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How about coding a song instead? With the right language or DSL it should be possible. Substitute a Music IDE for the DAW, maybe keep some visualizations (synced to the code of course).

I suppose musicians are more comfortable with a visual metaphor. Still the over-the-top skeuomorphism doesn't seem that efficient to me compared to just coding it.

There are numerous examples of music programming languages. I imagine some people have some success with them, but I think they are not widely adopted because it lacks the immediacy and tight feedback loops available in DAW.

In a DAW, as you're playing the track, you crank the reverb knob until you hit the sweet spot.

In a music programming language you fiddle with values and re-compile repeatedly until you find the sweet spot, but even then it's hard to find because you can't remember if it's better this time you compiled or last time.

For musical coding to work, I think it needs a Bret Victor / Swift Playgrounds / Lighttable style IDE, and then... it starts to look a lot like a DAW, just with algorithms instead of a note grid or timeline.

Some skeuomophic design makes more sends in DAWs, especially the mixer where you might be controlling it with an external controller.

That said, a lot of plugins and virtual instruments never left that world of design after most others moved on.

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