Antescofo 1.1
Reference Manual

(September 2023)

Frontispice metronom


Organization of the Reference Manual

This document is intended as a reference manual for the Antescofo programming language. It lists the language constructs, and gives their informal syntax and semantics through several chapters gathered in eight parts:

Syntax and score structure

  • Lexical elements describes the lexical notation in an Antescofo program.

  • Program Structure discusses the organization of an augmented score and present the interleaving of definition, events and actions.


  • Event Specification details the definition of musical events expected by the listening machine.


Actions are the computations launched by the system in reaction to the recognition of musical events or as the time passes. The introduction presents the notion of action sequence, actions' attributes and delays that are available for any kind of action. Then, the two kinds of actions are introduced:

Management of Time

The chapter A strongly Timed Language introduces the various notion of time at work in Antescofo:

  • the manufacturing of time elaborates the temporal notions that organize the computations of actions;

  • the fabric of time elaborates on the relationships between the potential timing of musical events expressed in the score and the actual time of the actions during the performance.

These two sections are followed by technical discussion of Antescofo temporal features:

  • Action Priority explains the ordering of action that must be executed in teh same instant.

  • Synchronization Strategies details the constraints that can be specified between the actual timing of the performer and the timing of the electronic actions during the performance.

  • Error Strategies presents the management of error from the action perspective.


Expressions are used to parameterize actions. They are build from values and variables, conditional expression and functions.

Expressions are evaluated into values wich are either:

  • Scalar values represent indecomposable values, or

  • Data structures that provide several ways to organize the data to manage during a performance.


The following chapters details the main mechanisms that can be used to capitalize a piece of code and to re-use it:

Additional Features

Finally, several additional features that does not fit in the previous chapters are presented:


A few side-notes are used to present in detail some points of the Antescofo grammar and to dig deeper in some technical subjects:

Other source of documentation

This Reference Manual is by no means a tutorial introduction to the language. A good working knowledge of the Antescofo application is assumed:

  • The reader may refer to the User Guide for a general presentation of the system.

  • This manual is completed by a Functions Library that describes all predefined functions in the Antescofo library.

  • The Antescofo distribution comes with several tutorial patches for Max or PD as well as the augmented score of actual pieces.

  • The Antescofo Cookbook is a valuable source of code snippets and howto's.

  • And the ForumUser can be used to share information about Antescofo.

graphical table of content of the reference manual