Reading Response #4 

to Artful Design • Chapter 4: “Programmability and Sound Design”




Music 256A / CS476a, Stanford University

Reading Response: Ends in Themselves


From this week's reading, I'd like to respond to  Artful Design Principle 4.10  which states:

Principle 4.10: Programmability is both Blessing and Curse


In chapter four of the book Artful design, we take a detailed look at sound and how sound in technology works. This includes the details of various programming examples for Chuck, the general structure of how sound is processed in code, and reflection on various challenges and advantages that working in two different worlds can contain. While I found each principle in the chapter to be compelling, one in particular resonated with me. The principle in question was principle 4.10 which states, “Programmability is both Blessing and Curse”. One aspect mentioned in the textbook that I really liked was the quote included by John Wooden, “Players with fight never lose a game, they just run out of time.” This principle strikes me particularly more now as I am approaching one of my first major design project deadlines. 


Losing sight of the art when working on creative technical projects because of things like procrastinating, stress, and being too ingrained in the smaller aspects is far too easy for me to do. Trying to balance your mind between logical thinking and artistic thinking is incredibly difficult to do at times. I myself faced this challenge a lot in my undergrad. Trying to study computer science, where there are few options for accomplishing a task, and music production, where there are no wrong answers, at the same time could be brutal. 


The perspective shifts I would have to take to go from trying to complete a project in one field and then having to work on the other would sometimes prevent me from making any progress due to having to fight my own varying ways of thinking that allowed me to survive in each original field in the first place. That being said I did enjoy my studies and all of the different challenges they provided. When I did have the two ways of thinking overlap when it came to creating a technically intensive creative project, I became familiar with these tendencies I had almost immediately. That didn’t stop them from happening. I realized too that it wasn’t even just these different approaches of thinking that I was switching between, but the scale I would think about them. There were times I would get caught up in small details so much that I lost sight of what I was doing it all for. And there were times that I would think on such a grand scale I didn’t even consider what the steps needed could be or if I would have the time to complete them. In the end, you struggle to move forward balancing these two worlds, making it through each step on the tightrope until eventually the end is reached.