Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Siren: General-Purpose Algorithmic Composition and Live-coding Environment
Mert Toka
2nd Author
3rd Author
Master of Science
Number of Pages
UC Santa Barbara
Thesis Supervisor
JoAnn Kuchera-Morin
Supervisor e-mail
jkm AT
Other Supervisor(s)
Curtis Roads, Marko Peljhan
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Media Arts & Technology
Languages Familiar to Author
English, Turkish
URL where full thesis can be found
live-coding, algorithmic composition, pattern programming, programming languages, user-interface design, supercollider, tidalcycles, music visualization
Abstract: 200-500 words
Siren is a software environment for exploring rhythm and time through the lenses of algorithmic composition and live-coding. It leverages the virtually unlimited creative potential of the algorithms by treating code snippets as the building blocks for audiovisual playback and synthesis. Employing the textual paradigm of programming as the software primitive allows the execution of patterns that would be either impossible or too laborious to create manually. The system is designed to operate in a general-purpose manner by allowing multiple compilers to operate at the same time. Currently, it accommodates SuperCollider and TidalCycles as its primary programming languages due to their stable real-time audio generation and event dispatching capabilities. Harnessing the complexity of the textual representation (i.e., code) might be cognitively challenging in an interactive real-time application. Siren tackles this by adopting a hybrid approach between the textual and visual paradigms. Its front-end interface is armed with various structural and visual components to organize, control and monitor the textual building blocks: Its multi-channel tracker acts as a temporal canvas for organizing scenes, on which the code snippets could be parameterized and executed. It is built on a hierarchical structure that eases the control of complex phrases by propagating small modifications to lower levels with minimal effort for dramatic changes in the audiovisual output. It provides multiple tools for monitoring the current audio playback such as a piano-roll inspired visualization and history components.