OSC - What is it? Why do I care?

by MAFF (Producer and Artist) With technology changing faster then most people can tie their shoes, it’s easy to get lost in the world of computer-based music. As a computer based DJ, musician, or producer, it can be infinitely hard figuring out what new equipment, programs, or processes to include into your workflow. In the next few weeks, we’ll take you through Open Sound Control (OSC), introducing this new and wonderful music-messaging medium, and help you pick the best app for your workflow.

OSC is a content format for messaging amongst computers, sound synthesizers and other multimedia devices. Created with the intent of sharing music performance data, OSC allows for a note sequence, parameter (such as a fader movement), or almost anything else to be shared with another musical instrument, computer, or multimedia devices. Not to be confused with MIDI, OSC was designed as a higher performance, higher resolution musical parameter space to its 1983 counterpart. One of the huge advantages that OSC has is that unlike MIDI, OSC messages are most commonly transported across the Internet or within a home or studio network. As a DJ, electronic musician, or producer, OSC creates for a massively flexible environment allowing computer-based musicians and DJs, the freedom to interact with their instrument in a more organic, hands-on way. Let’s says for example you’re on stage and for the longest of time you have struggled with the fact that all you do is hide behind your laptop. Lacking any sort of interaction with your audience you start to look for an alternative to the countless hours spent watching your laptop screen waiting for your next cue. OSC is this bridge between screen jockey and performer. With Apps available for devices like the iPad, iPhone, and iTouch, computer based musicians and DJs have been given the opportunity to move out from behind the confines of a computer monitor. Take your iPad, walk to the back of the crowd, and mix the next song while you listen from the audiences perspective. Get on a speaker like your favorite guitar god and chop up a sampled drumbeat live - OSC makes the possibilities for your musical expression virtual endless. The only obstacle now is your own imagination. In the next part of this series we will dive in deeper and talk about and show you some great apps that let you harness the power of OSC on your iOS Device (iPad, iPhone, iTouch).

Do you use any controllers in your DJ setup? Production Setup? Any experience with any of the OSC apps?

MAFF is a Calgary based producer and musician. For more information about MAFF or to hear his music go to http://maffskills.tumblr.com

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