codepancake

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Making music with Ruby & Sonic Pi

A couple of weeks ago I went to one of my favorite conferences: Euruko. Besides from having a great time meeting new & old friends, I got to see some amazing and inspiring talks! One of them was from Joseph Wilk: Programming as a Performance (There’s a video of this talk at Eurucamp online). In his talk, Joseph showed us how you can turn your Ruby coding skills into a live performance with Sonic Pi.  And I have to admit…I love it!

Live coding for everyone
Sonic Pi is a free live coding synth created by Sam Aaron.  The software aims to be as simple as possible for everyone (including programmers) to use code to make music. You can watch his talk below to get the bigger picture :-) (please do!).

After I got introduced to Sonic Pi, I immediately started coding. It’s really fun to ‘code’  your own music. I love the fact that Sonic-Pi is written in Ruby and that you can use Ruby syntax. So, for me, it wasn’t too difficult to start. The software is available for Windows, Mac and Raspberry Pi. If you’d like to start and experience some live ‘music-coding’ yourself: Sonic-Pi gives you a great introduction. But if you want more, I can recommend to watch the tutorials from Dave Conservartoire, they are very nice. For example the video below is Part 1 of the introduction.

I know I’m not the only who’s excited about Sonic Pi.  I have some wonderful friends who are organizing some amazing things:

  • Codeplus Berlin, explores the interface between code + art, with a focus on music. Monthly study group meetings every 2nd Thursday in Berlin.
  • Vienna. Nothing established yet. But rumour has it that something will be organised here soon as well :)

 

Teaching
What I really like about Sonic-Pi is the fact that we *could* use it to teach kids how to code at schools. And not only kids, but also their teachers. Sonic-Pi really is a fun and easy way to get familiar with coding. I totally agree with Sam last words in the video above:

 

Saying “I don’t get technology” (teachers) is just like saying “I don’t get reading or writing”.

It should be: I don’t get technology… yet.