libpd takes the power of one of the world’s most powerful, most widely-used environments for making original sound and music creations, and lets you put it anywhere. It’s free, open source, and can run on a wide variety of devices from phones to computers.

libpd starts with Pd – Pure Data – a graphical development environment used widely by musicians, composers, and sound designers. In Pd, you create custom synthesizers, effects, musical patterns, and sonic and musical machines by connecting on-screen patch cords. If you already know how to make patches in Pd, you’ll find libpd immensely powerful. If you don’t, Pd is a great way to learn custom music and sound development.

Then, by separating all that sonic power from concerns about hardware input and output, libpd lets you run Pd anywhere. libpd isn’t a fork of Pd: it is Pd, but made embeddable. If it can run native code, it can run libpd. That means you can incorporate Pd in your Python game, or your Android or iOS app, or on a Linux stompbox you built with a Beagleboard using an app you wrote in C, or Mac or Windows or Linux software, or anywhere else that can run native code.

libpd is already especially popular with people working on mobile applications for this very reason. Now, you can even read a book that will walk you through making your own app with libpd. libpd-powered apps are already available on the iTunes App Store and Android Market, including some early hits – see the showcase.

libpd has been developed by a community of impassioned musicians and developers, many working as volunteers out of love for what the tool can do. You can join us, try out the tool, get help from friends, and, if you choose, give back.

libpd is Pure Data. It is not a fork of Pure Data, not a different flavor of Pure Data. It is simply a way of using Pd in a new way that can be more convenient and allows compatibility with mobile app development, game development, embedding into sophisticated 3D visualization tools, and lots of other applications. As such, it adds to Pd, without taking away anything from Pd Vanilla’s DSP core. It has the same license as Pd, too. It is every bit as free and open source as Pd. As such, the project is hugely indebted to the entire Pd community, and to Pd’s original creator, Miller Puckette. Those of us working with libpd have done so because we’re excited to see Pd patches running in more places than ever before, doing things they’ve never done before, and we trust you’re just getting started.

-Peter Kirn, createdigitalmusic.com, March 2012

Leave a Reply