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Iterative composition, coding and pedagogy: A case study in live coding with EarSketch

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Pervasive definitions of live coding in music focus on the simultaneous modification and execution of code in a live performance setting where a performer shares his screen with the audience. This article considers a role for live coding that does not focus on live performance but rather on educational contexts. After briefly discussing an iterative model for both musical composition and coding and the potential roles of live coding within this model, the article introduces EarSketch, a learning environment for computer science and music technology that enables students to write Python or JavaScript code to algorithmically generate loop-based music within a digital audio workstation (DAW) workflow. It discusses the impact of code execution time on the learning environment, explains the environment’s current support for live coding and discusses the next steps and challenges involved in implementing additional support for live coding in the curriculum and the software environment.
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Keywords: composition; computer science; education; iteration; live coding; music technology

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Georgia Institute of Technology

Publication date: May 1, 2016

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  • The Journal of Music, Technology and Education (JMTE) explores the issues concerning the use of technology in music education. It examines pedagogy at all levels and across genres such as composition, musicology, performance and music production. It is the only journal specifically dedicated to the educational aspects of music technology and the technological aspects of music. Peer-reviewed, with an international editorial board, JMTE aims to draw its contributions from a broad community of educators, researchers and practitioners who are working closely with new technologies in the fields of music education and music technology education.
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