TidalCycles (or 'tidal' for short) is free/open source software, that allows you to make patterns with code, whether live coding music at algoraves or composing in the studio.
It includes language for describing flexible (e.g. polyphonic, polyrhythmic, generative) sequences. It also has an extensive library of patterning functions, for transforming and combining them.
Tidal is highly composable in that pattern transformations can be easily combined together, allowing you to quickly create complex patterns from simple ingredients.
Tidal does not make sound itself, but is designed for use with the featureful SuperDirt synth, and can control other synths over Open Sound Control or MIDI. Whether you're using SuperDirt or a synth, every filter and effect can be patterned and manipulated independently with Tidal patterns.
Tidal is embedded in the Haskell language, although you don't have to learn Haskell to learn Tidal - most tidal coders have little or no experience in software engineering.
Enter the Userbase for installation info, reference material, tutorials and guides!
This website is now a wiki, which means that as well as enjoying these resources, you can improve and add to them.
The above is for the current 1.0.x release of Tidal. To access the documentation for the previous version 0.9.10, please see the old website.
"Learning TidalCycles" Course
There's an ongoing course "Learning TidalCycles" lead by Alex who created Tidal. It's based on pre-recorded videos and you can join at any time. You can join the course on a pay-as-you-feel basis here.
If you enjoy TidalCycles, please consider helping speed up development by contributing coffees to Alex! He's put years into making Tidal, and one-off or regular coffees help speed up both its development and documentation.
Upcoming events + event series
- TOPLAP - the home of live coding
- There's a lot of other fine live coding environments! See the TOPLAP long list of them.
- Algorave - algorithmic dance culture
TidalCycles was initiated by Alex McLean around 2009 during doctoral work funded by EPSRC. Alex's ongoing work on Tidal is partly supported by Ko-Fi contributors and the PENELOPE project (under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme of the European Union, grant agreement No 682711).
TidalCycles has been heavily inspired by the work of many others including Bernard Bel, Laurie Spiegel and Adrian Ward.