Musical Live Coding






  • Workshop Statement

    Live coding has become a popular form of performance for audiovisual work in contemporary club and festival culture [1]. In live coding, performers code music or visuals live, whilst projecting their desktop onto a large screen for the audience to follow the proceedings. Various interesting issues are pertinent here, such as the expressivity of the language, musical abstractions, and audience comprehension. Also of interest is the value of this as a performance practice where composition is typically done through an intense improvisation, putting embodiment (and the lack thereof) and/or the skilled practiced body into focus. This workshop on musical live coding will introduce the diverse live coding systems and show audiovisual material of live coding performances by others. Systems that will be covered are SuperCollider, ixi lang, Impromptu, and LuaAV; with references and introductions to Pure Data, ChucK, Fluxus, and other contemporary and/or historical systems. After an introduction of live coding, the workshop will introduce sound synthesis in SuperCollider which will serve as a good introduction for a more serious study of this cutting-edge audio programming language. SuperCollider will be contextualized with reference to the other abovementioned systems and small exercises will be conducted with the participants. Finally, ixi lang will be introduced. ixi lang is a live coding language written in SuperCollider aiming at quick and easy musical performance. This workshop will get users up and running in making music in the ixi lang, whose whole vocabulary can be learned in under an hour. At the end of the workshop, participants will be able to jam together through a networked tempo clock, share code, music and ideas in a creative and fun way. The workshop will suit anyone with an interest in computer music or live coding practises. There are no skills required, but unfortunately the ixi lang is working only on Mac OS X at the moment, although SuperCollider and most of the other systems covered are cross platform.
    [1] To engage with this interest, a forthcoming issue of Computer Music Journal is including a DVD on live coding systems, and the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC) 2011 introduces submission categories for live coding, both in the paper and performance tracks.