live coding / mercury

Upcoming performances




Mercury is a minimal and human-readable language for the live coding of algorithmic electronic music.

All elements of the language are designed around making code more accessible and less obfuscating for the audience. This motivation stretches down to the coding style itself which uses clear descriptive names for functions and a clear syntax. Furthermore the editor is restricted to 30 lines of code, keeping all code always visible. Mercury provides the performer with an extensive library of algorithms to generate or transform numbersequences that can modulate parameters, such as melody and rhythm, over time. The environment produces sound in conjunction with visuals. Besides looking at the code, the audience is also looking at the visuals that are reactive to the sound or generated by the sound.

It is named after te planet Mercury. Mercury rules the creation and expression of our mental processes. The planet implores us to express ourselves. Mercury is about a quick wit, quick thinking. It lets us move from one thing to the next.

Mercury is programmed in the Cycling’74 Max8 node-based creative coding environment, as an abstracted layer on the Max/MSP audio engine and with the use of Node4Max for parsing, lexing and generative algorithms and Jitter/OpenGL for the visuals and the responsive texteditor.

Mercury uses the Total Serialism NodeJS package available on This package contains an extensive library of algorithmic composition methods.

Funded by

From November 2019 till November 2020 Mercury the development of Mercury was made possible by funding granted from Creative Industries Fund NL. The funding was used to further develop the software, build a public open-source release, extend the libraries for algorithms, sound design and visuals, develop workshops and classes and work on further collaborations, compositions and performances.


Past Performances

Past Workshops