Spectral Sound Processing: A Graphical Approach With Max/MSP/Jitter

A sonogram (also called spectrogram) represents graphically the distribution of energy of a sound through frequencies, in function of time.

sonogram spectrogram voice

It may be funny or useful to transform the data graphically before resynthesizing the sound. This is made easy by a development environment like Max/MSP/Jitter, which allows to work in real time with sound and video.

In this video, I show a few graphical treatments one can apply to a sonogram:

If you wish to realize similar sound processing, here are Max/MSP/Jitter patches for spectral sound processing.

Update: Computer Music Journal Tutorial on Graphical Spectral Sound Synthesis

Read more explanations about this type of graphical sound synthesis in the free pdf article: A Tutorial on Spectral Sound Processing with Max/MSP & Jitter.


  1. Bonjour,
    felicitations pour votre travail! J'ai telechargé du site de C74 les tutorials, mais j'arrive pas à ouvrir celui qui plus m'interesse (4 - exploring the sonogram).
    Est-ce que ça serait possible de avoir la version correcte?
    Merci beaucoup, cordialement

    Enrico Fiocco


  2. Hi Enrico, thanks for your question. I tried it here, and the patch still opens well with Max 6 and Max 7.1
    Here, it works when I do the following: a) turn audio on b) hit record (and make some noise) c) click the button "bang to display" - now, you should see the sonogram. If you click the button while recording, you'll see the sonogram filling up. Then d) click in the sonogram to get some data. Hope that helps. Let me know if it still doesn't work (with platform / Max version). Best.


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