Coding Language

Music has been my second language for most of my life. It has syntax, structure, flow, and most importantly, pattern. When you’re learning music, of course you need to learn the syntax and structures, but whether you realize it or not, you’re just learning a bunch of patterns. Every rhythm, scale, chord, harmonic structure, can be reduced to simple patterns. And while a Rachmaninoff piano concierto is a daunting thing to try and learn all at once, I guarantee anyone could sit down and figure out bits of it, line by line, bar by bar.

Let’s extrapolate and say that music and coding are both languages, each with their own thought patterns. I would argue that coding is instrinsic to human society under this definition. Technologies are extensions of the human form, with music as extensions of our voice and computers as extensions of the mind. Of course, our minds and computers do not function in the same way, but we can understand how a computer thinks and we can mimic that logic flow in our thoughts, allowing us to create code.

I first became interested in coding in college. I took a basic Python class that I did okay in, and then I proceeded to nearly faily a Java class. With music, I was always interested in it because it was something that moved me. Coding was just another class at this point, because I’d yet to truly be moved by code (or at least realized it). It wasn’t until I was exposed to the whole world of coded art, that my interest was really picqued. I began to realize how code was being used all around me to create art, evoke thought and emotion. I thought of code less and less as a sterile string of text, and more and more as a piece of artwork created by a human. Just as when you learn to read music you begin to be able to hear the music represented on the page, I slowly began to see patterns in code, and recognize how the same patterns can be manipulated for different results. For me now, code can be just as personal and emotional as music can. In the same vein that there are many ways to play a piece of music, there are many ways to get the same result in code. How we choose to get there shows our personalities and our thought processes, it shows how we see pattern.

In a nutshell, I want to code for the same reason I want to play music. I want to create things that connect and move people. I also like being able to modify the world around me to best suit my needs and the needs of others, both digital and physical.

Written on September 13, 2017