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And the secret message was not "remember to drink your Ovaltine"
February 14, 2012 10:50 PM   Subscribe

An upstate NY man claims he has "decoded music". Using a decoder ring. And music authorities seem to agree. *Eastman School of Music, at 1:55 in the video
posted by Jesse Hughson (89 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite

 
After the immediately preceding posts about David Lee Roth and Phil Collins, I don't think I want to see it decoded...
posted by evilmidnightbomberwhatbombsatmidnight at 11:01 PM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


did he just invent the circle of fifths?
posted by grizzly at 11:01 PM on February 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


After the immediately preceding posts about David Lee Roth and Phil Collins, I don't think I want to see it decoded...

Hellraiser: The Musical!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:03 PM on February 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Not just fifths, there's a ring for each chord structure. Also, relationships between moon phases and seasons and, umm, playing card suits? (if I can read the little notes in the video quick enough...)
posted by Jesse Hughson at 11:05 PM on February 14, 2012


It seems pretty fucking cool to me that this guy seems to have made a giant mandala map out of musical relationships. I dunno if he's the first, but I haven't seen the way he's visualizing it before, and I wanna see more of it.
posted by cmoj at 11:07 PM on February 14, 2012 [12 favorites]


"Only 24 hours in a day
Only 12 notes a man can play"

Indeed.
posted by Sphinx at 11:08 PM on February 14, 2012


The guy's passion is awesome, and those diagrams are dang impressive. I just wish I understood music well enough to know whether he was actually making it easier to understand music!
posted by darkstar at 11:10 PM on February 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


He hasn't invented shit.

He just made a colourful board that might make teaching easier, which of course is a good thing but
putting shit in a circle isn't new.

I have a book that's a good 8 years old a very similar concept.

Or am I missing something?
posted by Zemoth at 11:19 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


tl;dr

Did he decode Merzbow too?
posted by b1tr0t at 11:19 PM on February 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


@Zemoth - you said it. he made a teaching aid that simply breaks down every possible chord onto a single plastic reference card smaller than a sushi menu. If anyone's seen something that efficient elsewhere, please chime in!
posted by Jesse Hughson at 11:30 PM on February 14, 2012


Be sure to drink your Ovaltine

I think I am using the wrong decoder ring...
posted by littlesq at 11:32 PM on February 14, 2012


Oh yeah.
posted by Jesse Hughson at 11:35 PM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


If anyone's seen something that efficient elsewhere, please chime in!
The Chord Wheel: The Ultimate Tool for All Musicians

What do I win?
posted by b1tr0t at 11:36 PM on February 14, 2012 [9 favorites]


Ovaltine!
posted by Jesse Hughson at 11:38 PM on February 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, there might be more to what he's doing here (I don't really see what he's doing with the flipbooks, for instance) but the wheels seem like simply a good way to visualize things which were already understood (which in itself is certainly not bad.)
posted by Navelgazer at 11:46 PM on February 14, 2012


Umm, with that head motion the guy in the video reminds me of Katherine Hepburn? Essential tremor??
posted by bert2368 at 11:51 PM on February 14, 2012


Before I looked at the video I thought this was going to be about rings as in actual rings that you wear on your fingers. With, I don't know, coloured lights or something. Disappointed.
posted by Wantok at 11:52 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: Putting shit in a circle isn't new.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:53 PM on February 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


After all, it’s Willoughby’s life’s work to explain to anyone how this prop represents the entirety of possibilities in music.

Who? I've never heard of....lemme look...awww FUCK! Back to the drawing board.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:57 PM on February 14, 2012


Haha, I love how he doesn't play the guitar after inserting that chart, because he knows it's going to sound terrible.
posted by spiderskull at 12:10 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah I took a music theory class once (literally Music 101) and they used circles. So I doubt this is 'revolutionary'
posted by delmoi at 12:53 AM on February 15, 2012


You're right delmoi, this guy is marketing the equivalent of the "alphabet chart" as a revolution in music teaching. He even uses "Ti" as the penultimate syllable for solfége in his system. He should know that any beginning student of solfége learns "Si" as the penultimate syllable. "Ti" is outmoded and relegated to "The Sound Of Music". Plus, he shakes his head too much.
posted by ReeMonster at 1:00 AM on February 15, 2012


Yeah, this is all pretty basic high school level music theory. He hasn't 'decoded music'. He definitely hasn't replaced "time consuming" music lessons, as he claims in the video. He's just produced a particularly good set of teaching aides. It's a pity he's presenting them in such a boneheaded way, because they actually look quite useful for anyone studying music theory.
posted by embrangled at 1:00 AM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Music teaching systems are a dime-a-dozen, and the circular (really, spiral) structure of music has been understood since at least ancient Greece. He hasn't "decoded" anything - this is all first year music theory ("step-step-half-step..."). This has all the signs of a crank:

1. The idea came to him in a dream, and
2. he "invented" things people already know,
3. thinking they are the first person in the world to realize these things,
4. name-dropping authority figures (Eastman musician), and
5. hawking your ideas on the street to random people rather than in professional circles.

No trained musician will find any of this new.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 1:01 AM on February 15, 2012 [16 favorites]


name-dropping authority figures (Eastman musician)

Hahaha.... Eastman is the best "state school" for music education on the east coast

Juilliard FTW
posted by ReeMonster at 1:05 AM on February 15, 2012


Aaaargh keep me away from these music time cube posts they drive me crazy
posted by speicus at 1:10 AM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


sorry for the knee-jerk ethnomusicological reaction, but based on what I've read here, he's decoded (Western "common practice era" tonal) music. Possibly useful for certain pedagogical goals, but hardly the explanation of "all musical possibilities."
posted by LMGM at 1:20 AM on February 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


OK I'm sorry to troll on this but here:

Music is such a universal good, people step up and claim to be experts when they really don't know the basics. It's not as easy to get away with this in other fields. For example, I would not step into a room full of scientists and say, "Hey I just decoded how species develop! The best species are carried over and the others die out..." Sure, that's evolution. Duh.

With this guy, it's "Sure, that's the circle of fifths." Duh. That's how musicians see it.
posted by ReeMonster at 1:22 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


If he had truly 'decoded' anything of interest then this video would surely shock an amateur musician (such as myself) with its amazing insights into the structure of chords and music. Instead, I'm just a bit dumbfounded how this guy ended up on the news.

Did they not even consult some friend who, say, plays guitar? I've seen similar wheels and diagrams for chords / scales since I was in high school 20 years ago - and they were not new then.
posted by mary8nne at 2:38 AM on February 15, 2012


I liked the bit where he shouts (off camera) "MOZART! TWO MINUTES!"

My guess is that even if he has decoded Western tonal music with this sort of caffeinated circle of fifths approach, he'd still be a way from explaining 'all musical possibilities'.

I think to do that he'll need to tackle the problems of equal temperament, and the fact that piano keyboards and guitar fretboards rely on various microtonally tweaked sequences of notes, differing from the mathematical sequence that you get when you start halving a string's length like Pythagorus. The tweaked sequence and the resulting harmonic puzzles are part of what gives music its texture and colourings does anyone agree or have I got that wrong...?

Please, can we stop with the "Wow, we figured out how music works!" posts?

I think it's interesting that when you look at what a huge industry music represents, and how many people care so passionately about it, there is very little informative discussion about how it works in the mainstream. Flicking through a magazine like New Musical Express, the articles rarely mention anything to do with what actually goes into your ears - in any kind of vocabulary.

By contrast, book and film reviews even in newspapers are happy to talk about things like direction, cinematography or character development, for example, using quite academic concepts and applying them to a cultural artifact. Why not music?

So when someone does give us a few musical concepts to do with how things that meet your ears can be analysed, and it's expressed through a partly fresh and partly familiar vocabulary, amateurs like me get to feel a tickle in the brain that we don't usually experience.

Maybe that's part of what this guy is onto, in a way.
posted by colie at 2:50 AM on February 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


WAMC did a report on their midday magazine about this guy a week or so ago, and I was reminded again of how much journalism sucks these days. The reporter, I imagined, had a dead line and no story, and was accosted by this street crazy - oh thank goodness a story!
posted by Abinadab at 4:11 AM on February 15, 2012


"Ti" is outmoded and relegated to "The Sound Of Music".

How did this happen?
posted by thelonius at 4:33 AM on February 15, 2012


a new twist on "re-inventing the wheel"
posted by j03 at 4:36 AM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd like someone to explain just intonation to him and then watch his head explode.
posted by unSane at 5:03 AM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


If nothing else this guy has followed an intuitive idea about the structure of music, mapping it out on note cards and poster boards. That alone is pretty awesome. The video in the last link shows just a few glimpses of what the guy has been working on, suggesting that there's a lot more to be seen. So threat-shitters be gone please, and maybe we can cultivate a bit of optimism about human potential and stuff like that.
posted by jwhite1979 at 5:18 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a musician and a music scholar, let me contradict my esteemed colleagues at Eastman.

This shit is nuts.
posted by spitbull at 5:30 AM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


So threat-shitters be gone please

Thread-shitters? You mean, musically-informed people who note that this guy is taking credit for inventing some ideas in music theory, and trying to monetize it by taking advantage of people who don't know better? People who know about a topic have a right to call bullshit in Metafilter threads.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 5:35 AM on February 15, 2012 [15 favorites]


maybe we can cultivate a bit of optimism about human potential and stuff like that

It's the grandiloquent claim to have decoded all of music that lays him open to this.

It's a bit like saying you've decoded all of math because you've mastered the positive integers.
posted by unSane at 5:36 AM on February 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


(For example, treating the tonal series as a circle rather than a spiral completely ignores the fact that different inversions sound different. C1-E1-G1 sounds different to E1-G1-C2).
posted by unSane at 5:38 AM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Nine years later, he's copyrighted the chord-teacher method" - The announcer seems to regard a copyright and a patent as the same thing. A few point should be made: 1) a method can't be copyrighted; a physical representation of that method can. 2) It's not up to him to decide whether the thing is copyrighted or not; it's up to a judge in the event of a copyright infringement claim. 3) Every original recorded iteration (by "iteration" I mean some kind of expression of x) that's longer than a sentence is, technically, copyrighted automatically. This comment is, I believe, copyrighted (although metafilter might hold certain rights to it).
posted by outlandishmarxist at 5:43 AM on February 15, 2012


People who know about a topic have a right to call bullshit in Metafilter threads.

I consider myself a musically informed person, and I'm left wondering what's actually on those flip-books and on the big poster board. Clearly the people reporting on this guy were more interested in him as a person than in his work, evidenced by the fact that very little of his project was explored on camera. Sure, he could be a crank. But maybe not. Although there's too little to go on to declare this guy a genius, he might be. The dials that he came up with suggest a healthy ingenuity, and he clearly believes enough in his idea to stand out on the street making a fool of himself.

I'm not especially credulous, but I don't believe in mocking people for having ideas and being enthusiastic--even grandiose--when describing them.
posted by jwhite1979 at 5:50 AM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I mean really, Shakespeare essentially stole Hamlet from Thomas Kydd and a series of other playwrights. I imagine there was no shortage of dicks on hand to point out this fact in 1603.
posted by jwhite1979 at 5:57 AM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you're comparing dude to Shakespeare you're doing it wrong.
posted by unSane at 6:03 AM on February 15, 2012


Doesn't look like the circle of fifths to me. Look at the closeup at about 50 seconds in the commercial. He has discovered amazing facts like "a major chord has a note, another four half steps higher, and another three more half steps higher, regardless of what key the major chord is in!"
posted by Flunkie at 6:05 AM on February 15, 2012


Bit like discovering red green and blue are additive colours and selling a flashlight and some filters to the naif.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:29 AM on February 15, 2012


I mean really, Shakespeare essentially stole Hamlet from Thomas Kydd and a series of other playwrights.

Okay, in the same way that John Coltrane "stole" My Favorite Things.
posted by swift at 6:35 AM on February 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


Shakespeare essentially stole Hamlet from Thomas Kydd and a series of other playwrights.

It wasn't theft. More of an indefinite loan, really.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:42 AM on February 15, 2012


Doesn't look like the circle of fifths to me. Look at the closeup at about 50 seconds in the commercial. He has discovered amazing facts like "a major chord has a note, another four half steps higher, and another three more half steps higher, regardless of what key the major chord is in!"

Exactly. He basically "invented" barre chords.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:44 AM on February 15, 2012


What goes on in Upstate NY?
posted by Mister_A at 6:44 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


(unless, as I mentioned above, there's more to what he's doing than what we see on the video, but that would be casting apsersions on local news journalism.)
posted by Navelgazer at 6:46 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's awesome. I am going to buy one of these.
posted by koeselitz at 6:47 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was excited to read about this, then I clicked and was sad.
posted by saucygit at 6:48 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Philosopher Dirtbike: "Thread-shitters? You mean, musically-informed people who note that this guy is taking credit for inventing some ideas in music theory, and trying to monetize it by taking advantage of people who don't know better? People who know about a topic have a right to call bullshit in Metafilter threads."

Eh. Look, there are jazzheads who say the same crap about Jamie Aebersold tapes, and yet those tapes have helped thousands of professionals stay in top form. Learning chord-forms is pretty essential to learning to play the piano, and this guy came up with a neat little way to do it. He didn't claim to have invented music or something. Why the hate?

There is nothing wrong with neat little inventions that help people learn music.
posted by koeselitz at 6:52 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Music is such a universal good, people step up and claim to be experts when they really don't know the basics. It's not as easy to get away with this in other fields.

Tell that to a graphic designer.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:55 AM on February 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


There is nothing wrong with neat little inventions that help people learn music.

I agree. His neat little chord spinner things are cool and I can tell my 12 year old would 'get' the whole thing instantly from them. However...

"I’ve discovered mathematically how music harmony all works.”

... is the kind of statement that raises hackles, rightly so.
posted by unSane at 7:02 AM on February 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


Bjork has a strange voice, she is amazing!
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:06 AM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hahaha.... Eastman is the best "state school" for music education on the east coast

Juilliard FTW


The Eastman School of Music is part of the University of Rochester and it's not a state school.
posted by Jahaza at 7:09 AM on February 15, 2012


Bad presentation, dubious backstory, cool product!
posted by SharkParty at 7:21 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also that shit is Western NY. They even have different accents there.
posted by SharkParty at 7:21 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I bet he'd raise a lot of money if he put this on Lickstarter.
posted by ericbop at 7:22 AM on February 15, 2012


Music is such a universal good, people step up and claim to be experts when they really don't know the basics. It's not as easy to get away with this in other fields.

ChurchHatesTucker: Tell that to a graphic designer.

Economist, politician, social scientist, evolutionary scientist, climatolagist, lawyer, ...

(Not that their jobs perform universal good.)
posted by IAmBroom at 7:26 AM on February 15, 2012


Learning chord-forms is pretty essential to learning to play the piano, and this guy came up with a neat little way to do it. He didn't claim to have invented music or something. Why the hate?
Eh. The device itself may be marginally useful to some people for some short time. But if he "didn't claim to have invented music or something", he sure came close.

Even his less grandiose statements like "Music lessons are expensive" are borderline false advertising - this thing won't replace music lessons in any meaningful way. But it gets far, far worse from there.

"I’ve discovered mathematically how music harmony all works." I guess that's strictly speaking true (caveats about "all" aside), but this is stuff that children are taught, and that if they weren't explicitly taught, they'd eventually figure out on their own (if they kept playing).

"I skipped math class in high school back in the 1970s. Math thrills me now" - when I hear that, in this context, I'm hoping "this guy has discovered something fundamental about how waveforms in chords relate to each other (beyond what has been known about that for thousands of years or possibly more)." Turns out what he apparently means by "math" is "counting", as in "counting the number of half steps".

And finally, the man is comparing himself to people like Archimedes, Brahms, and Einstein.

He's created a potentially somewhat useful physical device showing commonly known information. That's fine. But it doesn't make him Archimedes.
posted by Flunkie at 7:30 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a lot of people have noted, this isn't anything special music theory wise. He hasn't invented or explained anything in a new way. Music is mathematical, at least in the way it is conceived in Western harmony, and people have been analyzing it for patterns for centuries.

Also, his history is dubious - the harmony he describes in his charts/wheel wasn't codified until 17th century with the widespread adoption of equal temperament. He describes it as being from the 1200's - a time in history when he would have been burned at the stake for playing some of the chords he describes in his wheel.

Is there anybody who knows music education/pedagogy who can chime in about the merits of this as a teaching device?
posted by baniak at 7:47 AM on February 15, 2012


I agree that the dude hasn't decoded anything, from what I can see in these videos.

But I personally would like to see more guys on street corners with battery-powered pianos grabbing random strangers to tell them a bit about how music hangs together.

Apart from him giving people a few music theory basics and a vocabulary at least, he also reminded me of the different ways people learn about music performance within our culture. I had formal classical piano tuition as a kid, then as a young teen learned guitar (rock and roll and all that stuff), and the two ways of acquiring knowledge about the structure of music could not have been more different. I imagine lots of people have experienced something similar. With classical piano it was all about a canon of works (all by dead white European males of course) and the application of scales and motor practice, and notation was the basis of all your acquisition of knowledge. But the guitar was something you had to pick up with much more emphasis on using your ears, getting a friend to show you a chord and understanding it as a shape, or getting close to the speakers to try and work out a solo or whatever.

I'm not saying one learning style is right or wrong or better; it's just an interesting example of something in music that might operate a bit like 'outsider art' does within the visual arts. People who have not gone through a socially sanctioned institutionalising process with their music learning miss out on a lot - and could acquire perhaps all of it a lot more efficiently at 'Music Theory 101' - but because of the unique learning strategies they've devised on the hoof for themselves, they also sometimes produce fantastic, bonkers stuff like Strawberry Fields Forever or something.

In this sense the guy's basically a performance artist himself.
posted by colie at 7:53 AM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm on a slow connection here, so I can't see exactly what he's discovered, but from the article and the comments, it appears to be some kind of wheel showing chord relationships. This is hardly new and hardly a universal theory of harmony. Also he's only talking about tempered western functional harmony. As others have said, similar things have been around a long time. What is more interesting is that he seems to have figured out that the tonal system is a dynamic system. Good for him, that means he gets the fundamental premise. As far as a coherent theory of how it all works, this is great (not that it claims to be a "solution", just an interesting way of looking at it.)
posted by ob at 7:55 AM on February 15, 2012


ReeMonster: “Hahaha.... Eastman is the best "state school" for music education on the east coast ... Juilliard FTW”

You misspelled "Berklee"
posted by koeselitz at 7:58 AM on February 15, 2012


I teach music. Visuals usually hurt children more than they help. First, you hear and feel the music; then you become attuned to the presence of a certain pattern or form; then, you represent that form with gestures and verbal associations; then you use those to keep yourself playing well; lastly, you look at a picture (sheet music in some form is best) that shows you that pattern or form and, ideally, reveals a new insight. Get those steps out of order and you'll make a mess of things (I've done it).

You wouldn't teach students to read or write by showing them some mystical holographic emanation of how vowels relate to consonants or the strictures of universal grammar. First, you'd want them to learn to speak, then you'd give their speech a little form, then you'd start putting that form into letters and words. So it is with music.
posted by argybarg at 7:59 AM on February 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Okay, in the same way that John Coltrane "stole" My Favorite Things.
That was precisely my point. :)
posted by jwhite1979 at 8:01 AM on February 15, 2012


Why the hate? There is nothing wrong with neat little inventions that help people learn music.

The FPP claims that "music authorities" agree that he has "decoded music". The videos show that he believes this. There's more going on here than a "neat little invention."
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 8:07 AM on February 15, 2012


Clearly the people reporting on this guy were more interested in him as a person than in his work

Which is as it should be. Feeling you've discovered something is as easy as taking a drug. But then you come down. This guy discovered how not to come down.
posted by Obscure Reference at 8:13 AM on February 15, 2012


Metafilter: John Coltrane stole my favorite things.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:23 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


The contrast is interesting. In my experience, when people come up with insane theories of how Physics or Mathematics works, scientists find it hilarious. Based on this thread, when a crank enters musicians' domain, the musicians get really really angry.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:26 AM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


No, we also find it hilarious.
posted by Aquaman at 8:44 AM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


The contrast is interesting. In my experience, when people come up with insane theories of how Physics or Mathematics works, scientists find it hilarious. Based on this thread, when a crank enters musicians' domain, the musicians get really really angry.

I'm thinking it's because, quite often, musical mastery leads to adoring fans and sex. Science knowledge, not so much.
posted by aught at 8:49 AM on February 15, 2012


The contrast is interesting. In my experience, when people come up with insane theories of how Physics or Mathematics works, scientists find it hilarious. Based on this thread, when a crank enters musicians' domain, the musicians get really really angry.
It's not really the same thing as the typical math/science crank, who (in my experience) typically will produce a huge "proof", full of pseudo-mathematical terms, handwaving, and meaningless gibberish to reach a conclusion that is known by mathematicians to be false.

There's nothing insane about the guy's theory. It's more analogous to "I have discovered that if you add negative five to a number, you get the same result as if you had subtracted five from that same number!". Perfectly true, but nothing new, and in fact very basic.

Followed by "History will remember me as the Archimedes of my time!".
posted by Flunkie at 8:52 AM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, this dude has been getting a fair amount of press in local papers, tv stations, and radio here in upstate NY in recent months (I've seen a half-dozen spots or articles about him). Part of his method must be a way of generating large quantities of press releases via musical notation.
posted by aught at 8:53 AM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


In my experience, when people come up with insane theories of how Physics or Mathematics works, scientists find it hilarious.

Depends on the crankery, and the who's doing the anti-cranking. Head over to "Good Math, Bad Math" for the occasional angry rant at math and science cranks. I love Cantor cranks.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 9:05 AM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Flunkie has it exactly right. This guy's info isn't wrong.. but it's not groundbreaking or new either.

It's like claiming that you found a new way to find books in the library because you "decoded" the decimal numbers on the spines.
posted by j03 at 9:07 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


It says that he's using math. Pity that the math isn't shown.

Then again, based on the hours per day, etc etc...

Who knows. :) Looks interesting, but how much documentation does the thing come with? I want to know the theory behind it.
posted by Vamier at 9:39 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Music is much more than just... knowing chord names. And (probably for most musicians) if you any degree of synthesthesia or sensitivity to colors, you would find his coloring assignments quite jarring.
posted by polymodus at 9:58 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


If anyone's seen something that efficient elsewhere, please chime in!
The Chord Wheel: The Ultimate Tool for All Musicians


I dunno... I mean, the ultimate tool?!?! I call shenanigans!

*makes angry face*
posted by 2N2222 at 10:10 AM on February 15, 2012


Troy Barnes: "What about you, Pierce? I mean, your generation invented music."
Pierce Hawthorne: "Well, I wouldn't say invented. Perfected, maybe."
posted by speicus at 10:26 AM on February 15, 2012


Besides, putting shit in a donut is way better than putting shit in a circle.
posted by speicus at 10:45 AM on February 15, 2012


If he laid this out on a mobius strip, he could show two octaves without adding any extra bloat!
posted by Jesse Hughson at 10:49 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


“He [told me], ‘Andy by the time you’re really famous, you’ll be dead for 200 years’. So all week long I thought he was probably right,” Willoughby says. “I saw him the following week and said, ‘Well, let’s look at some other people in history, like Archimedes, Pythagoras, Newton, Einstein, Bach, Brahms, Elvis Presley - [they] are a lot more famous now than they were when they were alive’.”

Sampling bias...?

I admire his enthusiasm but wish he would not stop people in the middle of the street. That's the difference between an enthusiastic amateur and a crank.
posted by yaymukund at 11:34 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


The mandala thing seems neat to me in that timecube kind of way, but it's not revolutionary unless you spin it. If you're trying to actually learn basic music theory, the irrelevant crackpot details are probably not helping. As for putting shit in circles, Coltrane was way ahead of this guy (I'm pretty sure I got that link from Mefi at some point).
posted by ikalliom at 11:53 AM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just so I understand: the way he's set it up, if he took his mandala wheel and etched grooves on it, and then placed a sharp needle against it so those grooves would transmit vibrations to the needle, and the needle were somehow hooked up to a ldevice so that it would make sounds based on the frequency of the vibrations, then it would sound something like this?
posted by darkstar at 1:16 PM on February 15, 2012


Sorry. So very, very sorry.
posted by darkstar at 1:16 PM on February 15, 2012


Just keep tweaking the 00xx effect until it sounds alright. Then maybe take the next 16 ticks and add a few semi tones. Rinse, repeat, add 4x4 bass drum, music.
posted by jonbro at 11:25 AM on February 18, 2012


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