Music500 is a music software designed by Miller Puckette in 1983 at MIT, Boston. It was developed for the AP500 vector signal processor. The Music500 is the antecedent of the most famous Max/Msp.

Introduction – Often called Music 500, this software was designed by Miller Puckette in the early Eighties. Based on the Music N paradigm, its name is derived from the Analogic Ap 500 vector processor.[1] Puckette began working on this project in 1982, and finish it two years later.

Newness – The basic idea for this project was based on a general reconsideration of the Music N paradigm, and of the standard division between Orchestra and Score section. Given that even the Music500 was characterized by an alphanumeric approach, the first interesting newness was that which allows to run at the same time more control processes, so to make the computer a sophisticated instrument for musical composition and for the performance of music works.[2] This newness, actually was a reworking of a previous method introduced by Max Mathews with RTSKED. Additionally, the Music500 was structured as an open system, so to adapt it to every need of music composers.

References – The Music500 had two separated section: one for the sound synthesis, another for the control of musical parameters. Control structures was designed by Miller Puckette with those of RTSKED as model. The most important section (namely the signal processing section) was gleaned by the Music 11 of Barry Vercoe, on which Miller Puckette studied in the previous years, up to collaborating for a real time emulator of the Music 11.

M – Although the Music500 had not a GUI, in the following years some improvements attempted to make this software available for the real time. To achieve this goal, was designed the M compiler, but the Music500 was until the end only a deferred time software. Over the limits, what make particularly significant the Music500 was his being a reference model of the next Max/Msp, today considered one of the most important computer technology for those interested to music composition through technology.[3]



[1] Miller Puckette, MAX at Seventeen, Computer Music Journal, Vol. 26 [4], 2002.
[2] Miller Puckette, MUSIC500: a New Real-time Digital Synthesis System in Proceedings of International Computer Music Conference, Eastman School of Music, USA, 1983.
[3] Miller Puckette, The M Orchestra Language, Proceedings of International Computer Music Conference, Parigi, 1984.
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