Audio programming and mental health


Do you happen to know any references (papers, books, interviews, etc.) where people discuss how

audio programming/coding/live coding/electronic music making

can be linked to

meditation, altered states of minds, flow states, mental health, etc. ?

I understand that there has been a connection made between music (music making) and mental health e.g. in music therapy, however, for some people this connections is enhanced when doing audio programming.

Perhaps I should first look for a connection between general programming and mental health?

Thanks! k

I cannot recommend any reliable material, but I can offer you my personal opinion (for what it’s worth).

My personal opinion is that the occasional rewards one gets e.g. when something unexpectedly sounds much better than anticipated are what make live coding or algorithmic approaches to music addictive. Anything addictive tends to release endorphins at the moment of a reward which are “feel-happy chemicals” that are known to help with relieving pain and boost happiness.

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Tongue in cheek, I’d say programming rather drives me crazy :crazy_face: – reinforcing the expectation that some automated agent should do what I wanted within milliseconds is perhaps counter to mental health :wink: (the curious thing about that is that my SC music lately tends to be calm, but my mental state while improvising is not calm at all…)

I remember Fabrice Mogini was doing some things with audio therapy, but didn’t want to release the code because misuse could be harmful to health. I don’t know details.


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Many thanks both.

Unexpected sounds releasing endorphins reminds me that I still haven’t read Sweet Anticipation by David Huron - maybe there are some clues!

Nowadays I like to make long, repetitive loops with slight (often unexpected) changes in panning, pitch, rhythm, etc. It feels that the repetitiveness provides some kinda vehicle for the mind to stay focused but in a mindful way, while the small changes make sure there is still some critical awareness mixed in the experience as well.

I was asking because I would like to support the idea that music programming can (could) help artists/students/etc. develop deep listening which is often associated with certain types of meditation, primarily passive, receptive styles as far as I understand.

I will research this a bit more and update the post if I can.


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