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CDP Ltd.:  Sound Design with a Difference
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Whitechapel Gallery Exhibition
Please note that the CDP email address has changed to 'cdpse9(at)' as of 21 October 2017. Please check the Contacts Page for any other changes of address.

Whitechapel Gallery Exhibition
An exhibition about computer languages was organised by Mark Fell and Luke Fowler and held at the Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel St. London E1 7QX. Now finished, it included information and documents going back to the conception and formation of CDP in the early 1980's, as well as audio examples of CDP sound transformations and compositions made with the CDP software. Our thanks to Sam Ayre and Sofia Victorino at the Gallery for hosting this exhibition, a rare window into CDP's early history. It also showed how inventive the Gallery is in its educational initiatives.

Towards a History of CDP
The exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery has highlighted the length and importance of CDP's history. It began in the late 1970's with a discussion group in York in which Richard Orton was a guiding figure. The participants envisioned possibilities that have come to pass beyond all expectation, and CDP's creative and business history and its contacts and role during this formative period of electroacoustic music is of considerable interest and significance. Archer has retained and archived as many key documents as possible and is now on the lookout for an independent historian to write up a proper history of CDP. CDP's contributions both in software and in overall vision deserve to be documented and recognised.

Featured Composer
Our current Featured Composer is Harry-Ed Roland, resident in Berlin and an imaginative CDP user for many years.

Richard Orton Obituary

Free Download: CDP Core Sound Transformation Software
A free download of our core sound transformation & editing software and documentation is now available. It is being released under a GNU Lesser General Public Licence (LGPL) and includes our full Release 7 package, the Sound Loom GUI (MAC/PC) and now the Soundshaper GUI (PC). Visit the CDP System and the Options tabs for more information. The two existing CDP Tutorial Workshops will also be a free download – for these please click on the Workshops tab. There have now been over a terabyte of free downloads.

Donations/Sponsors Needed
The new set of CDP Ltd directors are working hard to re-imagine CDP in an online public domain context. Meanwhile, we will be seeking new forms of income now that sales of our core software package have been superceded by the free download. We would therefore be grateful for any donations or sponsors to help establish the emerging social enterprise and to help fund current projects. We would like to acknowledge substantial donations from Arthur Green which have kept us afloat, as well as donations from Stephen Goldstein and Tom DeLio.

The Silver celebration
This free download marks our Silver Jubilee (plus a bit) and brings to a certain culmination our original intention to create in-depth sound transformation tools and make them affordable and available to as many composers as possible. It marks a transition to an online public domain culture and to CDP being formally constituted as a social enterprise. For more information about the thinking that lies behind this change, please see our CDP History page (2011 onwards).

A Sharing Community
The vast majority of the software has been written by Trevor Wishart, documented by Archer Endrich and maintained by Richard Dobson with help from Trevor re technical details. It is their willingness to share their 2½ decades of work which has made this possible. We hope that the free download will stimulate the further evolution of a sharing community of users.

Online User Forum
A CDP online user forum has been set up by Simon Kunath. We hope that this forum will provide a means for users to ask questions about the software and get answers from other users. It also provides a way of reporting possible software bugs. Software updates will be posted periodically.

Optional Purchases
CDP still needs some income, so a few items will need to be purchased, such as ProcessPack. This and a couple of other optional purchases are listed on the Options tab. We are hoping that the free download of the main package will make it easier for users to acquire these additional items.

Support Packages
The free download does away with the previous licensing arrangements. Instead we are considering offering user support packages, particularly to educational institutions, for those users who would like to have direct access to CDP personnel and to have bug fixes posted to them right away. We invite user feedback about this possibility.

CDP Development
Rajmil Fischman will be coordinating future development of CDP software. We aim to promote 3rd party development in general and at this point have as a key objective putting the CDP source code into library format. We will call these the CDP-Wishart Libraries as Trevor has been designing most of our software since the early 1990's. It is going to take a great deal of work and some considerable funding to create proper libraries, and we will keep you informed of progress.

Meanwhile we are looking towards education-sector projects to bring our multi-disciplinary expertise into schools and colleges. Initially, we are focusing on 'Sound & Music Computing in Schools' (SMCS). This is partly a response to the promotion of more in-depth computer science in schools, to which we feel we can contribute as programmers and users of sound design tools – tools that are now used in many colleges and universities. Our approach will be multi-disciplinary with the special aim to rejoin the Arts and the Sciences, something that we do every day in music technology. Richard Dobson has prepared an initial Website for this Project at http://www.rwdobson/smcs/smcshome.html. We feel that it is now time to consider more directly how we can share this expertise with the wider community.

Additional Information
  • Interview with Trevor Wishart, key creative programmer for CDP. He was awarded the Giga-Herz grand prize in 2008, and is here interviewed by ZKM Radio.

  • The Options tab is where you can purchase ProcessPack, a printed and bound copy of the CDP Desk Reference and 2 now rare CDs of Richard Orton's music: a selection of his electroacoustic music and Timescape, premiered in York Minster.

  • Visit the Links tab for information about other free software complementary to CDP and about composers who make use of the CDP software.

  • Please note that CDP's main contact email address is now: cdpse9(at)

CDP:  The Composers' Desktop Project Limited, a social enterprise

The official name of CDP is now 'Composers Desktop Project Ltd' and it has a bespoke Articles that define it as a social enterprise. It is registered at Companies House, company number 8733839. The Directors are listed on the Contacts page. Based in the UK, CDP is an international network of composers and programmers guided by a vision of amazing sonic possibilities and how they can be woven into the fabric of music. We have been working together since 1986. About CDP and its approach.

Last updated 27 February 2017