Tutorial: 16:15–17:45 (English)

Musical Patterns with TidalCycles

TidalCycles (or ‘tidal’ for short) is free/open-source software, that allows you to make patterns with code, whether live coding music at algoraves or composing in the studio.

It includes language for describing flexible (e.g. polyphonic, polyrhythmic, generative) sequences. It also has an extensive library of patterning functions, for transforming and combining them.

Tidal is highly composable in that pattern transformations can be easily combined together, allowing you to quickly create complex patterns from simple ingredients.

In this course, we will discover different techniques to create musical patterns on the fly and will also discover the live coding community around the world.

Alexandra Cárdenas


Alexandra’s work focuses on the algorithmic behavior of music, and the exploration of musicality within code. She is a core member of the international algorave community and performs worldwide using the live coding platforms SuperCollider and TidalCycles. In 2017, she was the Chair of the International Live Coding Conference in Morelia, Mexico.

Alexandra studied composition at the Los Andes University in Bogotá, Colombia, and later completed a Sound Studies and Sonic Arts Master’s Degree at Universität der Künste, Berlin. Besides her live-coded music works, she has composed contemporary pieces for orchestra, ensembles, and soloists, and worked with theater companies in Mexico, Belgium, and Germany.


You should install TidalCycles before the tutorial.

As prerequisites, you will need

Note that, you’ll need a reasonably recent version of SuperCollider. For Linux-based distribution, the recommendation is to compile from source - see instructions here.

From there, follow the installation instructions here.

Get in touch if you encounter problems!

TidalCycles Meetup

There’ll be a TidalCycles Meetup on February 27 at 7PM MET featuring talks by Alex McLean (the creator of Tidal Cycles), Alexandra Cardenas, and Will Rinkoff.

Talks will be followed by an extended show-and-tell session for participants to share their TidalCycles-related work with fellow meetup attendees.