Importing Modules and Reusing Code

I want to begin discussing the implications of yesterday’s Python-Csound mockup code (which I’ll refer to as slipmat for the time being), starting with with imports:

import Wavetable
from Gen import sine
from Pitch import cpspch

All of Csound’s 1400+ opcodes are available at all times. Great for convenience, perhaps not so great for organization. In contrast, the Python language starts out with only the basics, a clean slate. To extend functionality, users import modules. This is a cleaner approach than having it all hang out. There are some other advantages, too.

First, let’s look at a hypothetical import block. Let’s say you were to design a “computer network music” ensemble inspired by The Hub. Some communication modules you might include:

import Jack
import MIDI
import Network
import OSC

A computer network music ensemble sounds like it might be a complex piece of software. Complex enough where doing all your work in one file would be tedious. So you decide to start a new file, my_network.slip, where you store your own custom opcode/unit generator function definitions. In your main file, you write this to import:

import my_network

Not only can you use my_network for this project, but that code can be reused in any number of future projects. Code reusability is a beautiful thing. In fact, this would apply to any properly written slipmat document. For example, a composition would double as a library of synthesizers that you could plug into your own work:

import Trapped  # Trapped in Convert by Dr. Richard Boulanger
signal =, 4, 0, 9.01, 600, 0.5, 20, 6, 0.66)

See trapped.csd.

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