Creating a Soundscape Composition in PD

Composing Sound and Music:

Playing back sounds from disk.

The easiest way of playing back sounds from disk is to use the [readsf~] object. The patch below demonstrates the simplest method for doing this. In order for [readsf~] to work, you should save your patch in a folder with some uncompressed .wav files. In the example below, the patch has been saved to a folder containing a sound file called ‘drumbeat.wav’.



  • Using the patch above, create a soundscape composition lasting no more than 2 minutes. Use multiple versions so that more than one sound can be played back at once. Remember that messages are sent in the order you connect them!
  • You will need to build a simple sequencer that plays back a selection of sounds from disk at different times.
  • You may want to refer to the work you have done in programming, as you will need to use a counter.
  • Other useful objects include [metro], [select], [float], [+], [readsf~], [*~] (for setting and changing volume).
  • You may also want to use objects such as [random], which are always good for a laugh.
  • There is a selection of soundfiles available for you to use here.
  • You can also use your own sounds, or download some from

Additional credit:

  1. Try to trigger some of the sounds from either the computer keyboard (using the [key] object) or a MIDI device (using [notein]).
  2. Use an oscillator to implement Ring Modulation on one or all of your sounds.

Revision questions:

  • What is a message?
  • What is an object?
  • What does bang do?
  • What is the output of a Toggle?
  • What is the difference between a hot and a cold inlet?
  • Name two fundamental properties of acoustic sound. How are they measured?
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