package llama

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Language for Live Audio Module Arrangement


Dune Dependency






Libraries for declaratively building software-defined modular synthesizers. Contains definitions of common modules for generating and processing audio waveforms such as oscillators, filters, envelope generators, sequencers and clocks. This package also includes a mechanism for playing sounds generated by synthesizer components through your speakers.

Published: 09 Aug 2023


Language for Live Audio Module Arrangement

The llama is a domesticated South American camelid.


llama is a library for building software-defined modular synthesizers in a declarative style. It can be used to implement programs that generate audio using components commonly found in synthesizers such as oscillators, envelope generators, and low/high pass filters. It can also be used from utop or other ocaml repl environments to perform music live.

Llama in Action

Videos showing off some of the example programs:

Getting Started

You will need to install rust to build the low level library that reads wav files and talks to the sound card. These parts are written in rust because rust has really good libraries for wav decoding (hound) and sound card interaction (cpal).

Then you should be able to build and some example programs:

$ dune exec ./examples/polyphonic_events.exe
$ dune exec ./examples/random_pentatonic.exe
$ dune exec ./examples/echo_effect.exe

Interactive Demo

Run dune exec examples/interactive.exe and then use your computer's keyboard to play music. The top and bottom rows of letters are the white keys and the number row and middle row of letters are the black keys. The mouse position controls the frequency cutoff and resonance of a low-pass filter. Hack examples/ to change how it sounds!


The 'a Signal.t type represents a buffered stream of values of type 'a and is central to the API of llama. These are used to send audio and control signals through a network of components. For example:

(* This is a complete example. Paste this into a file and run it to see what
   it does, or just run:

   $ dune exec ./examples/from_readme.exe

open Llama
open Dsl

(* [osc] represents a signal whose value varies between -1 and 1 according
   to a 440Hz sine wave. *)
let osc : float Signal.t = oscillator (const Sine) (const 440.0)

(* [note_gate] represents a signal whose value is either [true] or [false]
   which changes from [false] to [true] twice per second, and spends 30% of the
   time on. This is often used to communicate the fact that a key is pressed to
   a module that responds to such events. The [Signal.Gate.t] type is a wrapper
   of [bool Signal.t]. *)
let note_gate : Signal.Gate.t =
  periodic_gate ~frequency_hz:(const 2.0) ~duty_01:(const 0.3)

(* [envelope] is a signal which is 0 while its [gate] argument is producing
   [false] values, but which raises to 1 over the course of [attack_s] seconds
   when [gate] transitions to [true], and transitions back to [false] when
   [gate] transitions to [false]. Note that even though it is also a [float
   Signal.t] like [osc] is, it doesn't contain audio data. Instead an envelope
   is typically used to modulate a signal in response to a key press, which we
   are simulating here with [note_clock]. *)
let envelope : float Signal.t =
  ar_linear ~gate:note_gate ~attack_s:(const 0.01) ~release_s:(const 0.2)

(* Multiply the oscillator with the envelope to produce a repeating
   burst of volume which gradually tapers off twice per second. *)
let output : float Signal.t = osc *.. envelope

(* Play the sound! *)
let () = play_signal (output |> scale 0.1)

Example Live Session

Start a utop session with the Llama module available by running dune utop, then enter this into the utop repl.

open Llama.Live;;

(* Define a sequence of frequencies and durations. *)
let steps = [ Some (110.0, 0.1); Some (123.47, 0.1); Some (98.0, 0.2); None ]
|> ( (fun (freq, period) -> { value = const freq; period_s = const period }));;

(* Create a sequencer to play the notes. *)
let { value = freq; gate } = sustained_step_sequencer steps (clock (const 4.0));;

(* Create an oscillator to buzz at the frequency selected by the sequencer. *)
let osc = oscillator (const Saw) freq;;

(* Create an envelope generator to shape the volume according to the gate. *)
let env = ar_linear ~gate ~attack_s:(const 0.01) ~release_s:(const 0.2);;

(* Use the envelope to control the volume of the oscillator. *)
let amp = osc *.. env

(* Create a player returning a `float t ref` which can be set to the signal we want to play. *)
let out = go ();;

(* Play! *)
out := amp;;

(* To silence playback you can change the output to [silence]. *)
out := silence;;

Dependencies (8)

  1. conf-alsa os = "linux"
  2. dune-configurator build
  3. conf-pkg-config build & os = "linux"
  4. conf-rust-2021 build
  5. lwt >= "5.4"
  6. ocaml >= "4.13.0" & < "5.0.0"
  7. llama_core = version
  8. dune >= "3.0"

Dev Dependencies (1)

  1. odoc with-doc

Used by (1)

  1. llama_interactive >= "0.1.0"




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