Last updated
TidalCycles identity.svg
Tidal Code Screenshot.png
Developer(s) Alex McLean and others
Initial release2009
Stable release
1.4.7 / 29 December 2019;1 day ago (2019-12-29)
Repository https://github.com/tidalcycles/Tidal/
Written in Haskell
Operating system Linux, macOS, Windows
Type Live coding environment, Algorave
License GPLv3
Website tidalcycles.org

TidalCycles (also known as "Tidal") is a live coding environment designed for musical improvisation and composition. In particular, it is a domain-specific language embedded in Haskell, focused on the generation and manipulation of audible or visual patterns. [1] [2] [3] It was originally designed for heavily percussive, polyrhythmic grid-based music, but now uses a flexible, functional reactive representation for patterns, using rational time. [4] Tidal may therefore be applied to a wide range of musical styles, although its cyclic approach to time [5] means that it affords use in repetitive styles such as Algorave. [6]

Tidal does not produce sound itself, but via the SuperCollider sound environment through the SuperDirt framework, or via MIDI or Open Sound Control.

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Greenfoot is an integrated development environment using Java or Stride designed primarily for educational purposes at the high school and undergraduate level. It allows easy development of two-dimensional graphical applications, such as simulations and interactive games.

Alex McLean British musician and researcher

Alex McLean is a British musician and researcher. He is notable for his key role in developing live coding as a musical practice, including for creating TidalCycles, a live-coding environment that allows programmer musicians to code simply and quickly, and for coining the term Algorave with Nick Collins.

Slub (band)

Slub is an algorave group formed in 2000 by Adrian Ward and Alex McLean, joined by Dave Griffiths in 2005 and Alexandra Cardenas in 2017. They are known for making their music exclusively from their own generative software, projecting their screens so their audience can see their handmade interfaces. Their music is improvised, and advertised as falling within the ambient gabba genre.

Algorave music genre

An algorave is an event where people dance to music generated from algorithms, often using live coding techniques. Alex McLean of Slub and Nick Collins coined the word "algorave" in 2011, and the first event under such a name was organised in London, UK. It has since become a movement, with algoraves taking place around the world.

Sonic Pi music software

Sonic Pi is a live coding environment based on Ruby, originally designed to support both computing and music lessons in schools, developed by Sam Aaron in the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory in collaboration with Raspberry Pi Foundation. Thanks to its use of the SuperCollider synthesis engine and accurate timing model, it is also used for live coding and other forms of algorithmic music performance and production, including at algoraves. Its research and development has been supported by Nesta, via the Sonic PI: Live & Coding project.

Ixi lang software and programming language

Ixi lang is a programming language for live coding musical expression. It is taught at diverse levels of musical education and used in Algorave performances. Like many other live coding languages, such TidalCycles, ixi lang is a domain-specific language that embraces simplicity and constraints in design.


  1. McLean, Alex. "Tidal – Pattern Language for Live Coding of Music". Sound and Music Computing. Archived from the original on 2017-10-15. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  2. Bick, Emily (March 2016). "Pattern Recognition". The Wire (385). pp. 16–17.
  3. "TidalCycles, free live coding environment for music, turns 1.0". CDM Create Digital Music. 2018-12-18. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  4. McLean, Alex (2014). Making Programming Languages to Dance to: Live Coding with Tidal. Proceedings of the 2Nd ACM SIGPLAN International Workshop on Functional Art, Music, Modeling & Design. FARM '14. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 63–70. doi:10.1145/2633638.2633647. ISBN   978-1-4503-3039-8.
  5. McLean, Alex; Fanfani, Giovanni; Harlizius-Klück, Ellen (2018-11-23). "Cyclic Patterns of Movement across Weaving, Epiplokē and Live Coding". Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture. 10 (1).
  6. Mollan, Cherylann (2019-02-10). "Grooving to Algo'rhythms'". The Asian Age. Retrieved 2019-03-01.