Making Music with Computers: Creative Programming in Python

Bill Manaris, Andrew R. Brown

May 19, 2014 by Chapman and Hall/CRC
Textbook - 502 Pages - 63 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9781439867914 - CAT# K13083
Series: Chapman & Hall/CRC Textbooks in Computing


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  • Covers all the concepts found in a traditional introductory computer programming (CS1) course, including data types, variables, assignment, arithmetic operators, input/output, algorithms, if statements, relational operators, logical operators, loops, arrays, functions, modularization, and object-oriented programming
  • Follows guidelines set by the College Board for computer science education
  • Supports both objects-first and procedures-first pedagogic approaches
  • Assumes little musical and programming experience
  • Introduces topics through many motivating and interesting examples
  • Offers a collection of motivating code samples and software libraries at

Watch videos of students making music using code from the book.


Teach Your Students How to Use Computing to Explore Powerful and Creative Ideas

In the twenty-first century, computers have become indispensable in music making, distribution, performance, and consumption. Making Music with Computers: Creative Programming in Python introduces important concepts and skills necessary to generate music with computers. It interweaves computing pedagogy with musical concepts and creative activities, showing students how to integrate the creativity and design of the arts with the mathematical rigor and formality of computer science.

The book provides an introduction to creative software development in the Python programming language. It uses innovative music-creation activities to illustrate introductory computer programming concepts, including data types, algorithms, operators, iteration, lists, functions, and classes. The authors also cover GUIs, event-driven programming, big data, sonification, MIDI programming, client–server programming, recursion, fractals, and complex system dynamics.

Requiring minimal musical or programming experience, the text is designed for courses in introductory computer science and computing in the arts. It helps students learn computer programming in a creative context and understand how to build computer music applications. Also suitable for self-study, the book shows musicians and digital music enthusiasts how to write music software and create algorithmic music compositions.

Web Resource
A supplementary website ( provides a music library and other software resources used in the text. The music library is an extension of the jMusic library and incorporates other cross-platform programming tools. The website also offers example course and associated media resources.