Before we jump into coding in TidalCycles, let’s talk a little bit about the word pattern because it’s one of the basic concepts in TidalCycles along with the idea of a cycle.
By pattern, we mean something that repeats in either time or space. Patterns occur all over in both nature-made and human-made objects. Textiles are patterns. The shapes of leaves are patterns. Dances are patterns.
And, as you might have guessed, music is made of patterns: both in the small and large scales. The typical song construction of verse/chorus repetitions is a pattern. But also smaller scale pieces of songs are patterns: beats are patterns, melodies are patterns, basslines are patterns.
In this light, TidalCycles is a system for using code to create patterns that create music. But that’s probably enough introduction and it’s time to start writing your first patterns.