Five Musical Patterns for Programmers

Location: Ballroom A Level:
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Music and software have more in common than some might think. They are both creative endeavors, both follow certain rules and structures, and both encourage experimentation. In this talk, we will look at five patterns from the world of music that are relevant to programming. This is not a talk about using software to generate music, but rather what programmers can learn from music history and theory.

Specifically, we will discuss:

  • Recursion
  • Minimalism
  • Symmetry
  • Creativity
  • Tonality and atonality

For each of these topics, we will look at specific code examples, using Ruby on Rails. And we will listen to music!

Photo of Jon Dahl

Jon Dahl


Jonathan Dahl is a developer and entrepreneur who co-founded Slantwise Design in 2003. He has built Ruby on Rails applications since 2005, and has tried more than once to become a Lisp hacker, without success.

Lately, he has focused on distributed video transcoding (Zencoder), and Tumblon, a web-based service for parents to track and share their children’s growth.

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