Live-Coding Music with TidalCycles

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Live-Coding Music with TidalCycles

Live-coding is a medium to create music and visuals live, allowing for algorithmic exploration and performance. The workshop will focus on TidalCycles, which is a free and open-source tool that is ubiquitous in the live-coding scene, and often seen at algorave performances. The workshop will give attendees the skills to explore musical ideas with code, an introduction to the landscape of live-coding, and steps to combine TidalCycles with traditional music production tools.

Course Logistics

Thursday, March 10, 2022


$80 for a 3h workshop
We also offer Diversity Scholarships. Apply here.

Experience Level:
This workshop will be geared to serve a range of student experience levels. We will assume zero-knowledge, but it is always helpful to have music theory, music production and/or computer programming knowledge.

Learners are asked to bring their own laptops as well as a pair of headphones (wired, if possible). We will have a very limited supply of laptops for learners who are unable to have TidalCycles installed and running on their machines.

Workshop Outline

  • Introductions
  • A brief history of live-coding & algoraves
  • Learning TidalCycles pattern language
  • Creating algorithmic rhythms
  • Sample manipulation with code
  • Exploring melodies
  • Performance tips-and-tricks
  • Share-out / performances!

Educational and Experiential Goals

  • Learners will have the ability to explore musical ideas using code (TidalCycles)
  • Learners will understand the landscape of live-coding and the communities around creating art with code
  • Learners will be given next-steps to continue learning and ways to be involved with the communities
  • Learners will feel empowered to explore musical curiosities with code
  • Learners will be able to share their creations with each other and the instructors in the course

Dan Gorelick is an SF and Brooklyn-based creative technologist and artist. He graduated from Boston University with a Bachelors of Science in Computer Engineering and is a lifelong musician exploring the sounds of cello, synthesizers and more. He uses his knowledge of software, hardware, design and music to create projects in the interactive media space. Dan has worked on creative technology projects with clients such as National Geographic, Intel, Berklee College of Music. He has performed or spoken at SXSW, Github Universe Conference, Twilio Signal Conference, Gray Area and others. Dan has taught workshops for creative coding at the SF Conservatory of Music, Babycastles, and Pratt Institute. Dan is also an organizer of the live-coding artist collectives AVClubSF and livecodeNYC.

Kit Christopher is a live coder living in Dallas TX. He is a lifelong fan of music, an avid cyclist, and a friend to all cats. Look for a collection of his new music in 2022.

R Tyler is an algorithmic dance ("algorave") musician, producer, keyboardist, artist, DJ, and computational biologist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He performs with live-coding, using a combination of TidalCycles, custom Python code, and Ableton Live to create danceable house and techno with complex rhythms and jazz and microtonal harmonies. He designs beats with custom machine learning software, rhythm enumerators, and code generators. To explore the space between expressive human instrumentation and chaotic algorithmic composition, he makes extensive use of his software tool that translates his jazz-influenced MIDI keyboard playing into executable code that he then remixes with algorithms and improvisation. A member of the AV Club collective, he has performed at over 14 algorave events since 2020, including GitHub, San Francisco, New York, Portland, San Diego, and multiple international livestream events. Each set features hundreds of lines of visible and rhythmically executed code, resulting in a dozen or so original compositions that he blends together in fast DJ-like sets. He also likes to DJ footwork and techno and has several releases on bandcamp.