What genre do you think sonic pi is best suited for?

Hi, I’m a hobbyist piano player looking to experiment with electronic music creation, DAWs, etc. and I recently found out about this software.
I find traditional DAWs really unintuitive an not fun to use at all, and was thinking about buying a physical groovebox like an OP-1, but they are too expensive. I´m also not into techno or loop based electronic music, but rather more melodical genres (maybe videogame soundtracks).
As far as I know, this program´s workflow is centered around loops, but I still wanted to ask if it can also work for more melodical arrangements.


If by " melodical " , You mean each note
chosen by the user …
If You have the patience , You can write
forever …

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Loops have their uses, but I would not go so far as to say the program’s workflow is centred around them. It should be equally easy, or equally hard, to use it for a 32-bar song, or something that does not loop at all. Basically, you have to write a computer program to do whatever it is you want. This could be as simple as playing back pre-programmed notes, or generating them algorithmically somehow, or whatever you can come up with. It is not really like a “workstation”, either.

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Hello @ax_zk! Welcome!

Sonic Pi certainly works well with looping structures and has useful features to make working with them easy.
That’s just one aspect of it however - it’s certainly possible to compose pretty much anything you can imagine without using them. (You have play, sample, synth, and sleep - those right there are all you need to produce any melody you can think of - and things like in_thread to play multiple melodies together at once).

@robin.newman is one person who has often produced music with little to no loops in it. The Bach example is a series of linear plays and sleeps (written as play_pattern_timed) which only has a few functions to repeat the main sections - but that’s only as a convenience to avoiding having to write out twice the amount of notes :slightly_smiling_face:
(He has many other examples of classical music pieces transcribed for Sonic Pi, often with the help of automated scripts that convert them to Sonic Pi code).

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You might be interested in a “tracker”, basically a simplified sequencer. I think a lot of people use them to make videogame-type music. I’m not familiar enough with them to recommend one but, Google music trackers to explore. I personally see Sonic Pi as kind of a more sophisticated tracker, but something simpler might be more intuitive.

You can code yourself a program that can play any type of music in any imaginable genre.

It’s also possible to extend Sonic Pi’s capabilities, for example i’v been programming this unofficial addon that can play numerical notation in any key or scale called ziffers. It’s one way to make composing bit easier especially for melodic arrangements.

And OP-1 would be dope - sort of a dream instrument but feels bit expensive for sure :slight_smile:

I think that Sonic Pi is best suited for any genre. There are so many different ways to use it, and the fact that it can run on a Raspberry Pi makes it more interesting and useful.

I feel that it’s best suited to the electronic genres due to the built-in synths. However, you can import and use external samples too which opens it up to many more genres too. You can also use live_audio to mic your piano or other instruments if you want to comp on top of a song you’ve made.

Like others said, if you’re creating something melodic and non-looping, you can arrange the song from start to finish as you please.

On the other hand, you can use live_loop’s which are more suited to live coding performances allowing you to loop certain instrument patterns and introduce new patterns to layer together. Just because these are loops doesn’t mean you can’t create everchanging melodies/patterns with them. You can make the loops different lengths so the layering offsets, making the result sound fresh and non-looping. You could mute/unmute certain layers or even have one layer of the song influence another layer when played simultaneously.

What kind of instruments/setup do you currently have? If you’re a piano player then I’d highly recommend getting a MIDI controller keyboard with weighted keys. That way you’d be able to play the keyboard just like a piano and send the MIDI data signal into your computer to trigger sounds at different velocities and pitches. I think most people doing videogame soundtracks have a setup like this. I’d recommend something like this no matter what you choose as your DAW.

Are there any specific videogame soundtrack musicians you’re trying to emulate? Disasterpeace? Uematsu? Junya Nakano? Whether you choose to use Sonic Pi could depend a lot on the style you’re wishing to create. If you were leaning towards chiptune music or something then I’d recommend a tracker over Sonic Pi as it’s more suited to that, but they could also be used in tandem with each other.

I’m currently using Sonic Pi to create my next videogame soundtrack and have used it in the past to release some videogame-type songs, electronica, and more. If you want to get in touch I can maybe give you more insight into how I’ve set things up, cheaper gear recommendations, etc…


It’s software, so it will take you anywhere you want to go. And it is the most gentle entrance to electronic music that I know of.

From hip-hop to Handel, the musical world is your oyster, and completely free.


Why don’t you interested in looper?