Caffeinated Rhythms: Playing Drums With CoffeeScript

Giles Bowkett (at large)

If you’ve ever wanted to make music with your computer, it’s easy to do. Any developer working on OS X can write CoffeeScript code which plays drum rhythms. (Solutions exist for other platforms but won’t be within the scope of this talk.) Find out how, with a simple overview of the ubiquitous music protocol MIDI, and the node-midi library which makes it easy.

MIDI is a protocol in extremely wide use since 1983 and available in nearly all music hardware and software built since that time, from cheap Arduino kits to gigantic professional concert lighting systems. Interactive musical sculptures at Burning Man have featured custom-built MIDI-controllable flamethrowers, and most people at the conference will probably have excellent MIDI implementations available to them not only on their computers but on their phones as well.

The node-midi library makes it very easy to control MIDI via CoffeeScript, whether you’re plugging into gazillion-dollar studio equipment, a $5 synth on an iPad, or your MacBook’s free copy of Garageband. Setup is simple and painless, results are instant, and the code is easy to understand.

Photo of Giles Bowkett

Giles Bowkett

at large

Giles Bowkett first wrote JavaScript in the mid 90s. He is a Web developer with experience in many languages, including Ruby, Perl, Java, and Python.

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