I get it, you’re impatient—here’s the bare minimum required to get from zero to running Extempore code.


The quickest way to get started is to download a binary release, unzip it and run extempore.exe from inside the extempore folder.

If you’re more of a build-from-source type, then that’s pretty easy as well

Editor setup

There’s also a VS Code plugin in the works—probably not ready for prime time, but it’s a nice editor and it might be the best option in the future once some of the rough edges are knocked off.

To write Extempore code you need a text editor, and there are Extempore “plugins” for several text editors—Atom, Emacs, Sublime Text and Vim.

If you don’t have a favourite text editor, then VSCode probably a good choice—it’s free, available on all platforms and doesn’t have as steep a learning curve as some other editors.

If you do have a favourite text editor, and it’s one of the ones mentioned above, then see the editor support page for instructions on how to get started hacking Extempore code in your editor of choice.

“Hello, World!”

Hello, World! is pretty straightforward in Extempore

(println "Hello, World!")

“Hello, Sine!”

Since Extempore has multimedia programming as a core part of its DNA, here’s “Hello, Sine!”

(bind-func sine:DSP
  (lambda (in time chan dat)
    (* .1 (cos (* (convert time) .04)))))

;; tell Extempore to use `sine` as the audio output sink
(dsp:set! sine)

If you want to turn it off, just re-define the dsp function to return “silence”:

(bind-func sine:DSP
  (lambda (in time chan dat)

In the snipped above we’ve used 0.0, but any constant value will work (because physics).

“Hello, Triangle!”

“Hello, Triangle!” is a bit more complicated, since setting up the OpenGL state machine requires a bit of boilerplate. See examples/external/shader-tutorials/triangle.xtm to get started.

Beyond “Hello…”

These simple snippets gloss over some subtleties of what’s going on. But hey, if you’ve started quickly(ish), then this page has done its job. To understand the subtleties, read the rest of the documentation :)

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