Author Archives: davidhirstmusic

About davidhirstmusic

Electroacoustic music composer and educator.

The Portuguese Suite

The 8 channel version of my electroacoutic music piece The Portuguese Suite was performed at the Australasian Computer Music Conference held in Melbourne in July 2019 in conjunction with the 2019 TENOR Conference at Monash University. You can listen to a stereo version on Soundcloud here.

The Portuguese Suite follows on from the piece Imaginação de Viseu (Imaginations of Viseu) which was composed for the project: SONIC EXPLORATIONS OF A RURAL ARCHIVE – Electroacoustic Music and Sound Art International Competition, coordinated by Binaural/Nodar (Portugal). That work used sound sources recorded in the rural region of Viseu Dão Lafões in Portugal. The Portuguese Suite takes some of the sounds from the previous piece and processes them into purely abstract sounds using two suites of tools I developed in 2017 for Max/MSP. The first suite of tools is called NES-Tools, and processes sound in the time domain. The second suite of tools, NES-Spectrale, processes the frequency domain representation, and builds on the work of Jean-François Charles (2011). This version has been especially mixed and mastered for  8 channels using the Ambisonics Toolkit (ATK) from the University of Washington.

NES Max for Live

I have  ported over a selection of the NES-Tools and NES-Spectrale suites as Max for Live devices. The NES-Tools suite processes audio in the time domain and NES-Spectrale suite processes the FFT representation of sound in the frequency domain. Most of the Max for Live devices function as audio signal processors, but two of them process the FFTs of sounds, and one functions as a granular production instrument.

NES-Max-for-Live is available for free from the software page.



  • The devices have only been tested with Ableton Live 10 and Max/MSP 8
  • Special care has been taken to make the devices below capable of multiple, independent instances in Live. Here is a list of them:










NES-Spectrale Updated to Beta-02-2019

NES-Spectrale-Beta-02-2019 has two updates from version Beta 01:

  • A stereo version of NES-Interpolate has been created as NES-Interpolate-periodic-02-ST
  • A new process of NES-Distort-Del-Fbk has been added

This software consists of Max patchers that process the FFT of a recorded sound. Available to download free from the software page.

Composers Little Helper


The Composer’s Little Helper (CLH) is a Max patcher that makes use of the “Bach” and “Cage” libraries to manipulate and mix musical notation that has been saved in a “shelf” as separate segments. CLH implements musical operations such as transposition, inversion, retrograde, plus a number of other “treatments” that use the high-level “Cage” library for real-time computer- aided composition.

This version is the version that was show-cased at the Australasian Computer Music Conference 2018 in Perth. The Max code is available from the software page.

NES-Spectrale Beta 01

Just made available online: NES-Spectrale – Software for “Timbre Hacking” the FFT. Adapted from the patchers by Jean-François Charles. Requires Max 7.
Available via the link on this page:
Inspired by the work of Zack Settel & Cort Lippe (1994), Jean-François Charles (2008), and the GRM Spectral Transform and Evolution suites of audio processors, I have adapted the patches of Jean-François Charles (2011) into a set of FFT processing tools using Cycling 74’s Max environment, with Jitter matrices storing and processing the FFT.

NOTE: Read the file “000-NES-Spectrale-Readme.pdf” first to understand what the patches do, and how to run and control them.


NES-Tools Beta-02

Following several requests, I have updated NES-Tools to include an example of how the tools can be used as plugins (in Max 7 only). The tools are now available via a link on the Software web page.
Here is a little blurb about the patcher called “02-NES-Plugin-Examples.maxpat”, which shows the tools used as objects within Max:
NES-Tools-Beta-02; Updated 29 June 2017:

Added “02-NES-Plugin-Examples.maxpat” to demonstrate how each NES-Tool effect can be its own Max object embedded in another patch.
Here are the use instructions for 02-NES-Plugin-Examples.maxpat:

1. Turn on DAC
2. Open a sound file and play it
3. Select an effect using its radio button
4. Double click on the corresponding effect object to open its window and control its parameters
5. Adjust overall levels
6. Try another effect
7. Use one or more effects in your own patcher

Here is what “02-NES-Plugin-Examples.maxpat” looks like when you open it (below). Note the FX processes are each their own object in Max.
Hope this is helpful.


NES-Tools-Beta-01 has been created for people who want to:
  1. Open a recorded sound file.
  2. Process it in some way.
  3. Record the result, and then play it back to check it.
NES-Tools is available from:
It has been tested using Max 7 on Mac with MacOS Sierra 10.12.5 only.
Read the Readme file first.
Inspired by the GRM Tools suite of audio processors, I set out to create a set of processing tools using cycling 74’s Max environment. The idea was to just use only the standard objects that come with Max 7. As it turned out, many of the tools I wanted to create had already been implemented in one form or another in the standard distribution files and examples. What I have done is to adapt and add to the examples created by others, and assemble these tools into their own suite. That suite is as follows:
NES-Biquad~ Implements a two-pole two-zero filter (for 2 channels)
NES-Brassage~ Granulate a recorded sound
NES-CombFilter5~ Implements 5 Comb filters
NES-DelayTaps~ Up to 32 delay taps
NES-DopplerPan Simulate a Doppler effect
NES-PitchMulti~ Pitch shifter with vibrato & feedback
NES-Reson~ Up to 32 simultaneous resonators
Any feedback on usefulness, errors, or attribution is welcome.
Most of the patchers can have the processing part extracted and be linked in a sequence to process live sound too (except for Brassage~)
Enjoy and modify at will (just acknowledge the sources).

Moved to the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music

From January 2016, my position as Honorary Associate Professor and Principal Fellow in Music has been moved to the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music at the Faculty of VCA and MCM, the University of Melbourne. See:


“Imaginacão de Viseu” (Imaginations of Viseu)

“Imaginacão de Viseu” (Imaginations of Viseu) * (2016) – an electroacoustic music work selected by an international panel for inclusion in VISEU RURAL 2.0 // SONIC EXPLORATIONS OF A RURAL ARCHIVE: This international competition invited electroacoustic musicians/composers and sound artists from around the world to produce sound works based on the Viseu Rural 2.0 archive, one that is being collected and archived by Binaural/Nodar with recordings of rural contexts from the Municipality of Viseu (Viseu Dão Lafões, Portugal).