Posted in communication and networking, music

Live music using 1s and 0s

Live coders jamming together
Live coders "jamming" together

I kid you not: writing coding to make music, in front of a live audience. Truly New Wave.

It might just be the most conceptually complex way of making music that modern man has yet devised. But that is the challenge of live coding – the process of writing computer code, in real time, to compose and play music or design animations.

“It’s not just a passive process, not just someone creating sounds, which is the problem with electronic music – because people don’t really see what it is that the musicians are doing,” says Dave Griffiths.

Dave is a live coder and a performer in a night of live coding held in a south London pub, organised by the collective Toplap.

“Live coding brings the audience closer; they can see that you’re making something in front of them,” he says.

The furious coding is also projected onto a screen for the audience, making the programming as much – or more – of the performance as the music it codes for.

If anything it should go wrong – and anyone who has ever done any programming will know how frequent this is – they get nothing out.

A crash. Epic fail.

Because the software that live coders use is designed for a compile-free, real-time use, the performers face this prospect much less often.

But it does happen, Dave tells me. “That’s what keeps it exciting,” he says.

Read more on BBC



Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.