Elements of an Antescofo Score

An Antescofo program is a sequence of events and actions. Events, recognized by the listening machine, are described in detail in chapter Events. Actions, outlined in chapter Actions are computations triggered upon the occurrence of an event or of another action. Actions can be dynamically parameterized by expressions and data structures, evaluated in real-time and described in detail in the Reference Manual.

Elements of the language can be categorized into six groups that correspond to various constructions permitted in the language:

  • Comments: Any text starting by a semi-colon ; or // is considered a comment and ignored by parser until the end of line (inline comment).

    Block (multi-line) C-Style comments starting with /*and ending with */ are also allowed.

  • Keywords: are reserved words that introduce either Event or Action constructions. Examples include Note (for events) and Group (for compound actions).

  • Simple identifiers: denote Max or PD receivers and are also used to specify the label of a musical event or of an action.

  • @-identifiers: are words that start with @ character. They either introduce a new definition or denote predefined functions, user-defined functions, user-defined macros, action attributes, or event attributes. The following @-identifiers are used to introduce new definitions: @abort   @broadcast   @fun_def   @init   @macro_def   @obj_def   @pattern_def   @proc_def   @track_def   @whenever.

  • $-identifiers: are words that start with $ character. They correspond to user-defined variables or parameters in functions, processes, and object or macro definitions.

  • ::-identifiers: words starting with ::, obj::, pattern:: or track:: refer respectively to processes, objects (actors), patterns or tracks.

User defined score elements including macros, processes and functions can only be employed after their definition in the score. We suggest putting them at the beginning of the file or to put them in a separate file using the @insert command. They will be discussed in proceeding chapters.

Simple identifiers: keywords and message receivers

Simples identifiers denote Antescofo keywords. They are also used for the receivers of messages send to the host environment.

The Antecofo language comes with a list Reserved Keywords for defining elementary score structures. Reserved keywords are case insensitive. They can be divided in two groups:

  • Event Keywords including NOTE, CHORD, TRILL and MULTI introduce musical events (see chapter Event in Antescofo) and are used to describe the music score to be recognised.

  • Action Keywords, such as GROUP, LOOP and more, specify computations that can be instantaneous (Atomic actions) or containers for other actions that have a duration (Compound actions).

Here is an example:

        NOTE 60 1/2
            rcvr1 harm1 60 87 0.5
            rcvr2 ampSy 0.8 2
        NOTE 62 1
            rcvr1 harm1 87 78 1.5
            1/2 print HELLO

In the example above, rcvr1 harm1 60 87 0.5 and rcvr2 ampSy 0.8 2 are actions that are hooked to event NOTE 60 1/2, and 1/2 print HELLO denotes an action (sending to a receiver print in max/pd) with a delay of half-beat time. General syntax for atomic actions is described in chapter Atomic Actions.

Event keywords can not be nested inside Action blocks. Event keywords are always defined at the top-level of the text score. Action keywords and blocks can be nested as will be discussed later.

The example shows another use of a simple identifiers: rcvr1, rcvr2, harm1 ampSy and print are simple identifiers but are not reserved keywords. Here they refer to a receiver or a symbol in Max/PD. Simple identifiers that are not reserved keywords are case sensitive. In case a score requires the user to employ a reserved keyword inside a message, the user should wrap the keyword in quotes to avoid clash.

REMARK: An Antescofo text score is interpreted from top to bottom. In this sense, Event Sequence commands such as BPM or variance will affect they events that follow their appearance.

Example: The figure shows two simple scores. In the left score, the second tempo change to 90 BPM will be effective starting on the event with label Measure2 and as a consequence, the delay 1/2 for its corresponding action is launched with 90 BPM. On the other hand, in the right score the tempo change will affect the chord following that event onwards and consequently, the action delay of 1/2 beat-time hooked on note C5 corresponds to a score tempo of 60 BPM.

    BPM 60
    NOTE C4 1.0 Measure
    CHORD (C4 E4) 2.0
    NOTE G4 1.0
    BPM 90
    NOTE C5 1.0 Measure2
         1/2 print action1
    CHORD (C5 E5) 2.0 
    NOTE A4 1.0
BPM 60 
NOTE C4 1.0 Measure1 
CHORD (C4 E4) 2.0 
NOTE G4 1.0 
NOTE C5 1.0 Measure2 
     1/2 print action1 
BPM 90 
CHORD (C5 E5) 2.0 
NOTE A4 1.0 

@-identifiers: Functions, Macros, and Attributes

A word begining with a ‘@’ character is called a @-identifier. They have five purposes in Antecofo language:

  1. in the processing of a file, some commands directly affect the parsing of this file: the @insert command is used to insert another file, and the commands @uid and @lid are used to generate on-the-fly fresh identifiers;

  2. to introduce new definitions (functions, processes, tracks, patterns, etc.);

  3. to specify various attributes of an event or an action;

  4. to call internal functions that comes with Antecofo language as listed in chapter Library Functions;

  5. and to call user-defined functions or macros.

Only ! ? . and _ are allowed as special (non alphanumeric) characters after the @.

Note that in the first three cases, @-identifiers are reserved identifiers and thus are case unsensitive, that is @tight, @TiGhT and @TIGHT are the same keyword. Reserved @-identifiers are listed here.

Users can define their own functions as shown in chapter Functions. These @-identifiers are case sensitive. Predefined functions are listed here.

$-identifiers : Variables and Parameters

$-identifiers like $id or $id_1 are simple identifiers prefixed with a dollar sign. Only ! ? . and _ are allowed as special characters after the $. $-identifier are used to give a name to variables (see section variables and as parameters for function, process and macro definition arguments. They are case-sensitive.

The figure below shows a rewrite of the excerpt of Pierre Boulez’ “Anthèmes 2” given here using a simple macro and employing basic @ and $ identifiers. The harmoniser command is here defined as a macro for convenience and since it is being repeated through the same pattern. The content of the hr1-p to hr4-p actions inside the Macro use a mathematical expression using the internal function @pow to convert semi-tones to pitch-scale factor. As a result the Antescofo score is shorter and musically more readable. Variables passed to the macro definitions are $-identifiers.

You can learn more on expressions and variables in chapter expression onwards.

Rewrite of Figure [fig:a2-ex2] using a Macro and expressions

::-identifiers : Processes

::-identifiers like ::P or ::q1 are simple identifier prefixed with two semi-columns. ::-identifiers are used to give a name to processus (see chapter Process).