other browsers) no longer support anonymous ftp. However, it's not too difficult to install an ftp client like WinSCP ( When installed, put the link address in the host name (WinSCP will separate the host name and further directory structure for you). Check the anonymous login box. You'll have access to the top level of the ftp site. Scroll down until you see and drag to your local folder. 
  3. out for a new git hub in late August.  

Sonic Art: An introduction to electroacoustic music composition. Download (PDF 1.44 MB) 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. 

Although there is no accompanying CD, the vast majority of the audio examples used come from the Empreintes DIGITALes streaming site, (9$ a month, 23$ for 3 months, 79$ a year, that's £5.60 a month, £14.24 for 3 months, £49 a year).

Using USSS tools with Pure Data Vanilla (Windows)

USSS tools with Pure Data Vanilla 0.51.1

Such are the developments in Pure Data (get pd from here: that it's best to get the latest pd and then install the libraries from the list below via Deken (Help>find externals). You have to be a little careful to find the right version. 

screencapture of pd preferences

This screen capture shows the external libraries required to run the USSS tools. Click on the picture to get a fuller view. The central box is file>preferences>path - you may need to add all of these manually but do it once and it's done for ever. The box on the far right at the bottom is file>preferences>startup. This is also necessary. 

  • Gem
  • ceammc
  • creb
  • cyclone
  • else
  • fftease
  • hcs
  • iemgui
  • iemlib
  • vstplugin~
  • zexy
  • freeverb~

These were all downloaded by using Deken BUT be super careful to get the right set for your OS and 64/32bit etc. If you are running into problems, do give me an email (

25.10.2019 - USSS tools with Pure Data Vanilla 0.5

Screenshot of a computer screen with Vanilla 0.5 open

For those that know how, here is a version of the tools which seem fairly stable in Vanilla 0.5. Thanks to Alexandre Torres Porres for his else library with a very useful slider2d object which replaces the grid object in a number of tools. Furthermore, you can now easily install the full fftease library from Eric Lyon through Deken. There will be more tools to come featuring these great objects. The diagram above shows which libraries to search for in Deken. This is clearly on a Windows 10 machine. Please do contact me if you want further explanation about installing libraries and tools. 

*****************************Much of this is now severely depricated and out of date: use at your own risk*************************

Installation on Ubuntu 14.04

Screenshot of a computer screen installing Ubuntu 14.04
  • 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 a computer screen installing Pure Data 0.47.1 on Mac

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

Screenshot of a computer screen installing Pure Data 0.47.1 on Mac El Captain

High Sierra (10.12.6)

22.01.18. The USSS tool kit is running on a MAC with High Sierra. The following libraries were referenced (see the screenshot for El Capitan). A bundle is available here. Please follow install instructions for El Capitan.

Note: Installation of relatively old libraries (using 'Find externals' in Pure Data) was successful except for Gem. For this I needed to install the Gem/0.93.3 (deken installable file for OSX PowerPC+i386/32bit). Uploaded by zmoelnig @ 2016-05-20.

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)

Screenshot of a computer screen installing Pure Data 0.47.1 on Mac Mountain Lion

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  

12. Colouring one soundfile by another using fftease shapee

mapping the spectral qualities of one soundfile (predominantly steady-state) onto another (predominantly full-spectrum articulated)

usss shapee demo

13. Playing multi-channel soundfiles using the N channel player

using one object to play files with any number of channels (and introducing the combplayer to colour output)

N channel player

14. A quirky 'gate'

as the name suggests, a gate, but slightly more aggressive

usss gate

15. A basic polyphonic synth

a very simple synth unit playing sine, triangle, square, sawtooth and pulse waves

a basic synthesizer

16. A spectral delay 

introducing the doppler revised for PureData0.5 and above using the else library from Alexandre Torres Porres

also the spectral delay object thanks to Johannes Kreidler, Miller Puckette and Franck Barnecht

a spectral delay


If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to comment on a video. Please also consider subscribing as new videos will appear, and liking (so I can note what videos I may need to follow up on). 

Or, please contact Adrian Moore at his university email address. 

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