The second Tuesday of October is Ada Lovelace Day, a day first founded in 2009 to celebrate the achievements of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). You may not be familiar with Ada Lovelace, but you must have heard of her father—the famous English poet Lord Byron. Ada Lovelace, the only legitimate child of Byron, is widely hailed as the very first computer programmer.
What makes Ada distinguished is not only her contribution in creating the first computer algorithm, but also her far-sighted insight into the diverse potential of computing machines. She realized that the capability of computers could go beyond mere crunching numbers. One of the exciting potential that she imagined computers might have is to compose music. This idea, which might sound crazy when it was put forward by Ada in 19th century, has now become a reality. In 2015, computer scientist Donya Quick wrote a program named Kulitta, which could compose new pieces of music based on existing music styles. When people listened to some fragments of Kulitta’s compositions, some of them thought the music was written by a famous musician.
Now the magic process of creating music with a mess of numbers and punctuation marks can even be directly shown to the audience. Almost every weekend in New York City, people can enjoy a “live coding” music show. What makes these shows special is that the DJs don’t use any electronic musical instrument, but use a coding language named Sonic Pi during their performance. Sonic Pi was originally designed as a teaching aid to add some joy when helping children learn programming, but has now been developed into a new musical instrument.
如今，以一大串数字和标点符号来谱写出乐曲的神奇过程甚至可以直接展现在观众面前。在美国纽约，几乎每个周末人们都可以观赏到一场“现场编码”的音乐表演。这种表演的独特之处就在于，DJ在演出过程中并不使用任何电子乐器，而是运用一种名为“Sonic Pi”的编码程序。Sonic Pi最初是为了帮助孩子在学习编程的过程中增加些许乐趣而设计的教学工具，而现在，这一程序已进一步发展成为一种新型的演奏乐器。
According to some DJs, the best part of live coding is the freedom and flexibility it offers. Coding on computers instead of using traditional instruments makes musicians no longer constrained by their body during performance, and ensures that any idea that flashes into their minds can be directly transformed into fantastic melodies. Typically, the whole process of writing source code is projected onto a screen so that it is visible to the audience. The strands of code appearing at a massive scale can create a special visual effect.
Live coding is not only a form of music performance, but has been used as an innovative technique to create sound, image, and even improvised dance and poetry. It means that art and technology are further integrated, enabling us to express ourselves in more diverse and creative ways.
hail v. 赞扬，称颂
distinguished adj. 卓越的，杰出的
far-sighted adj. 有远见的
crunch v. （用计算器或计算机）
project v. 投影，投射
strand n. 一股，一缕