Category Archives: Music Composition

Music composition activity of David Hirst

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).

Paper presented at the TENOR 2015 Conference in Paris

Hirst, D. (2015) Automated Representations of Temporal Aspects of Electroacoustic Music : Recent Experiments Using Perceptual Models. Proceedings of the first International Conference on Technologies for Music Notation and Representation – TENOR 2015. 28-30 May 2015 – Paris – France. pp 180-189.

Paper presented at ACMC 2014

Presented the paper: “Determining Sonic Activity In Electroacoustic Music” at the Australasian Computer Music Conference 2014. Hosted by The Faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) and the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM). 9 – 13 July 2014. Conference Proceedings is available via the Papers link here:



Album out on iTunes

My album “The Shape of Water” is now available on iTunes, and will soon appear on Spotify, Rhapsody, emusic, MediaNet, Inprodicon, Amazon MP3, 24-7, Omnifone, Rumblefish, Rdio, Muve Music,, Slacker Radio, WiMP:

On iTunes:

Also available on spotify: