Csbeats is an alternative score language that is aimed at specifying simple scores in standard western tunings and rhythms. Csbeats can be invoked via the CsScore component of a standard .csd score with bin="csbeats" or as stand-alone program which generates a standard numeric score.

As a stand-alone the program reads standard input and writes to standard output.

The csbeats language is very simple, having only 5 kinds of statement, and only one of them has any complexity. In general the introductory word for each statement type is case insensitive, so "QUIT", "quit", "QuIt"... are all the same. Comments can be introduced in either ANSI C89 format or C++ (that is either /* ... */ or // to the end of line) or Csound's semicolon.

  • QUIT

    Causes csbeats to exit. For flexibility the command END is also accepted for the identical action.

  • BEATS=integer

    Sets the number of beats per minute for the following score until the end or until it is reset. The default value is 60bpm. The token BPS is also acceptable instead of BEATS.

  • PERMEASURE=integer

    Sets the number of beats in a bar. The default value is 4.

  • BAR

    Start a new bar.

  • BAR integer

    Start the bar whose number is given.

  • i integer attributes

    Specified a note event for the numbered instrument. The attributes may be any of a pitch, duration or dynamic, or a positioning of the note to a beat or measure, and can be in any order.

    Pitches are specified with a conventional note name (English form) in upper case optionally followed by a #, x (for double sharp), b (for flat) or bb (for double flat). A note of Z is a rest (think zzzz). All notes except rests must be followed by an octave number, with A4 being international A (440Hz). Pitches are passed to Csound in Hertz in the parameter p4, and are twelve tone equal temprament.

    Durations are coded in lower case with the initial letter of the name for whole, half, quarter, eigth and sixteeth notes, or th for thirtysecondth notes. Except for w these can be moderated by appending as suffix:

    • d or . Dotted note (half as long again)
    • dd or .. Dotted note (three quarters as long again)
    • t Triplet note (third notes in two)
    • t. Dotted triplet note
    • q Quintuplet (Five notes in four)
    • s Septuplet (Seven notes in eight)

    Durations can be added together by giving more that one duration. To make this more intuitive a + sign can be used instead of white space.

    The dynamics are written in conventional notation, that is fff, ff, f, mf, mp, p, pp, ppp, pppp. These are passed to the instrument as p5 as 0 for fff, and one less dB for each step below. The default dynamic is fortissimo.

    Additional parameters (p-fields) can be specified in an instrument statement by giving statements like p6=42 which would set the p6 field to 42 until it is changed. The number must be 6 or greater as the first 5 fields are taken with fixed information. Each instrument number has its own additional parameters.

    If any of these attributes is missing it carried forward from the previous note, with beat position being incremented to the end of the previous note.

    In addition an event can be directed to a particular measure with an m attribute or a particular beat with a b.

The opening of Bach's Goldberg variation number 3 can be coded as:

; Bach - Goldberg Variations - Variato 3
; by Brian Baughn 3-14-05
; bbaughn@berklee.net
beats = 120
permeasure = 6

i101    m1 b1 B4 mp qd+s
i101          C5    s
i101          D5
i101          C5
i101          D5
i101          E5
i101          A4    qd+s
i101          B4    s
i101          C5
i101          B4
i101          C5
i101          D5

i101    m2 b1 G4    qd
i101          G5    qd+e
i101          A5    s
i101          G5
i101          F#5
i101          G5
i101          A5    e

i101  m3 b1.5 D5    s
i101          C5
i101          B4
i101          A4
i101          B4    e
i101          C5    s
i101          B4
i101          A4
i101          B4
i101          G4    e
i101          E5
i101          D5
i101          C5
i101          F#5
i101          A5

i101  m4 b1   B4    q
i101          G5    e
i101          G5    q
i101          F#5   e
i101          Z     e   // Z is a rest (zzzzz..)
i101                e
i101          B5    e
i101          A5    q
i101          D5    e



This produces output

;;;setting bpm=120.000000
;;;setting permeasure=6
i101 0.000000 0.875000 493.883621 -4
i101 0.875000 0.125000 523.251131 -4
i101 1.000000 0.125000 587.329536 -4
i101 1.125000 0.125000 523.251131 -4
i101 1.250000 0.125000 587.329536 -4
i101 1.375000 0.125000 659.255114 -4
i101 1.500000 0.875000 440.000000 -4
i101 2.375000 0.125000 493.883621 -4
i101 2.500000 0.125000 523.251131 -4
i101 2.625000 0.125000 493.883621 -4
i101 2.750000 0.125000 523.251131 -4
i101 2.875000 0.125000 587.329536 -4
i101 3.000000 0.750000 391.995436 -4
i101 3.750000 1.000000 783.990872 -4
i101 4.750000 0.125000 880.000000 -4
i101 4.875000 0.125000 783.990872 -4
i101 5.000000 0.125000 739.988845 -4
i101 5.125000 0.125000 783.990872 -4
i101 5.250000 0.250000 880.000000 -4
i101 6.250000 0.125000 587.329536 -4
i101 6.375000 0.125000 523.251131 -4
i101 6.500000 0.125000 493.883621 -4
i101 6.625000 0.125000 440.000000 -4
i101 6.750000 0.250000 493.883621 -4
i101 7.000000 0.125000 523.251131 -4
i101 7.125000 0.125000 493.883621 -4
i101 7.250000 0.125000 440.000000 -4
i101 7.375000 0.125000 493.883621 -4
i101 7.500000 0.250000 391.995436 -4
i101 7.750000 0.250000 659.255114 -4
i101 8.000000 0.250000 587.329536 -4
i101 8.250000 0.250000 523.251131 -4
i101 8.500000 0.250000 739.988845 -4
i101 8.750000 0.250000 880.000000 -4
i101 9.000000 0.500000 493.883621 -4
i101 9.500000 0.250000 783.990872 -4
i101 9.750000 0.500000 783.990872 -4
i101 10.250000 0.250000 739.988845 -4
;;rest at 10.500000 for 0.250000
;;rest at 10.750000 for 0.250000
i101 11.000000 0.250000 987.767243 -4
i101 11.250000 0.500000 880.000000 -4
i101 11.750000 0.250000 587.329536 -4

A Complete Example

Here is a simple example of the csbeats score generator. It uses the file csbeats.csd.

Example 1105. A simple example of csbeats.

See the sections Real-time Audio and Command Line Flags for more information on using command line flags.


sr      =           44100
nchnls 	= 		2

gi1 ftgen 1, 0, 4096, 10, 1
gi2 ftgen 2, 0, 4096, 7, -1, 4096, 1    ; sawtooth
gi3 ftgen 3, 0, 4096, 7,  0, 1024, 1, 2048, -1, 1024, 0  ;triangle

instr 101,102,103
  iamp =      ampdbfs(p5)
  a1   oscil  iamp, p4, p1-100
  kenv expseg 1, p3, .01
  a1   =      a1 * kenv
       outs   a1, a1
; by Brian Baughn 3-14-05
; bbaughn@berklee.net

beats = 100
permeasure = 4

i101    m1 b1   q    mp   D3
i101                      F3
i101                      D3

i101    m2 b1             D3
i101       b3             D3

i101    m3 b1             D3
i101                      F3
i101                      D3

i101    m4 b1             D3
i101       b3             D3

i101    m5 b1              D3
i101       b4              G5

i101    m6 b1              E5
i101       b2              F5
i101       b3     e      Eb5
i101       b3.5   e          
i101       b4     q          

i101    m7 b1     e       D5
i101                q          
i101                e      Db5
i101                q          

i101    m8 b1     q       D5
i101                         E5
i101                         D5

i102    m1 b2      q      D4
i102       b4              E4
i102       b4             Bb3

i102    m2 b2              F4
i102       b2              B3
i102       b4             C#4
i102       b4             Bb3

i102    m3 b2      q      D4
i102       b4              E4
i102       b4             Bb3

i102    m4 b2              F4
i102       b2              B3
i102       b4             C#4
i102       b4             Bb3

i103    m5 b2      e     F6
i103       b2      e     A5
i103       b2.5    e     D6
i103       b3      e     F6
i103       b3      e     A5
i103       b4      e     E6

i103    m6 b1      q     C#6
i103               q     D6
i103               e     C6
i103               q        

i103    m7 b1      e     B5
i103                 q         
i103                 e    Bb5
i103                 q         

i103     m8 b1     e     F5
i103        b1     e     A5
i103        b1.5   e     D6
i103        b2     e    Bb5
i103        b2.5   e     D6
i103        b3     q     F5
i103        b3           A5