Csound is an audio library that provides users with an extensive arrays of audio functions. As with most libraries, it can be accessed through so-called front-ends that communicate with the core library. The classic front-end is CLI(Command Line Interface) csound, which is present in all desktop installations of Csound. If you use the Csound from the command line you can edit your Csound code with any source code editor you like.
Learning to use Csound from the command line can be a bit daunting for most beginners. Thankfully there exists a number of integrated solutions for using Csound in a more user-friendly graphical environment. Listed below are some of the more popular solutions. Each of these applications are supported, developed and promoted by members of the Csound community.
The Web IDE runs on most modern browsers using the technologies of Web Audio, Web MIDI, and Web Assembly. It allows users to run Csound on various platforms without the need of any software installation.
CsoundQT. This is a standard IDE for editing and running Csound. It has nice tools for editing Csound files, comes with easy editable widgets and a huge example collection.
Blue is an amazingly comprehensive composition tool for working with Csound.
Cabbage is an IDE for developing audio plugins and standalone software with Csound. The IDE includes a full patching environment for testing and prototyping instruments, and provides an extensive array of GUI widgets to help users to create unique and professional looking audio software. It also ships with over 100 ready to use plugins. The Cabbage installers include Csound, so there is no need for a separate Csound install. Cabbage Studio goes further and transforms Cabbage into a DAW with patching interface.
WinXound is a simple but solid front-end for Csound. Unlike the other front-ends listed here, WinXound does not embed Csound. Therefore it will forever work with every single version of Csound from the very first to the very last without any need to update or reinstall. You will need to install Csound prior to use WinXound.
Csound-x is a set of editing modes and libraries intended to compose music for Csound using the legendary Emacs environment.
csound-mode is a lightweight plugin/mode for the Emacs text-editor that ships with a REPL (read-eval-print-loop) based on Csound’s UDP mechanism, enabling realtime interaction in development as well as in performance. Csound-Mode can be installed from within Emacs via MELPA-stable and MELPA-unstable.
csound-vim is a plugin that turns the powerful text editor Vim into a simple but productive Csound development environment. It provides several functionalities for editing Csound files (.orc, .sco, .csd, .udo), like syntax recognition and highlighting, folding, autocompletion, on-line reference and templates, as well as macros for compiling the .csd file and listening to the results, without leaving the editor. csound-vim can be combined with Steven Yi’s csound-repl for live coding.
RunloopSound is a Csound frontend for iOS devices. It supports most cloud providers, runs on iPads and iPhones alike, and features audio in, MIDI support, as well as syntax highlighting and line numbers.