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This article was published on September 7, 2015

Alda is a new programming language that lets you compose music in a text editor

Alda is a new programming language that lets you compose music in a text editor
Abhimanyu Ghoshal
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Abhimanyu Ghoshal

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Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and culture. Hit him up on Twitter, or write in: [email protected].

For years, composers and producers have used complex tools to digitally score music. Developer Dave Yarwood wants to change all that with Alda, a new programming language he created to help people write scores with little to no coding experience.

Yarwood found GUI-based scoring and production tools like Sibelius distracting and limiting when it came to actually penning music. Alda strips all that away and presents users with a simple syntax that they can use to compose MIDI scores in a text editor, without the need to learn a new software interface.

A basic score with its syntax in Alda
A basic score with its syntax in Alda

Alda supports commands for various note lengths, accidentals, multiple instruments and more. In its current state, it’s a handy tool for basic notation, but features like key transposition and repeats are still in the works.

Yarwood has written up a detailed guide to Alda, and says that he has plans to extend its scope to support samples and sounds beyond the General MIDI sound set it currently uses.

➤ Alda [GitHub]