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03/01/2016 – Session One #Sonic Pi

Today I spent a few hours trying to re-familiarise myself with Sonic Pi. Sonic Pi is a brilliant resource created to teach programming skills through the medium of sound. I will write more about Sonic Pi in future but for now please check out a blog post I wrote about teaching Sonic Pi with The Curiosity Hub a little while ago.

Code wise, Sonic Pi is designed to be very quick to pick up, even if you have never written code before. It is very readable and within the space of something as simple as play 60 and pressing the ‘Run’ button you will produce sound.

I found the challenge to be more weighted on getting something to sound decent than on the coding side. Last time I sat down and used Sonic Pi I was really excited as everything sounded (or at least I thought…) really cool but today it was more of a struggle, i’m not really too sure why! Anyway as I said in my previous post it will take a lot of practice.

I had a quick re-read through the information in the Sonic Pi Help menu (this is super useful for getting started) and spent some time plugging together different samples and fx and creating some simple melodies.

Today I found that although it can sound almost quite hypnotic to repeat drums for ages, I think too much repetition can be dull, generating even very subtle changes seems to make a big difference.

A main challenge will be getting a feel for how long to leave the same ‘part’ of the song running before changing it. Ultimately if you are performing then you have to think about the audience, its hard to judge if people would be bored by it when you are on your own, but I guess you just have to decide what you think sounds best. In performances do you play what you think sounds great and hope people like it or do you cater more to their needs to keep the night alive? A combination of both I guess…

Here is a quick recording of an attempt I made by building on the guitar example at the end of 1.1 in the help menu. I added a drum loop and various FX.