“Sonic Pi” the Future of Music

Sonic Pi, a coding environment for creating music. Extremely powerful but very simple to get started on.

Randomly browsing the internet like I usually do, I stumbled across this thing called "Sonic Pi" which blew my mind in many different ways that it is hard to articulate into words.

Of course, it was not the text on the homepage which says "Welcome to the future of music" that blew me away, since there are already way too many self-claimed miracles of a product everywhere. It was this video of Sam Aaron demonstrating and tinkering with this software of his live on stage.

Sonic Pi

The Live Coding Music Synth for Everyone • Sam Aaron

"Well, we've got codes, haven't we? So wouldn't it be fun if I could treat my standard sample as an array - a list of drum hits"- Sam Aaron [20:18]

Basically what this means is, instead of composers/musicians having to chop wave files up manually, we let the codes do all the work and the output is a list of separate drum hits - for us users of Sonic Pi, this is all done by writing only one line of code.

This is a great example of a domain called "Creative Coding" where code is used expressively instead of functionally. The code written here is not really doing something super useful in terms of human productivity, but it is used as a tool to create some kind of art instead.

Sonic Pi, the coding environment itself is so well developed and is such a great example of 2 worlds colliding, bringing out the best of both - music performance/composition and computer programming. This makes coding accessible for everyone since it's connected to music which people could relate to. Even children could easily create some tunes just from play around in Sonic Pi - and this is exactly the goal of Sonic Pi's existence; to get people, children, everyone into the world of computer programming, by lowering the entry barrier as low as possible.

Start Tinkering!

Should you want to try out Sonic Pi, just visit their website, download the software, install it on your computer (or get a portable version). Start tinkering around following the tutorial here.