Pure Data Artificial Neural Network Patch from Scratch

Coding (well, “patching”) an artificial neural network in Pure Data Vanilla to create some generative ambient filter pings.

From zero to neural network in about ten minutes!

In audio terms, an artificial neuron is just a nonlinear mixer, and, to create a network of these neurons, all we need to do is run them into each other. So, in this video, I do just that: we make our neuron, duplicate it out until we have 20 of them, and then send some LFOs through that neural network. In the end, we use the output to trigger filter “pings” of five different notes.

There’s not really any kind of true artificial intelligence (or “deep learning”) in this neural network, because the output of the network, while it is fed back, doesn’t go back an affect the weights of the inputs in the individual neurons. That said, if we wanted machine learning, we would have to have some kind of desired goal (e.g. playing a Beethoven symphony or a major scale). Here, we just let the neural network provide us with some outputs for some Pure Data generative ambient pings. Add some delay, and you’re all set.

There’s no talking on this one, just building the patch, and listening to it go.

0:00 Demo
0:12 Building and artificial neuron
2:00 Networking our neurons
3:47 Feeding LFOs into the network
4:20 Checking the output of the network
5:00 Pinging filters with [threshold~]
8:55 Adding some feedback
10:18 Commenting our code
12:47 Playing with the network

Creating an artificial neuron in Pd:

Pinging Filters in Pd:

More no-talking Pure Data jams and patch-from-scratch videos:

Pd Patch from Scratch: Filter Pinging

Doing some filter “pinging” use the resonant [bob~] filter in Pd Vanilla.

Filter pinging is a synthesis technique where you sent a “pop” (i.e. an audible click) to a resonant filter to create a percussive plucking sound around that filter’s cutoff frequency. Since we’re in Pd Vanilla, the easiest way to get a resonant filter is with [bob~], the “Runge-Kutte numerical simulation of the Moog analog resonant filter.”

There’s no talking on this one, just building the patch, and listening to it go.

0:00 Setting up the filter
0:40 Filtering a sawtooth wave
1:35 Subaudio [phasor~]
2:04 Randomizing cutoff frequency each ping
3:33 Commenting the code
5:12 Oops

Pure Data introductory tutorials here:


Pure Data Artificial Neuron Patch from Scratch

Patching up an artificial neuron in Pure Data Vanilla for some nonlinear mixing. There’s no talking on this one, just building the patch, and listening to it go.

An artificial neuron is basically just a mixer: inputs come in, and are weighted differently, modelling the dendrites of a biological neuron; then the mixed signal is transformed by an “activation function”, usually nonlinear, and output, modelling the axon.

Now, we can say that “learning” occurs when we adjust the weights (levels) of the inputs based on the output, but let’s not do that here, let’s just revel in our our nonlinear mix.

More details in my blog post here

0:00 Nonlinear Mixing and Artificial Neurons
1:17 Adding “Bias”
2:28 Neuron Complete
3:27 Automating the Weights
7:09 Adding Feedback
8:42 Adding Noise
9:58 Commenting our Code
11:25 Trying the ReLU Activation Function
12:04 Linear Mixing (with Hard Clipping)

Pure Data introductory tutorials here
More no-talking Pure Data jams and patch-from-scratch videos

Pure Data Screaming Metal Feedback Loop

A simple digital feedback patch in Pure Data build from just delay, ring-modulation, and saturation.


Building on my digital feedback video from a few weeks ago, here’s a quick patch for setting up a dynamic controllable feedback loop in Pd Vanilla. I’ve set up a way to get things going with a little sine-wave beep, and you can hear that the feedback loop makes things pretty complex pretty quickly.

WATCH THOSE LEVELS!
It gets loud in the middle.

More no-talking Pd videos here.
More music and sound design with cybernetics and feedback.

Making a Bad Sine Wave in Pure Data Vanilla

Building a “wab-sabi” oscillator in Pd to celebrate the beauty of imperfection and impermanence.

Sine waves are great! The perfection of a pure, single frequency can be both expressively and technically very useful in pursuing our musical goals. There are, however, lots of musical reasons that we might want to intentionally make our oscillators a little more rough around the edges.

Performance on traditional, acoustic instruments, of course, produces a huge amount of micro-variation across each note, and so it can be expressively engaging for us to be able to introduce that same imperfection (analog warmth?) in our digital instruments as well.

In this video, I build a bad sine wave by frequency-modulating my oscillator with noise, and then feeding back the output back into the modulation. While I build this out in Pure Data, the same can be done in Reaktor, Kyma, Max/MSP or any other synthesis environment.

More Pd Tutorials here.
No-talking Pure Data jams and patch-from-scratch.

0:00 Introduction, The Beauty of Imperfection
1:26 Slider-Controlled Sine Wave
3:28 Adding Noise
4:35 Frequency Modulating with Noise
7:24 Filtering the Noise
8:20 Feeding Back into FM
9:55 I’ve gone too far
13:26 Reaktor Examples
14:18 Closing Thoughts, Next Steps

Pure Data Patch from Scratch: “Complex Oscillator”

A quick and easy Pure Data patch-from-scratch tutorial building a “complex oscillator” with two sine waves cross modulating each others frequency for noisy, sophisticated sounds.

In this patch, we set up a simple FM synthesizer with one sine wave modulating another’s frequency. Then, instead of leaving it there, we take our output and use it to modulate the modulation oscillation, leading some wonderful, unpredictable complex sounds.

There’s no talking on this one, just building the patch, and listening to it go.

0:00 Sine Oscillator
0:42 Simple FM Synthesis
1:50 Cross Modulation
2:37 Commenting the Code
4:11 Exploring the Controls

Pure Data introductory tutorials here.
More no-talking Pure Data jams and patch-from-scratch videos.

Open Sound Control (OSC) in Pure Data Vanilla

How to receive and parse OSC (Open Sound Control) messages in Pure Data Vanilla for real-time musical control.


Open Sound Control, like MIDI is a protocol for transmitting data for musical performance. Unlike MIDI, though, OSC data is transmitted over a network, so we can easily transmit wirelessly from our iPhones or other devices. Another, difference, though, is that OSC messages don’t have standard designations (like MIDI “Note On” or “Note Off”), so we need to set up ways to parse that data and map it to controls ourselves.

Here, I go over the basics of receiving and parsing OSC data in Pure Data Vanilla, setting us up to make our own data-driven instruments.

0:00 Intro
2:46 [netreceive]
4:07 Sending OSC Messages
5:28 [oscparse]
6:02 Data!
7:11 [list trim]
8:09 [route]
9:03 [unpack]
9:46 Using the Data for Musical Control
13:52 Recap (Simplified Patch)
14:55 Explanation of Opening Patch

More Pure Data tutorials here.

Pure Data Patch from Scratch: Simple FM Synthesis Sequencer

A quick and easy Pure Data patch-from-scratch tutorial building a sequencer that plays dynamically changing timbres for each note though frequency modulation synthesis.

In this patch, we set up a simple sequence of sine wave pitches (frequencies), then a sequence of modulation frequencies of a different length, then a random patterns of deviations, creating a constantly changing series of sounds.

There’s no talking on this one, just building the patch, and listening to it go.

0:00 Sequencing the pitch of a sine wave
1:23 Creating modulation oscillator sequence
2:45 Randomizing the deviation
3:15 Audio math: modulator frequency
3:51 Audio math: deviation
4:09 Audio math: FM synthesis
4:31 Tweaking the numbers
4:52 Commenting the code
5:47 Adding delay (as usual)
6:55 Feedback for the delay
7:17 Listening and more tweaking numbers

More no-talking Pure Data jams and patch-from-scratch videos here:

Pd Patch from Scratch: Ring Modulation and Filterbank

A quick and easy Pure Data patch-from-scratch tutorial building another feedback loop with a delay and a ring modulator, this time with a fixed filter bank.

Inspired by the music of Jaap Vink, with three sine waves, a filterbank, a delay, and some feedback, we can make some slow evolving-complex and dynamic sounds.

In this patch we take a sine wave, ring modulate it, then ring modulate that result before running into a filterbank, delay, and then feeding it back on itself.

There’s no talking on this one, just building the patch, and listening to it go.

More feedback loops (in analog):