How many lines of code in Spotify

Sonic Pi Why lines of code are the new notes


A Cambridge computer science professor wants every student to learn to code. For this he has developed a program that is also a musical instrument. Grades would then be a thing of the past.

From: Julian Wenzel

Status: 23.09.2017 | archive

Some are pale, only knowledgeable about computers and are considered nerds. The others are just as pale, but are considered cool because they make music with computers. Annoying clichés about programmers and musicians - two incompatible worlds. Are you kidding me? Are you serious when you say that! Sam Aaron from Cambridge brings these worlds together. With Sonic Pi, the computer science professor has developed a program that is primarily intended to teach students how to program - but at the same time it is also a new instrument.

Instead of pressing buttons, plucking strings or turning controls, Sonic Pi creates tones and beats using programming code. Even samples and external instruments can be integrated in this way. The great thing about it: While you try to build increasingly complex beats and come up with new chords, you also learn how programming languages ​​are structured. Because to build more complex sounds, you need it if causes, Loops or other programming commands that are daily business for computer scientists.

Sonic Pi runs on Windows, Mac and the affordable Raspberry Pis - Sam also developed the software on the mini-computer. The project started five years ago. There are now over half a million users worldwide and a large number of students who have already learned to program in this way. Schools in Great Britain in particular use the software in their lessons. It has not yet been used in Bavarian classrooms.

Code is better than notes

Sonic Pi is not only worthwhile for computer science lessons - musicians should also celebrate it. Because the code can be saved, copied and shared, music can be recorded and shared in a completely new way. Not only that, with Sonic Pi, tones can be generated that cannot be represented in the notation system. Every little change in the sound, every single effect can be clearly seen in the code. Our staging system has not been able to keep up for a long time, especially when it comes to electronic music. Sonic Pi closes this gap. Actually awesome.

And yet Sam is always allowed to listen to hostility from both sides: From many musicians that this electronic tinkling is not really music at all (says that to Daft Punk), and from computer scientists who are not very music-savvy, that they don't understand why the program needs it. No matter. Sam continues anyway.

Broadcast: Netzfilter, Saturday 23.09.2017 - from 12 noon