The Csound Command

Csound is a command to generate a sound output from an orchestra file and a score file (or a unified csd file). It is designed to be called from a terminal or DOS window, but can be called from an easier-to-use front-end. The score file can be in one of many different formats, according to user preference. Translation, sorting, and formatting into orchestra-readable numeric text is handled by various preprocessors; all or part of the score is then sent on to the orchestra. Orchestra performance is influenced by command flags, which set the level of displays and console reports, specify I/0 filenames and sample formats, and declare the nature of real-time sensing and control.

Order of Precedence

There are five places where options for Csound performance may be set. They are processed in the following order:

  1. Csound's own defaults

  2. File defined by the CSOUNDRC environment variable, or .csoundrc file in the HOME directory

  3. A .csoundrc file in the current directory

  4. <CsOptions> tag in a .csd file

  5. Passed on the Csound command line

The later options in the list will override any earlier ones. As of version 5.01 of Csound, sample and control rate override flags (-r and -k) specified anywhere override sr, kr, and ksmps defined in the orchestra header.