Live Code Summer School

Hydra x FoxDot x TidalCycles

Dates: Optional pre-session: 30th Aug, Main workshops 31st Aug-1st Sep 2019

Place: Central venues, Sheffield UK

Registration essential

Please note - Both the Hydra and TidalCycles in-depth workshops are now full – if you register for those you’re in effect joining a waitlist.

European live coding summer school! Learn to quickly+easily make algorithmic patterns with Hydra (for visuals) or FoxDot/TidalCycles (for music). Hang out with other nice people in the fine city of Sheffield, one of the crucibles of electronic music, with the rugged Peak District national park a stone’s throw away.

  • 30th Aug (around 5pm-7pm) - Beginner evening session - everything you need to get started with live coding in Foxdot, Tidal or Hydra, suitable for absolute beginners (whether you’re a beginner in code, music and/or visual art!)
  • 31st Aug - 1st Sep (10am-5pm both days) - a two-day intensive course in Foxdot, TidalCycles or Hydra, from the ground up.

There’ll also be social evening activity on the 31st Aug (hopefully outdoor if the weather is good), and a chance to put it all into practice with a performance session on the 1st September.

You’re welcome to ‘mix-and-match’, and join a beginners session in e.g. Tidal, and then do the intensive course in Hydra, if you are already know the Hydra basics, or vice-versa.

FoxDot: Discover how to make music with FoxDot by creating and connecting musical layers with code. Learn how to create chord progressions, play melodies, trigger samples, apply effects, and algorithmically manipulate musical patterns. Find out how to create musical relationships in your code that react to the changes you make as you go. Learn about adding your own samples or synths and even using FoxDot to trigger your own MIDI devices. We’ll also explore some advanced features, such as sending OSC data to Processing to create visuals that react to the music you play.

Hydra: Explore building visual synths using Hydra, starting with basic pixel operations and building up to blending and modulating multiple sources and outputs. Use signal flow in Hydra to play with concepts in computer graphics such as fluid dynamics, feedback loops, and fractals. Learn how to dynamically add and edit your own functions, as well as live-code the editor from within itself. Depending on interest level of the participants, we can also explore midi and OSC control, techniques for synchronizing with audio, and how to use hydra-synth in tandem with other javascript libraries such as for 3D rendering, drawing, and machine learning.

Tidal: Learn how to make TidalCycles patterns through a wide range of techniques of repetition, symmetry, interference and glitch. Explore advanced patterning techniques e.g. based on polyrhythm, shared metre, and complex arpeggios. Find out how to add your own sounds to TidalCycles, or use it to control MIDI synthesisers. Try out multichannel sound – sending TidalCycles patterns across multiple speakers in surround sound. Try linking up multiple laptops for ensemble play, or synchronising with other software. Find out how to pattern lights using the DMX protocol.

The workshops will be lead by the creator of Hydra, Olivia Jack, the creator of TidalCycles, Alex McLean, and the creator of FoxDot, Ryan Kirkbride.


The fee for this two day workshop is suggested minimum £30 for e.g. unsupported students or underemployed, and maximum of £300 for those with strong institutional backing or surplus cash.

Proceeds will go towards space and equipment hire, and Olivia, Alex and Ryan’s time developing and documenting Hydra and TidalCycles, which are otherwise largely unfunded and volunteer-run projects. Please support free/open source software!

-> Register here <-

Please note - Both the Hydra and TidalCycles in-depth workshops are now full – if you register for those you’re in effect joining a waitlist.

About us

Alex McLean: I’m a live coding musician and researcher based in Sheffield UK. I’ve performed widely around the world, solo and in collaborations including CCAI and Slub. I enjoy organising strange events, co-founding the Algorave and TOPLAP movements, the International Conference on Live Coding, and the AlgoMech festival of algorithmic and mechanical arts. I also work part-time as a researcher on the PENELOPE project, investigating patterns in ancient weaves.

Olivia Jack: I am a programmer and artist who works frequently with open-source software, cartography, live performance, and experimental interfaces. I develop browser-based software such as Hydra, PIXELSYNTH, and maps for getting lost. In Bogotá, I work with the performance laboratory ATI-erra, creating interactive visuals for dance and theater. Originally from San Francisco, California, I currently live and work in Bogotá, Colombia.

Ryan Kirkbride: I’m a PhD student at the University of Leeds but living in Leicester, UK. I’m a live coding musician and programmer and I’m currently developing new interfaces for collaborative live coding performance, such as Troop. I perform solo and as part of the The Yorkshire Programming Ensemble (TYPE) using FoxDot.


To make contact with other attendees, e.g. to team up on travel/accommodation, you can join this thread on the TOPLAP forum. There’s also this channel for chatter around and during the summer school.


Any questions, drop us an email at, ta!