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The Science of Sound: Exploring Algorithmic Music with Sonic Pi (Part II)

February 1, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Registrations are closed.

About the workshop

About the workshop: this two-session workshop explores the creation and performance of computer-generated music utilizing the free music programming language, Sonic Pi. The workshop provides a very gentle introduction to both computer programming and digital music production. Sonic Pi is fun and easy to learn. Consequently, it is a great first step for anyone interested in computer-generated music. The workshop will cover the following topics:

  • Basic computer programming with Sonic Pi
  • Samples
  • Software Synthesizers
  • Audio Effects
  • Randomization
  • Algorithmic composition and improvisation using live coding


Workshop attendees should bring a laptop with Sonic Pi installed. Sonic Pi is available free for Windows, Mac and Linux systems at http://sonic-pi.net. The workshop will not assume any specific knowledge of computer programming or music theory. The workshop is appropriate for adults as well as younger learners (middle school and up). NOTE: The first session of the workshop will be held on Saturday, January 21 from 1-3pm.

About Sonic Pi

Sonic Pi is an open source music programming language designed specifically for live coding and other algorithmic music performances. It provides an elegant and easy-to-use environment for writing computer code that manipulates sounds generated from a library of samples and a large set of built-in synthesizers. Sonic Pi was developed by Sam Aaron at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory in collaboration with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. It is available free for the Windows, Mac OS X and Linux operating systems. It is part of the standard Raspberry Pi software distribution.

About the Science of Sound workshop series

The primary purposes of this series is to provide introductory-level, hands-on instruction in electronic music making over a range of approaches and to demystify electronic music and electronic music composition. This workshop series is not centered around learning specific technologies or electronic music generating equipment as such, or learning the newest technologies for their own sake; instead, they will learn how to learn new tools. Particular technologies and applications introduced in the series will play a supporting role in teaching participants the fundamentals of sound and the physics of sound as it pertains to experimental and electronic music making.

This workshop series is divided into four sections covering the various approaches contemporary electronic musicians and composers take regarding the technologies they prefer to utilize:

  • Fundamentals of physics, mathematics and music
  • Introduction to coding and open source computer applications
  • Exploring electronic music equipment and gear (pedals, controllers, field recording equipment, etc.)
  • Using the iPad to make music

This workshop series is supported by an Arts Partnership grant from the Ohio Arts Council.

About the instructor

Michael Perkins is a technologist, musician and philosopher with special interests in discrete mathematics, data science, and algorithmic music and art. He is a graduate of Georgia State University where he studied music and philosophy and The Ohio State University where he studied philosophy and computer science. He completed a Ph.D. in Philosophy at The Ohio State University in 1983. For 35 years, Michael has developed advanced software systems for some of the world’s leading software vendors. He has designed and implemented special-purpose programming languages, data management tools, application generators, cross-platform networking software, and IT systems management software.