Introduction to OSC

Open Sound Control (OSC) is a protocol for communication among computers, sound synthesizers, and other multimedia devices that is optimized for modern networking technology. Bringing the benefits of modern networking technology to the world of electronic musical instruments, OSC's advantages include interoperability, accuracy, flexibility, and enhanced organization and documentation.

This simple yet powerful protocol provides everything needed for real-time control of sound and other media processing while remaining flexible and easy to implement.


  • Open-ended, dynamic, URL-style symbolic naming scheme
  • Symbolic and high-resolution numeric argument data
  • Pattern matching language to specify multiple recipients of a single message
  • High resolution time tags
  • "Bundles" of messages whose effects must occur simultaneously
  • Query system to dynamically find out the capabilities of an OSC server and get documentation

There are dozens of implementations of OSC, including real-time sound and media processing environments, web interactivity tools, software synthesizers, a large variety programming languages, and hardware devices for sensor measurement. OSC has achieved wide use in fields including computer-based new interfaces for musical expression, wide-area and local-area networked distributed music systems, inter-process communication, and even within a single application.


OSC Research at CNMAT

OSC was originally developed, and continues to be a subject of ongoing research at UC Berkeley Center for New Music and Audio Technology (CNMAT). CNMAT is an interdisciplinary research center within the UC Berkeley Department of Music. CNMAT is known for its dynamic educational, performance and research programs focusing on the creative interaction between music and technology. The Center's goal is to provide a common ground where music, cognitive science, computer science, and other disciplines meet to investigate, invent and implement creative tools for composers and performers. For more information, please visit our web site: