Resources for learning Max/MSP

Cycling74’s Max. It is nice. It’s a visual programming language which is mainly used for audio visual applications. It is wonderful for prototyping as well.

But where to start? Because Max is around for decades there are tons of resources. I try to list the ones I really like and don’t want to forget.

Courses / Books

If you want the whole package of information. This complete Video courses and books are a good starting point.

Programming Max: Structuring Interactive Software for Digital Arts

If you want a structured introductory course to Max/MSP/Jitter this one is for you. Mainly targeted to beginners, but provides all the information you need to start working with Max. Provided by Kadenze and completely free. And your tutor is the incredible Matthew Wright.

Electronic Music and Sound Design

Already in the 4th edition. It provides a really deep view into Max and also into sound design in general. Lots of theory.

Step by Step: Adventures in Sequencing with Max/MSP

A book about building sequencers with Max.

Ableton Pack: Building Max Devices

This pack for Ableton provides a nice guide which lets you learn Max by doing it.

Video Content

There are lots of people providing useful Max information. Here are some which I really like.

Max/MSP Livestreams with Tom Hall

Cycling’s terrific content producer Tom Hall just started a live stream with Max tutorials. Great! #1 was already a highlight.


Oldy but still a goldy. Lots of video content from years ago about Max fundamentals and advanced topics.

Documentation / References

Abletons Developer tools

Abletons Developer tools is a huge resource for coding guidelines and best practices. 🩶

Max Cookbook

A massive amount of examples. These example patches encompasses a wide array of functionalities including audio processing and synthesis, MIDI manipulation and sequencing, visual effects and Jitter integration, algorithmic and generative composition, as well as various utilities and user interface elements. They illustrate everything from basic tasks like file playback and sound recording to complex concepts such as probabilistic music generation and synchronized audio-visual performance. Overall, they serve as a comprehensive resource for exploring Max MSP’s capabilities across diverse applications.

Official Max8 Documentation

Especially the tutorial section is very useful to start with.

Cycling ‘74 Forums

A massive source of knowledge about Max. And the newest news.

April 1, 2020
🚧 thought drafted
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
🌎 published
Tuesday, March 12, 2024
🔨 last modified
in love with audio & MIDI since 1999