What Pd Can't Teach; What It Can


  • Joshua Hudelson




pedagogy, digital, analog, rationalization, statistical feedback


Pure Data's long appeal is partly owed to its visual layout and intuitive mode of use. This might lead one to consider it a useful pedagogical tool, even if it now meets stiff competition from glitzier and more user-friendly applications. In the author's experience, however, Pd's ambiguous location on the spectrum of virtualization makes it bad for teaching but gives it a far more important function for composers. In occupying an uncanny valley between the digital-as-digital and the digital-as-analog, it resists the general tendency of digital technology to obscure awareness of itself, that is, of the digital computer as the current high watermark of a longer history of rationalization. It thus pushes composers of computer music back towards the questions that are at the heart of their work. This dynamic is illustrated by the author's experience of developing and tinkering with a novel technique of sound synthesis.


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Biografia do Autor

Joshua Hudelson

Joshua Hudelson is an independent scholar based in Beirut, Lebanon, where he studies the overlap between electrical infrastructure and electronic dance music culture. His book project, Spectral Sound: A Cultural History of the Frequency Domain, was supported by a Mellon/ACLS fellowship. Beyond his scholarly work, he develops interactive digital games for Braille literacy, and he was a co-recipient of the 2017 Louis Braille "Touch of Genius" Award from National Braille Press. He has taught at the American University of Beirut, New York University, The New School, the Migrant Community Center of Beirut, and the Sudanese Cultural Center of Beirut. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8168-435X.


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Como Citar

Hudelson, J. (2021). What Pd Can’t Teach; What It Can. Revista Vórtex, 9(2). https://doi.org/10.33871/23179937.2021.9.2.4540



Dossier "A quarter of century of Pd: past, present and future"