Programmers And Music

I am convinced there are more musicians among programmers than in other profession? Why? A computer is like an instrument; it produces a result albeit not necessarily music. So computers attract many people who play an instrument and sort of want to learn a second. This phenomenon could be explained this way.

As a programmer, mathematician and musician, I can agree with all below. However, can anyone name any particularly prominent musicians that have also been programmers or mathematicians? Also, I'd be interested in hearing any musical creations by users of this Wiki. I've linked to one of mine from my WikiHomePage. -- PeteHurst

20 years ago I was interested in this theory. Later I experienced unfair treatment by managers who thought that Joe Bloe in the group obviously was the better programmer, because he spends all his time playing music in a band and composing new songs...obviously better than this other guy whose main hobby is programming and further education/research in C.S. Extraordinarily annoying. So the problem, basically, is that it's an overgeneralization, and as such, a logical fallacy. It is not sufficiently predictive.

I am not saying they play in bands. I am saying they have been attracted by music at one point in their life. There are many similarities between writing code and music; music theory etc. I am convinced one programmer out of 3 has some sort of connection to music. The link between music and programming is more obvious nowadays with synthetizers, electronic music, sampling, etc.

I understand, and I'm not the one who said "play in bands", I was quoting a manager. But the point is that I was discriminated against, which you didn't address.

I can't play any instrument well because I didn't/don't put in the time. Do I get credit for being able to whistle really well? Of course not. Do I get credit for having a nearly perfect sense of pitch? For knowing thousands of melodies by heart? For having dabbled in music theory? Of course not. I don't have the magic attributes that make one a "musician" in the popular eye, so therefore I'm not as good of a programmer. According to some.

Being a good programmer and being a good musician are two different things. They are not related. I am simply saying that people attracted to musical instruments are often attracted to computers. Computers are also instruments. I never said that if you were not a good musician you could not be a good programmer.

In my opinion the skill sets of a musician and a programmer have a certain amount of overlap. That's not to say that there is a complete congruency; perhaps the congruency is not even very great. When I consider the many musicians I know and have known, there are many who I can't imagine ever being able to program; many programmers I know seem to have little affinity for music. I guess all of this doesn't prove very much, other than the tendency of humans to notice coincidences! -- JohnWebber (programmer and musician)

Interestingly enough, I have recently developed an interest in programmatically generated music, using CeeSound. Any other such hobbyists on the Wiki? -- KarlKnechtel

I've fiddled with CeeSound, and intend to do more, but unlike some of my friends, I can't claim to be an avid hobbyist in that area. -- DougMerritt

I've tried once upon a time to enter in the world of sound synthesis (through selfmade tools), but at the end I've discovered a program like ZynAddSubFX, a very old literature about the argument, and then I focused more on "melodies"... -- MauroPanigada
Maybe the link between programming and music is maths. Listening to music when young makes you better at maths. Music IS maths. Numeric relations, octaves, frequency multiples, timing and rhythm. All maths. Timbre, harmonics, tone, resonance, dissonance, harmony.... all numbers. I don't like doing maths, but my brain is doing it WELL every time I listen to music or it would make no sense. Like doing subconscious calculus to catch a ball. You think?

'Listening to music when young makes you better at maths.' Hmm, I think it's more like 'Listening to music when young correlates with being better at maths.' And the HiddenCommonCause may just be parents nurturing their children. I consider myself as a counter-example for this MusicianProgrammers? theory, though I cannot refute that patterns play a role in music and programming. Maybe it depends on the kind of patterns. I'm thinking mostly in a symbolic interconnected way, whereas e.g. my wife thinks in a figurative narrative way. ItDepends. -- GunnarZarncke

Microsoft apparently noticed this correlation when they entitled their latest language C#

We surely should revolt and refer to it as Db. I'm a composer and multi-instrumentalist... and I've been strangely drawn to computer programming. Took a class in VB and am Wiki-oriented as well as a little HTML wise with a hint of CSS, though no Java, no C#, C++, or any of that matter. So perhaps there is much to be said about some connection between music and programming. -- James Householder IV

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