Strange Loop

Sept 22 - Sept 24, 2022


Union Station


St. Louis, MO

An introduction to text-based music with Alda

Alda is a text-based programming language for music composition. The markup-like syntax is easy to understand, designed both for musicians with no programming experience and programmers with no music theory knowledge. With Alda, you can leverage the tight feedback loop of your text editor and the command line to quickly discover and iterate on musical ideas.

In this hands-on, introductory workshop, we will learn the Alda language through a series of examples. Along the way, we will learn some basic music theory concepts and how to apply them when writing music with Alda. We will also discover how Alda can be used as a vehicle for algorithmic music.

Attendees should bring headphones and a Mac, Windows, or Linux laptop, preferably with Alda already installed. A little bit of prior knowledge of programming and/or music theory is helpful, but by no means required!

Dave Yarwood

Dave Yarwood


Dave Yarwood is a composer, musician, and software engineer at Kevel, where he uses Clojure and ClojureScript to build UIs, APIs, and backend services. In addition to Alda (an open-source music composition programming language), he maintains a number of open-source Clojure libraries such as ezzmq (a high-level ZeroMQ library for Clojure) and Mantra (a ClojureScript Web Audio API music library). Dave holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with focuses in Music Composition and Bassoon Performance. He is endlessly fascinated by the intersecting worlds of music and programming.