The Musical ‘Code Jamming’ Of Andrew Sorensen

Sunday Synth Jam: This video captures a talk and computer music improvisation ‘code jam’ by Andrew Sorenson at TEDxQUT.

About Andrew Sorensen

Andrew Sorensen is an artist-programmer, whose interests lie at the intersection of computer science and creative practice. Andrew is well known for creating the programming languages that he uses in live performance to generate improvised audiovisual theatre. Andrew is the author of the Impromptu and Extempore programming language environments.

9 thoughts on “The Musical ‘Code Jamming’ Of Andrew Sorensen

  1. i love this. i can see this actually getting popular as a new way to create play live.
    there will probably be a lot of people hating on this saying its not making music , but
    clearly it is. just another approach. that dude is a coding master .
    crazy awesome!!!

  2. This is amazing! Creating live from scratch could basically mean each performance of the artist can be unique. Different theme, layers, progress, melodies. That would surely increase the attendance at gigs, the anticipation alone for hearing something new and exclusive would be worth it.

  3. Wow, this is really the first live coding piece of music I really could listen to without having to think about how cool the technical side might be. It’s interesting to see that live coding in its different incarnations (there are probably more systems out there than there are active researchers in the field) is something that not only the audio-visual guys are talking about but also computer scientists. It’s an exciting field and personally I find it more intriguing than many of the controllerism type performances because with live-coding you can look at the code, (alsmot) nothing is hidden. Another step would be not to project the source code behind the performer but to make it available in real-time on a wireless network in the venue so that members of the audience can peruse the code and see how it evolves on their own personal devices without being distracted by the typing of the performer.

  4. What was especially interesting to me was to see the role that a GUI plays– because in this case it was absent. In other words, we are so used to seeing music built (even music like this) where there are virtual knobs, sliders, and menus. I can’t guess whether his work would have been sped up by having such an interface. But it was fun to see that he was choosing sounds, scales, melodic and rhythmic patterns using fairly short bits of code.

  5. (squints and says) “Not sure if brilliant or just creepy.” Actually, it was a nice piece of music and an impressive way to get there. What brings out my gadfly is trying to see a line between technical adeptness and the point at which you can “shred” in real-time. The things that make musical play easy also make it TOO easy, IMO. I want to hear heat and sweat that seem to go missing when someone is playing only 4 OctaTracks. Sometimes it has far more energy than passion.

    I internally argue with my own views about all of this regularly, because I couldn’t have my own idea of fun without a computer. You can’t embrace Use A and then claim that Use C is “bad” or invalid. No one is happier than me when a new player turns a standard approach on its ear and points at a new path to explore.

    Composition-by-programming clearly has a place, but its not the method of choice if you have something like “Tarkus” in mind. Virtuosity should mean that when you are done, part of your hair is out of place.

  6. @Fungo McGurk – I kind of agree with what you are saying here whilst also disagreeing. The great animators of the early 20th Century drew everything by hand. In the 21st Century the great animators are generating incredible visuals using code. Is this a type of musical animation? I really like the way that he obviously thinks about the rules of music and the structure of different sound blocks. So technically this is really good and he creates something fantastic with it. I would love to know how easy it is to improvise in this system – how rehearsed was this particular performance?

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