Saturday, February 4, 2012

Not The Random Music Generator; It Just Sounds Like It

It's going to be a TED talk today. Or actually, make that a TED performance. Today you'll be meeting a guy named Scott Rikard, who last September in Miami discussed the matter of repetition in music, and the importance of same.

To prove the importance of repetition, Rikard, a mathematician, set out to create a piece of music that had no repetition whatsoever, using the keys of a piano and something called the Golomb ruler.

*The keys chosen for each successive note were selected by multiplying by successive powers of three (1, 3, 9, 27, 81, etc.), and then dropping sets of 89 from the totals until the number provided could match a key on the piano (...9, 27, 81, 243-178=65).
*The Golomb ruler is a ruler on which integers are marked off in such a way that no two distances between plotted points are the same distance apart. This was used to create pauses between notes.

The idea was to create, by way of the lack of repetition, the world's ugliest piece of music. Interestingly enough, though, the commenters on the TED website, after listening to the piece, generally figured it to be at least a little better than it was made out to be. A few even considered it to be rather beautiful, if in a really strange way. One commenter compared it to an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

Judge for yourself.

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