Csound for Mac OS X


Csound is a highly flexible and portable music synthesis software environment that runs on Linux, Unix, Macintosh, and Windows computers. From 2005 to 2009, I occasionally compiled Csound for Mac OS X and made the binaries available publicly. I was never “officially” an OS X developer for Csound though.

The versions of Csound available here are out-of-date. I strongly encourage you to obtain and install one of the official Mac OS X packages of Csound 5 or 6 available from the Sourceforge site. If you are looking for pre-OS X Csound, please see my versions of Csound for System 7, Mac OS 8, and Mac OS 9.

Csound 5 for Mac OS X 10.5 PPC

The versions of Csound available here require Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” to run and are compiled for PowerPC-based Macintosh computers. Csound 5.09 and 5.10 binary installers and complete source code for those versions and all of their dependencies are available from


See the Readme file for more details about which files to download. Version 5.09 is not recommended because the Csound API was broken in that release.

I’ve also written a guide to How I Built Csound on Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard”.

Other Csound tools for Mac OS X

  • AC Toolbox – Lisp-based composition with a graphical interface.
  • athenaCL – A composition environment with Python-scripting.
  • blue – A composition environment with graphical timelines, instrument librarian, etc.
  • Bol Processor 2 – Composition software using formal grammars
    NEW version August 2012.
  • Cecilia 4 – Sound processing environment.
  • CMask – Stochastic score generator
    NEW Mac Universal Binary January 2013.
  • Common Music – Lisp-based composition environment.
  • CornBucket – A score generator for granular synthesis
    NEW Mac Universal Binary January 2013.
  • nGen – A score generator à la CMask and Score11.

History and Credits

Csound was originally written by Barry Vercoe of the MIT Media Lab. Csound 5 was developed by a collaborative team from around the world including John ffitch, Istvan Varga, Michael Gogins, Victor Lazzarini, Steven Yi, Andres Cabrera, John Ramsdell, and myself. Csound includes the contributions of countless other individuals.

Since 2003, public Csound has been free software released under the terms of the GNU LGPL 2.1 license. Csound continues to be developed by an international team of programmers, researchers, and teachers using an open-source development model hosted at csound.sourceforge.net.

Sending Feedback

I am always happy to hear from people who are using my work but I currently have no plans to continue working on this software. Feel free to leave a public comment below or send other feedback via the email address on my contact page.


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