Patcher is a graphical interface designed by Miller Puckette for Max/Msp. It allowed users to make patch for sound synthesis or to control device simply moving graphic objects in the work area.

Why Patcher – After completing Max/Msp, Miller Puckette worked to realize a software useful to make Max/Msp the most powerful computer system for music composition. Patcher born with these specific goals. It was realized in 1988 by Puckette, already by three years transferred at Ircam. From a certain point of view, Patcher complete the work for Max/Msp, that precisely in the early Nineties was commercialized by the Opcode Systems company.

Features – Patcher was designed for an integrated system that include Max/Msp and an external midi controllable synthesizer. But the most important aim of Patcher was the control of objects in Max/Msp.

GUI – Patcher was the first example of a graphical approach to Max that Users today know very well. So, Patcher allowed the realization of synthesis or control algorithms simply moving graphical objects in the work area, and linking them drawing input and output lines, in other words making patches, as we can understand through the next picture. This is another way, a graphical way, to realize the same modular system introduced by Music N with the Unit Generators.

Un’immagine esemplificativa di una patch creata con Patcher e Max.

Conclusions – Before closing, it is necessary make a clarification: writing about Max/Msp, some references, in particular web references, say that Patcher was the direct antecedent of Max/Msp, but Miller Puckette at Colonia, for a international conference in 1988, declared that it was designed to complete the Max/Msp functionality, what’s more completed 3 years before. [1]



[1] Miller Puckette, The Patcher, Proceedings of International Computer Music Conference, Colonia, 1988.
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