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OSC, Open Sound Control

Belongs to subject OSC, Open Sound Control

Open sound control is a protocol for communicating music and sound data between devices. Many consider OSC to be a successor or complement to MIDI. Open Sound Control expands on the capability of MIDI. With OSC we are almost unlimited in how we can communicate between devices.

There is only one channel in Open Sound Control. However, we can create many events at the same time. Each event has a few properties: the time, an address, a type, and a value. The address serves the purpose of a MIDI channel. Addresses allow us to route events to the matching device. The type tells us the parameter involved, such as pitch, volume, or any other parameter we desire. Unlike MIDI, we are not limited to integers between 0 and 127. Instead, we can use an integer, a floating point number, words, or arbitrary data such as audio or video. Floating point numbers allow an almost unlimited range, usually between 0 and 1. So we can specific 0.5 or 0.498 or almost any value we'd like.


Open Sound Control allows us to communicate between devices with very few limitations. While MIDI is still dominant, we can use OSC in situations where we need more flexibility and greater scale.