Nyquist(1) A computer programming language for software sound synthesis and music composition




Nyquist is a language designed for digital sound synthesis and computer-assisted music composition. It is based upon the XLISP implementation of the LISP programming language. Nyquist is similar to other software synthesis languages such as Csound and cmusic. Like programs written in those languages Nyquist programs invoke and arrange various audio synthesis functions which are employed by musically useful algorithms and control structures, but instrument design and scoring syntax are completely integrated in Nyquist.

;; Make and play a sound

(play (osc 60))

This one-line program will call a Nyquist oscillator function to create a default sine wave with a default amplitude of 1.0 (normalized) and a pitch value of 60 (MIDI note number for middle C). The output from the oscillator is then sent to the system sound hardware for realtime play starting at the default delta-time of 0 and lasting for a default duration of 1 second.

;; Create an instrument, play a scale with it

(defun note (pitch dur)
  (osc pitch dur *table*))

(play (seq (note c4 i)
           (note d4 i) 
           (note e4 i) 
           (note f4 i) 
           (note g4 i)
           (note a4 i)
           (note b4 i)
           (note c5 q))) 

This program first defines a note function that receives two parameters, pitch and dur (duration), and sends them to an oscillator. The oscillator applies the given pitch and duration to the waveform defined in the *table* global variable. The default waveform is a sine with an amplitude of 1.

The seq function then sends a sequence of note statements to the play function for realtime audio output. In this example the pitch is indicated in a note-name/octave pair. Duration is expressed in symbols for conventional musical rhythmic units, i.e., i stands for an eighth note (quaver) and q stands for a quarter note (crotchet).

Nyquist programs may be entered line by line at the program prompt or they can be saved and loaded as files.


-l filename.lsp
Load a Nyquist program file, typically (but not necessarily) with an extension of .lsp.


Examples and tutorial files are located in the $NYQUIST_HOME/demos directory.

HTML documentation is located in the $NYQUIST_HOME/doc directory.


Possibly, maybe, perhaps. If you find any please report them to the authors.


See the todo.txt file in the Nyquist top-level directory for the current TODO list.


Nyquist is written by Roger B. Dannenberg <[email protected]>. XLISP is written by David Betz <[email protected]>.


Copyright and license information for Nyquist:

Copyright 2000-2002, by Roger B. Dannenberg. All rights reserved.

Copyright and license information for XLISP:

Copyright 1984-2002, by David Michael Betz. All rights reserved.

See the license.txt file in the Nyquist top-level directory for complete licensing details.