Skip main navigation

The Commodore 64: Programming as performance?

In this article, Dr Kenny McAlpine poses the question of how the process of writing music changed when it was so technically-led.
Autograph music manuscript of Rob Hubbard's score to Commando.
© 1986, Rob Hubbard
In the previous video step, we heard Rob Hubbard describe how his workflow adapted to suit writing music in code on the Commodore 64.

He described how programming and the hardware were the most important aspects of his workflow, and that he found the high level of control that this gave him really exciting. But he also described the process of actually coding the music as both tedious and difficult. And yet, despite that, he still found a way to make it performative and relate his programming practice back to his music-making.

There’s a definite tension here, and so in the comments section below, I’d like to hear your thoughts on what the challenges and opportunities might be from having technology determine your workflow and approach. Might it, for example, give you new perspectives on music, or might you become so distracted by figuring out how to do something that you lose sight of the bigger picture?

© 2017, Kenny McAlpine
This article is from the free online

Video Game Design and Development: A Bit-by-Bit History of Video Game Music: Video Game Sound and Music

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now