Improsculpt software

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Software for live sampling and manipulation. Designed to fit the (my) demand for an organic tool to deal with improvised audio in real time.

ImproSculpt is also the name of my band project playing live with this software. The personnel for each gig will change, and I'm the only one always in. This is because I want to try this new software instrument in as many different settings as possible. Some constellations of personnel might develop further, one never knows. Right now, I feel it is best not to set the rules before the game is played.
For audio examples, and downloadable music, check my Music section.
The music we play could be called "freebagtechno".

The ImproSculpt software was written as part of the piece "Delta" for Choir and Computer, commissioned from "Midt-Norsk Solistensemble" and premiered 8th of November 2002. Lyrics for the piece was written by Marte Huke, based on her book of poems "Delta" (tiden forlag 2001).
The choir sings precomposed material, but it's been composed with a certain openness in mind, as to facilitate processed sound in parallel. There's also "on cue" gaps in the written material, to make room for more expanded electronic "solos". A recording of the work can be found in the Music section.

Written in Csound, ImproSculpt remains one of the most flexible software instruments I've seen or used. But it is a huge beast to control. Currently, there's over 450 parameters to tweak ! And I would have added many more, had I found a way to design the user interface to better reach such a number of knobs instantly and without thinking twice. I'm still building on it, slowly adding modules and refining old ones, but it seems the basic structure have been set.


ImproSculpt in use:

Unllike most other audio software, time is not necessarily linear when working in ImproSculpt. It seems to me you're set in the middle of the audio universe you're designing, rather than outside it looking at it's time line. From this central position you send out different and independent lines of timed or rythmic processes. There's also a controllable amount of randomness build into the processes, as well as some directly and detliled controlled playback routines. Most of the time, the instrument might be able to bring you surprises... bringing in a new musical element. You're never 100% in control, it's more like you push things in a general direction, let it evolve, and then adjust the bits you do not like and refine the bits that already sounds good.


Main feature list:

  • Auto Sampling, based on input level.

  • Auto sample location select (write slot)

  • Rythm impulse module (bringing potential start triggers to other playback modules)

  • Random Play. Select randomly among e.g. the 4 shortest sounds played. Frequency Modulation of recorded audio. Polyphony can be restricted as to control density and complexity of output. Triggered by rythm impulse module.

  • Grain. Granular Synthesis, cutting up the audio into small grains with separate control of pitch and tempo.

  • Random Access Granulator. A special grain module where new grains are must be triggered by a rythmic pulse. Allows transitions from rythmic patterns to swarming grain clouds.

  • Drumloop. A pretty straight forward drum loop player, stretch loop to current base tempo (x0.5, x2 or x4) with optional random beat cutting.

  • Pattern Sequencer. Inspired by the Fruity Loops interface. The major difference here is that the sample for each track dynamically changes as you sample new material. Separate Frequency Modulation and Filtering for each 16th note in the pattern.

  • Pitch Tracker. Records only information about pitch and amplitude in the input audio signal. Pitch data can be played back as Grain frequency, Grain Pitch/transpose, FM frequency ...etc. There's also a sub bass synth creating bass riffs out of pitch data.



Here's a screenshot of the ImproSculpt graphical interface



You need Csound installed on your computer to use ImproSculpt.
ImproSculpt has been tested on CsoundAV and Istvan Varga Csound.
This means it currently runs on Windows and Linux.
A Mac compatible version wil be made available when

Csound runs on a large selection of platforms: Linux, Windows, Mac, SGI, Unix, Irix, ...uhhm, you name it. There's one official, or "canonical" version of Csound, and at the same time there's a lot of "developer version". These are made by programmers developing their own special features for their own use, and for their own chosen platform. A lot of good development has been brought forward by these developer versions. Eventually, the changes makes it into to the canonical version.
ImproSculpt was build using CsoundAV (Csound Audio/Video version for Windows by Gabriel Maldonado), and relies on some special opcodes found in that version. Istvan Varga's Csound build for Linux supports the same opcodes as CsoundAV. So you should be able to run it "as is" on both Windows and Linux. It seem that canonical Csound v.4.23 has incorporated these opcodes, but it still conatains some bugs regarding these opcodes. I guess this will work out in the end. And these facts might even change as I write this. Anyway, if there's interest, it should be possible to rewrite the user interface for another platform (Mac).


ImproSculpt is released under GPL license.
It is free for non-commercial use. Donations are appreciated, this will enable me to release new versions under the same license. How much you want to donate is entirely up to you, consider what you think it's worth and what you can afford.

There's a fair chance you will need my help to get it up an running, it is not the typical "off the shelf" music software. Do not hesitate to ask me for assistance in getting it to work.
You also need to download the Csound executable for your platform/OS from

The full download conatins the latest public version of ImproSculpt. The full download also contains additional support files (audio samples etc. that you will need in order to run ImproSculpt.

The "Download update only" is for those who already have downloaded the full version, and only want to get the updated csd file

Full Download (stable version) (9MB)        Download update only (stable version) (0.1 MB)

You will greatly help my programming efforts if you're willing to Donate money. Any amount you find appropriate will help me make new features and stable versions for all platforms.


Work in progress version:

Here's a "work in progress" version. I wanted to share some of my recent additions to ImproSculpt, but have no time to clean up the code and make it run stable on all platforms. Comments and feedback very much welcome, I might be slow in responding if you contact me, be patient. I use it with CsoundAV, and that should work for you too. I recommend a P4 2.4 GHz machine or faster, but you could make it run on slower computers too, provided you don't turn on too many modules simultaneously. Some functions are only accessible via midi, this is specifically the control of drumloop layers 2 and 3, with separate filtering and bbcut beatcutting for each layer.

There's a lot of midi control functions built into this version, undocumented at the time, sorry. Search the code in instr 12 to 15, starting at line 2200. Here I've only listed functions that has no GUI counterpart, so they're only accessible via midi.
midi control 41 = hipass for loop layer 2
midi control 42 = lopass for loop layer 2
midi control 43 = bbcut for loop layer 2
midi control 44 = volume for loop layer 2
midi control 45 = hipass for loop layer 3
midi control 46 = lopass for loop layer 3
midi control 47 = bbcut for loop layer 3
midi control 48 = volume for loop layer 3
If you want to disable midi control altogether, disable instrument 12 and 14 in the score and delete the -+K flag from the commandline.

May04 version of ImproSculpt (74 kB)        

...and again: Donate money if you can


Custom versions:

You can order a custom version of ImproSculpt, tailored specifically to your needs. Contact me for pricing and more info.