Continuing Your Sonic Pi Journey

The following are resources to help you continue your journey into live coding with Sonic Pi.

Sonic Pi

Download Sonic Pi, see example scripts, download materials for teaching Sonic Pi in the classroom, and more!

Live Coding Education

This is the Tutorial I used as the basis for a speech I gave at the Piney Mountain Toastmasters (Charlottesville, VA) meeting on August 30, 2017.

Getting Started with Sonic Pi

A learning page on Sonic Pi from the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Music Note to MIDI Note Table

Use this helpful table to convert MIDI notes found in Sonic Pi scripts you see online to the actual music note. Remember that “Middle C” is in the 4th octave, and is MIDI note 60. (This table was found on this blog post by Andy Murkin. Andy’s blog post has nothing to do with Sonic Pi, but is linked here as the citation.)

The MagPi Essentials: Code Music with Sonic Pi

MagPi is the official Raspberry Pi magazine published by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. This is an entire 109 page issue devoted to Sonic Pi, and the PDF version is free to download!

Materials for Classrooms

I thought I would include links to additional classroom learning materials that I found during my research on Sonic Pi.

Sonic Pi Lessons

A 5 lesson plan from the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Sonic Pi: Live and Coding

An 11-week lesson plan for incorporating Sonic Pi in the classroom. Includes a set of short films and inspirational works by artists. KS3 in the UK roughly equates to Middle School age, for those of us in the States.

Happy Live Coding!

How to Get Started with Sonic Pi

With a name like Sonic Pi, you might think that The Live Coding Music Synth for Everyone (their words, not mine) forgot about everyone not using the Raspberry Pi. However, that’s where the name Sonic Pi might be a bit misleading — it was developed in collaboration with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, so comes pre-installed on Raspbian images for the Raspberry Pi.

Sonic Pi is also available for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux. So how would you get started with Sonic Pi on the computer you already have? I thought you would never ask.

Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi loves Sonic Pi so much that it comes pre-installed on the current Raspbian images for the Raspberry Pi. All you need to do is download the current Desktop version of Raspbian from the Raspberry Pi Foundation. You can also download the current version of NOOBS and use that to install Raspbian.

If you’re not sure how to write the downloaded image to an SD/microSD card, their website has instructions you may follow.

Windows, Macintosh, or Linux

For the remaining three operating systems, proceed to the Sonic Pi website and download the installer for your operating system. They also have installation directions available.

For Windows, they also have a version that does not need to be installed, but may be simply copied to and executed from a removable USB drive. This would be a good option if you need to try Sonic Pi on a computer you do not own.

Music Theory Refresher

Before we dive into the world of creating music with your computer, a refresher on basic music theory might be in order. While these videos come from the perspective of a piano player, they are still useful in understanding the concepts of the octave and the 12-note music scale.

December 19, 1998

December 19, 1998. A date which will live in awesomeness.

There are some who would disagree. Former President Bill Clinton, for example, probably didn’t find that day particularly awesome. According to Wikipedia, that was the day he was impeached. But I digress…

Today, it seems like everyone has their own domain name. But back in 1998, the idea of personal domain names was a very new concept. While I know of one classmate who’s family had a family domain name back then, I may have been the only person at my high school that owned a personal domain name at the time (one of a very small minority at most). And if it was not for a school project in 1998, it might have been several more years before I could claim a life achievement for registering my first domain name.

If it says anything, I only remember finding one .com registrar at the time – Network Solutions. And for a high school student, compared to one school lunch at $1.25, the cost for registering a domain name for a year was very expensive. There I go digressing again…

Long story short, December 19, 1998 was the day I registered my very first domain name: jdmcs.com. Only a true geek would fondly remember that day, and find that it ranked very high on the scale of awesomeness.

Or would that be true nerd…