Intro to live coding with TidalCycles

Membership plan: Getting Started | Topics: Creative Coding

Course overview

In this workshop you will be introduced to the TidalCycles live coding language through Strudel, a new version of TidalCycles that runs in the web browser. This workshop aims to provide you with suitable skills to begin exploring musical live coding.

What you'll learn

  • Navigate and use the Strudel REPL and web-based editor
  • Read and write TidalCycles mini-notation
  • Apply and compose TidalCycles functions for algorithmic pattern manipulation
  • Find support via TidalCycles documentation and online communities

Who is this course for?

  • Musicians/producers looking to try live coding for the first time
  • Coders looking to apply their skills in a musical context
  • Anyone who is interested in music and patterns

Course content

  • Access the course materials on the Strudel site
  • 1. Getting Started
  • 2. What is live coding?
  • 3. What is Tidal Cycles?
  • 4. What is Strudel?
  • 5. Notes
  • 6. Sounds
  • 7. Code
  • 8. JavaScript code syntax
  • 9. Code commenting
  • 10. Strings
  • 11. Rhythm (mini-notation)
  • 12. Mini-notation_ division, angle brackets, multiplication
  • 13. Mini-notation_ square brackets
  • 14. Mini-notation_ rests, parallel, elongation, replication
  • 15. Mini-notation_ Euclidean rhythms
  • 16. Mini-notation exercise
  • 16.1 Piano roll visualisation
  • 17. Mini-notation example breakdown
  • 18. Stacking layers of sounds
  • 19. Debugging a mini-notation example
  • 20. MIDI and OSC
  • 21. Samples
  • 22. Loading custom samples
  • 23. Sampler effects
  • 24. Next steps


  • Computer and internet connection
  • Optional: software or hardware that can receive MIDI

Course schedule

Meet your instructor

Jack is a postdoctoral researcher at the Intelligent Instruments Lab with Prof Thor Magnusson, designing and studying musical instruments imbued with artificial intelligence. Jack holds a Doctorate in Media and Arts Technologies from Queen Mary University of London, where he studied in Prof. Andrew McPherson's Augmented Instruments Lab. During his PhD, Jack was a Visiting Scholar at Georgia Tech under Prof. Jason Freeman. Before then, he was a Research Engineer at ROLI after graduating with a BSc in Music, Multimedia & Electronics from the University of Leeds. His research interests include embodied interaction, craft practice and design cognition. He also produces, performs and live codes music as Lil Data, as part of the PC Music record label.


Useful links

Tidal Cycles website (learning resources and download) Strudel (live coding with Tidal Cycles in the browser)

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