Programming in concert mode

Andrew Sorensen's cyberphysical music-making demonstrated programming real-time systems in real time.

Music and programming share deep mathematical roots, but have very different senses of “performance”. At OSCON, Andrew Sorensen reunited those two branches to give a live “concert” performance as a keynote. Sorensen brought his decade of “live coding musical concerts in front of an audience” to a real-time demonstration of Extempore, “a systems programming language designed to support the programming of real-time systems in real time”:

“Extempore is designed to support a style of programming dubbed ‘cyberphysical’ programming. Cyberphysical programming supports the notion of a human programmer operating as an active agent in a real-time distributed network of environmentally aware systems.”

Sorensen’s performance built music from a series of mathematical patterns, adding and connecting components over the course of the talk. He showed:

  • A wide range of performance venues, including duets and concerts controlling acoustic instruments — 0:19
  • A first snippet of code and tune — 2:02
  • Applying temporal recursion to music — 2:41
  • Bringing in harmonic progression — 2:57
  • The ways that “evil global state… make it easier to integrate other parts” — 3:54
  • A different use for cosine and set theory — 4:10
  • Dropping in a bass line — 5:04
  • Adding some “sparkly stuff” with a synth sound occasionally — 5:50
  • Creating kickdrum and high-hat lines with variations — 6:40
  • Bringing the harmonics to a happy major conclusion — 7:50
  • “Winding everything back down again” — 8:18

I look forward to future performances!

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