SuperCollider is a programming language for real time audio synthesis and algorithmic composition.

The language interpreter runs in a cross platform IDE (OS X/Linux/Windows) and communicates via Open Sound Control with one or more synthesis servers. The SuperCollider synthesis server runs in a separate process or even on a separate machine so it is ideal for realtime networked music.

SuperCollider was developed by James McCartney and originally released in 1996. He released it under the terms of the GNU General Public License in 2002 when he joined the Apple Core Audio team. It is now maintained and developed by an active and enthusiastic community. It is used by musicians, scientists, and artists working with sound.


// modulate a sine frequency and a noise amplitude with another sine
// whose frequency depends on the horizontal mouse pointer position
        var x =, 100)); * x + 800, 0, 0.1)
        + * x + 0.1)
// Simple synth definition using the Atari2600 UGen:
SynthDef(\atari2600, {|out= 0, gate= 1, tone0= 5,
tone1= 8, freq0= 10, freq1= 20, amp= 1, pan= 0|
  var e, z;
  e=, amp, 0.05), gate, doneAction:2);
  z=, tone1, freq0, freq1, 15, 15);,*e, pan));

// And a pattern to play it:
  \instrument, \atari2600,
  \dur, Pseq([0.25, 0.25, 0.25, 0.45], inf),
  \amp, 0.8,
  \tone0, Pseq([Pseq([2, 5], 32), Pseq([3, 5], 32)], inf),
  \tone1, 14,
  \freq0, Pseq([Pbrown(28, 31, 1, 32), Pbrown(23, 26, 3, 32)], inf),
  \freq1, Pseq([Pn(10, 16), Pn(11, 16)], inf)


Language - sclang
  • Single inheritance object-oriented and functional language
  • Similar to Smalltalk or Ruby with syntax similar to C or Javascript
  • Dynamically typed
  • Constant time message lookup and real time garbage collection
  • Functions as first class objects
  • Closures are lexical, and scope is both lexical and dynamic
  • Coroutines
  • List comprehensions
  • Partial application (explicit currying)
  • Tail call optimization
  • Class extensions
  • Quarks package manager for code sharing
Server - scsynth
  • High quality accurate and efficient audio engine
  • Fully adjustable sample rate (192k+) and block size
  • 32 bit float signal chain
  • Sampling buffers use 64 bit float
  • Fast and fluid control rate modulation
  • Communicates via Open Sound Control - TCP/UDP network communication
  • Hundreds of UGens (unit generators)
  • Simple ANSI C plugin API
  • Hundreds more community contributed UGens
  • Supports any number of input and output channels, ideal for massively multichannel setups
  • Multi-processor support using the Supernova server implementation
IDE / Application
  • Qt based cross platform Integrated Development Environment
  • Qt powered GUI framework for building rich interfaces


OS X 10.4, 32-bit universal build:


PPA and package distributions:


Building from source

. Build instructions, tips and trouble shooting

Release notes

3.6 Release notes

Plugins and Extensions


Quarks is the package system and extends SuperCollider with lots of interesting things for math, graphics, machine learning, networking, interface and compositional frameworks.

Note: SourceForge changed the URL of the Quarks repo. Older binary builds of SuperCollider are configured to point to the old URL, but this is easily fixed. If your install is broken please follow these instructions.

Mailing list

The community is very active and helpful, the center of activity. Please do drop by.

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