Music patterns as functions with TidalCycles - LIVE Session



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Date & Time: Tuesday 19th October 2021 - 6pm UK / 7pm Berlin / 10am LA / 1pm NYC

2-hour workshop

Level: Beginner

Live coding is the act of manipulating algorithms in real time to change an ongoing artistic process, like music, visual, dance, poetry, and design, among others. In this workshop, we will discover the most used software for live coding music around the world: TidalCycles. We will discover the algorithmic nature of music and learn ways to write algorithmic patterns to live code our own music. We will explore functions and how to make algorithmic music by writing  computer code! It’s much more simple and magical than it sounds!

Session Learning Outcomes

By the end of this session, a successful student will be able to:

  • Gain a rich overview of live coding

  • Understand the concepts behind the algorithmic behaviour of music 

  • Write basic algorithms to create musical patterns

  • Understand the basic syntax of TidalCycles

  • Write music in the Estuary live coding server using the basic language called mini-tidal

  • Jam together or solo over the network

Session Study Topics

  • An introduction to TidalCycles, its creator and the work of various artists  from around the world.

  • An introduction to the syntax of TidalCycles: streams, functions,effects

  • How to create musical patterns

  • Introduction to Estuary, an online platform to live code alone or together

  • How to continue learning on your own and ask for help

  • How to reach and be part of the TidalCycles community

  • TidalCycles and the Algorave


  • A computer and internet connection

  • A web cam and mic

  • A Zoom account

Software to download:

Note: To run TidalCycles on your machine, you will need to install software in addition to the applications/packages listed above. Follow these instructions to see how to do this on your machine.

To use an online version of TidalCycles (*no installation required):
Visit the Estuary Live Coding Server. Select ‘MiniTidal’ as your language of choice.

About the workshop leader 

Alexandra’s work focuses on the algorithmic behaviour of music and the exploration of musicality within code. She is a core member of the international live coding and algorave community and performs worldwide using the live coding platforms SuperCollider and TidalCycles. In 2017, she was the Chair of the International Live Coding Conference in Morelia, Mexico.