On a computer, Sonic Pi looks like any other coding language. It’s a mess of numbers, parentheticals, punctuation marks and keywords, splattered over an LCD screen. But offscreen — and through a set of quality speakers — those keystrokes produce music you might dance to on a Friday night.
Some artists have eschewed traditional acoustic and electronic instruments to compose with computer code. Colloquially, this is called “live coding” — a D.J. takes the stage with a laptop, opens up a coding interface and constructs melodies in real time. Today, there are live coding shows (sometimes called “algoraves”) almost every weekend in New York City, Moscow, Mexico City and India. Sonic Pi — which can find middle C, summon the Amen Break and play dozens of different synth sounds with just a few commands — has become a favored software among the D.J.s at these live events.
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