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A software synthesis environment, or SSE, is a soft synth which, rather than implement a specific instrument, allows the programmer to design and implement their own instruments. The three basic approaches to soft synths are:

  • Textual programming language (examples: Csound, ChucK). This most resembles a traditional computer programming language, and allows the programmer to manipulate individual digital signal words.
  • Graphical programming language (example: Max/MSP). This is conceptually similar to the textual programming language, but programming is done in a graphical environment.
  • Virtual modular (examples: Reaktor, JSyd). This is conceptually similar to a modular synthesizer. Predefined processing functions are interconnected in a graphical environment using "virtual patch cords".

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