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Math Music Entertainment Idle

What Pi Sounds Like 178

I've always loved generative music, and this guy used Pi as the basis for his composition. I'm not saying it's as good as Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber or something, but it's a great way to get ready for Pi day which is tragically still not a federal holiday. Write your congressman.
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What Pi Sounds Like

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  • by kryptKnight ( 698857 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2011 @07:21PM (#35424788)

    I'm not saying it's as good as Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber or something

    And thank god for that...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Imagine the love child.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Locke2005 ( 849178 )
        That would require that one of the two be male. Looking at the two of them, I'd say it's more likely to be Gaga.
    • by Sardak ( 773761 )
      No kidding. The song in the video is actually quite pleasant to listen to. I don't think "good" means what the summary writer thinks it means.
      • by Bozzio ( 183974 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2011 @08:39PM (#35425474)

        Warning. Shameless plug.

        If you're into generated music, then you'll probably like auto-composed tone-matrix music. I just happen to have written a game that does that :)

        Do you know John Conway's Game of Life []? It's a cellular automata game. I've combined that with a standard tone-matrix interface to create music that essentially breeds new generations of itself.

        And, just to make sure that pseudo-chaotic music actually sounds good, I framed everything in a pentatonic scale.

        If you're interested, check out Harmonium [] on Xbox 360 Live Indie Games.

        • And here is another example of transcendental numbers in music. This one was created in the early 1970's by Conlon Nancarrow, a composer who essentially created a parallel form of "electronic music" by using heavily modified player pianos instead of electronics. He was born just a little bit too early, but the concepts are extremely similar to what people do in sequencing.


          This one is designed to have two melodies, one in which each measure takes pi inches of player

          • His player piano piece remind me of a piece I wrote for Disklavier in the 90s. I didn't have access to a Disklavier, so I went to a piano shop with a laptop (with midi output) and a recorder, and asked if I could record my piece. The shopkeeper was fine with that, so I hooked it up and got my piece going. The climax was crazy, and blew a fuse, so I had to make a trip to the (fortunately close) electronics store, and record the climax in five separate passes. I wrote a piece for Disklavier because I’m
        • Yes, it doesn’t sound bad, and it only uses 31 digits of pi when so many more are available. That would suggest the piece has had more rational (ie. composer’s) input than irrational.
    • He wasn't giving it enough credit. It was much better than Lady Gaga AND Justin Bieber.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Since Pi is an irrational number, it should sound rather gaga []...

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <> on Tuesday March 08, 2011 @07:22PM (#35424802) Homepage Journal
    I always thought Pi sounded more like this []. But then I used to be on YTMND.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 08, 2011 @07:26PM (#35424846)

    Any random notes from a clearly defined scale (e.g. C major) paired with triadic chords from the same scale will sound vaguely pleasant.
    Thus, this is not "what PI" sounds like as much as it's what C major sounds like.

    • by hweimer ( 709734 )

      Any random notes from a clearly defined scale (e.g. C major) paired with triadic chords from the same scale will sound vaguely pleasant. Thus, this is not "what PI" sounds like as much as it's what C major sounds like.

      In a similar spirit, I once wrote musical representations of quantum algorithms []. I played around with various scales, and it turned out that the best sounding scale actually depended on the algorithm. But then of course the underlying data was not nearly as random as pi.

    • That's kind of like saying that all J. S. Bach themes in C major are the same and you're hearing C major more than Bach. :)

      • by Twinbee ( 767046 )

        I think his point is that you could pick any complicated number (e, sqrt(2), or a completely random number), and get exactly the same kind of emotional response.

    • Another small quibble: there are seven notes in a major scale, the C is a repetition.
  • by immakiku ( 777365 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2011 @07:27PM (#35424852)
    Why not base 7 representation of Pi?
  • Pi is wrong. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pipatron ( 966506 ) <> on Tuesday March 08, 2011 @07:27PM (#35424856) Homepage
    Stop being silly. Perhaps after reading this, you will understand why it's simply retarded to even mention pi: []
    • I propose twoday today where we write down that specific constant as 2Pi.

    • I read that for like 10min before I realized I don't care.
      • Consider that you're probably not the kind of person who cares about pi anyway, and then realise you're not even the target audience.
    • by 517714 ( 762276 )
      It's not retarded, it's irrational.
    • I'm sure it's all accurate and such, but skimming down the page, I couldn't help but be reminded of TimeCube!

    • cool number bro

      (Yeah, going by C/r and 2*pi is nice and probably the better way but meh.)

    • That was funny. I was initially concerned that it was meant to be serious.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Of the long numbers, not just the irrational ones. That way you could include say, Avogadro's.

  • Perhaps March 14 should be given the public holiday for Pi.
  • Well if we are gonna be writing our congressman about adding Pi day as a holiday we should definitely write about Mole day! 10-23
    • I thought mole day [] was February 2. No wait, that's Hedgehog Day [].
    • Not a bad idea for a day but I'd suggest we're probably best off by agreeing on advocating just one day of constant celebration and focus our energy on that one, and I think Pi day is more likely to happen.

      Why Pi? It's simpler to grasp as a mathematical concept (remember- we're talking about lawyers here...), and it's taught at a rather early grade in geometry so we can use it to advance math and science education.

  • by gstrickler ( 920733 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2011 @07:34PM (#35424958)
    Ok, it's actually pi rounded to 31 decimals, played in the round.
  • I'm not saying it's as good as Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber or something

    And I am not saying this is news...when did slashdot become blogger...

  • PI sounds exactly like 3.

    Also, if I kick up the bass can I make is sound like e?

  • As good as Justin Bieber? Good god, the kid is a product of the music industry which is pushing it in very obnoxious ways.
  • It's definitely better than Justin Bieber.
  • I like pi.
    It's pretty cool

  • Who benefits from Federal holidays apart from Federal and maybe state employees?

    The rest of us don't get a day off.

    And Federal Holidays tend to be Mondayized anyway, to make it a long weekend. 3/14 may fall on a monday this year, but most of the time they wiuldn't have it observed on the right date.

  • There are any number of mathematical problems with his composition that an extremely picky person could point out.

    1. Since there are 8 notes in an octave, maybe he should have used a base 8 representation of PI rather than a base 10 representation

    2. Notes in a scale are logarithmically spaced, so maybe he should have used log(PI) represented in base 8.

    3. A full octave is a factor of 2 in frequency, so maybe he should have used log_2(PI) represented in base 8.

    4. The entire composition could be simplified

    • by Twinbee ( 767046 )

      Base 7 over 8 would be more suitable as the diatonic scale has 7 notes. You counted the first one twice (the octave), but they are the same note.

      But perhaps we should go the whole hog, and say base 12 to use the full chromatic scale.

  • The piece could use modulation, instead of sticking with C major, which renders it rather boring. The PI theme could be interpreted with respect to other modes as well (minor, for starters). More material could be generated by using additional manipulations of the PI theme. The canon idea worked out, as well as playing a parallel voice at a slower multiple of the tempo. That still leaves tricks like inversions and reversals. You could always "mine" PI for more notes, of course. The chosen theme doesn't alw

  • May I recommend the first track of David Stutz's Iolet: The Music of Anathem []
  • Correction: This is what pi sounds like in all states except Indiana. In Indiana [], pi sounds like a flatline...
  • I taught myself how to sing this to 200 digits in high school, which impressed no one. :) He stops right before the first 0, which I count as a rest when I sing it. I used this as an audition song for an a cappella group in college, and not surprisingly didn't get in. Switching up my repertoire to something less nerdy got me into another group.
  • Cool project though this may be, the summary was patently unnecessary - obvious troll (of the anti-mainstream and anti-RIAA types common on Slashdot) is obvious.

  • Cool project though this may be, summary seems to be a blatant troll of the anti-mainstream and specifically anti-RIAA attitude common on Slashdot.

  • it's a great way to get ready for Pi day which is tragically still not a federal holiday

    In Indiana they have it on the zeroth of March.

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