What is MSDP?


The Music and Sound Design Platform (MSDP) is a free and open-source platform for Multimedia Synthesis, Design, and Performance. The tools included in this software provide everything you need to make audio and video creations that are complex, exciting and exploratory, and gives you an interface designed for the stage – whether that stage is a concert hall, a bar, or a bedroom. MSDP is easy to get into – you’ll be making exciting sonic and visual exlorations in seconds – and the software is a thrill to master with an absolute wealth of possibilities for what you can create. We’ve got a getting started video series alongside more involved tutorials on YouTube that will guide you through the use of the software, and an online manual with plenty of information to help you dig deeper.

Built around a paradigm that emulates the non-linear design of guitar pedal boards, MSDP includes over 100 modules that can be mixed and matched in any combination across any number of boards. MSDP 2.0 features 61 Audio tools, 24 Video tools, and 17 Data tools, each of which is designed to communicate with the others. Beautiful and powerful instruments can be dropped in next to audio file manipulators and wild signal-processing effects. Video synthesis and web cam feeds can be fed through filters and can easily be controlled with audio signals or your favorite MIDI controller. Video and Audio modules can sit side-by-side and can interact with each other in exciting and dynamic ways! MSDP is an ideal platform for experimental multimedia and intermedia artists, VJs, laptop musicians and orchestras, electroacoustic composers, musicians looking for new sonic possibilities for their instruments, and anyone interested in blurring the lines between traditional modes of art making and new, forward-looking creative spaces.

What Makes MSDP Unique?

MSDP’s non-linear approach to media making stands in stark contrast to the industry standard audio and video editing platforms. Each module can live next to, above, or below any other one, and can communicate across multiple modules and multiple boards, providing a truly egalitarian performance space. Interface sizes are standardized, and feature designs that are easy to recognize at a glance, and easy to control during performances.

There are a handful of free programs out there for audio performance, and for video performance, but MSDP offers the only open-source feature-rich toolbox that integrates audio AND video performance that requires zero coding knowledge and no additional software purchases.

Not only does MSDP offer a wealth of tools, it includes a variety of ways that these tools can be controlled. If you like music with a regular beat, switch on the master metronome to synchronize every rhythmic event in your song. If you want to use your favorite MIDI keyboard and controller to modify your video parameters, use the Controller Mapper. If you prefer a more ambient or chaotic landscape, turn on additional metronomes, or execute automation based on absolute time instead of beats. Build scores that follow the pitches of an acoustic performer, or script events that synchronize to the metronome. Use stochastic tools like the Randomator, the Live Granulator, or the Stochastic Files instrument to introduce elements of randomness, chance, and chaos into performances. There are so many ways to approach media creation, why not try out some new ones while you’re here?

MSDP also sits in a unique place in the application community – it’s the only tool of its scope built in Max, the world’s most popular music and video performance language. Max developers should feel right at home in the source code, and the free download on Github includes a variety of templates that streamline the module building process, and make it easy to seamlessly integrate your own designs into MSDP’s systems. It’s easy to add your own modules to other people’s local installs, meaning that developers can distribute and even sell custom MSDP tools, opening up an ecosystem that can grow with the community.

Why is MSDP free?

MSDP is 100% free and open-source without any hidden fees, trial periods, or expensive upgrade plans. The MSDP community believes in a world where powerful, impactful tools are available to everyone, and where artists aren’t blocked from creating what they want by financial barriers. MSDP is a reflection of a growing community that isn’t satisfied by the same way of making art that the major companies are selling us. This community is a hotbed of experimentation, exploration, and innovation, and we want to lead the way in helping artists find exciting new ways to create, produce, and perform.