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The musicians making music via coding

The musicians making music via coding

Allison Walker is shaking up the music scene by “live-coding”. This is an experimental style of music where artists write and update computer code in real time to make funky music.  

"The audience gets to see all the guts and the wires spilling out everywhere, and it all just seems very incomprehensible," she said to The ABC.

Walker is a video game sound designer, so she has the background needed for this style of music.

"People don't usually see all the hard work that goes on in the background (during electronic music performance), but if they see this wall of code they're immediately like, 'Woah, that's cool!'

"It's more engaging for an audience to get into."

You can see what live coding looks like in the video below.

Although it might seem very complex to some, the live-coding community is open to everyone. Western Australian software developer Ethan Crawford explains the concept behind “live-coding”.

"Live-coding is similar to a text editor — which lots of people use every day; people use Microsoft Word to write things. In this case, Sonic Pi is just a text editor with some fancy features built on top," he said.

"So many of the interactions that you have with people and your environment are mediated through software, but it's all hidden," Ben Swift, Canberra academic said.

"Live-coding forces somebody, even if only for a second, to engage with computer code — that's something most people probably never do, or maybe only one or two times in their life."

"The fact that the audience can see and engage with what's happening as this process that involves both the code and the sound is very important," said Dr Aaron Sorensen, who has been in the live-coding movement in Australia since 2015.

"It's about this idea that code can be beautiful."