How much attention do you pay to what's happening beyond the code?

I find it’s easy to get lost in thinking about what’s happening in the code and what should happen next, to the point where I’m not paying enough (or any!) attention to what’s happening with the music and/or visuals.

In other words, I find it hard to follow the music as much and as consistently as when playing a more traditional and immediate instrument. Whenever I play back a recording of a performance I usually think “that melody looped for too long”, “I didn’t give that enough time to develop”, or “the kick was way too loud” etc.

Do you feel like you’re struggling to keep up with everything that’s happening while performing? Do you take regular breaks from coding to pay close attention to what it sounds/looks like and then dive back into making changes, or do you try to spread your attention more evenly and keep an ear/eye out throughout the performance?

No such thing :smiley:

srsly though, from the POV of a visualist, one of the things that I’ve consciously made myself get better at is taking a step back to leave things alone and let them run for a while.
Performances definitely used to feel quite frantic as I would be continualy tweaking and changing what was being shown, because I was worried that it would get boring quickly. But I’ve since realised that’s not really the case.
As a result of that, I think I do get a chance to actually look around a bit more and see what’s going on at a gig, which is great.

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I think you’re hitting on the core skill needed by a live coding musician - to listen. You really need to be in the time of your music, and any ‘development’ time needs to take place on the same timeline.

Based on discussions I’ve had with @midigirl and others, there are different approaches to this, depending on your relationship to time. My experience is of cyclic time, so I feel closely aware of where I am in terms of loops within loops. I feel pressure building up as I approach repetitions in powers of two - the fourth repetition and sixteenth repetition. I feel expectation build up for change at that point. If I miss the deadline, I’ll probably wait until the next four or eight repetitions before making a change.

Of course the qualities of the change you make are key, but in my experience almost more important is when you make that change. This is even more important when collaborating - the changes you make have to be in sync, where you anticipate each other’s drops etc, in order to work together as musicians.


I usually make structured patterns and custom functions before I perform, so it’s much easier to modify the code. I don’t know if we call this just-in-time live coding ?
As I mentioned on a thread I created, I have ADHD and sometimes it’s hard to focus on what I’m doing, so I code with comments and stack, stuff like “part one, part two, wonky synth” etc…

Same thing over here.