January 4, 2005 10:22 AM   Subscribe

Convert the first 10,000 numbers of pi into music. You pick the notes. [via coudal]
posted by btwillig (23 comments total)
this is neat
posted by kamylyon at 10:29 AM on January 4, 2005

This reminds me of Children Of God, by Mary Doria Russell, in which the climax of the book involves proof of god through a masterpiece of music derived from pi...
posted by Specklet at 10:40 AM on January 4, 2005 [1 favorite]

I am channeling the spirit of Scott Joplin, I kept hearing the first five notes of "The Entertainer"
posted by m@ at 10:41 AM on January 4, 2005

this is freaking awesome.
I think I chose too minor a selection of notes, though.

nice link, thanks!
posted by Busithoth at 10:46 AM on January 4, 2005

eh. So it plays back a selection of ten notes in a cheesy general MIDI-sounding piano?

I was kinda excited for a minute.
posted by xmutex at 10:50 AM on January 4, 2005

This wicked cool. My pi currently sounds like a tense foot chase in a crowd from some sort of caper movie. I picked mostly stuff from the bass clef. I'll prolly do it again and drop some of the sharps.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:50 AM on January 4, 2005

hey! great link but the music I just made sucked! I can try again right? Frequency of occurrence in case you want to know what you just played!
posted by carmina at 11:03 AM on January 4, 2005

Awesome. Thanks for the link.
posted by painquale at 11:19 AM on January 4, 2005

Excellent at first...became chaotic...then resolved quite well.

Then I stopped listening before it ended. (!)

After all, this program could give "Long-Playing" a new meaning.

Now if we could only set the duration of the notes....

Do we call this "Mothership Music?"
posted by Dunvegan at 11:22 AM on January 4, 2005

Awesome link. I tried the Am pentatonic hoping to get some Pearl Jam out of it. Wicked cool music playah!
posted by inviolable at 12:04 PM on January 4, 2005

Oy. My. Vey. This is Awksome! Thanks!
posted by mmahaffie at 12:10 PM on January 4, 2005

odinsdream, it doesn't work for the following reason: say you wanted to compress 100 bits of data. The distance you'd have to go in the binary expansion of pi to find that 100-bit pattern would be, on average, a number n of size about 2^100. The number of bits you need to record n is .... about 100. So no compression. (Also, there's no guarantee that every possible pattern actually appears in the digits of pi, but that's another story.)

As for the link: the algebraist Irving Kaplansky used the first 14 digits of pi, mapped to the standard scale, to make a rather enjoyable song. Apparently, his daughter Lucy sometimes performs it in concert.
posted by escabeche at 12:21 PM on January 4, 2005

If you pick an ascending contiguous sequence of black keys, it sounds kinda purty.
posted by pmbuko at 12:30 PM on January 4, 2005

Yes, but further out in the series, the notes begin to make sense and play in a rhythm ...almost as if there is a message .

Thanks for the link.
posted by fluffycreature at 12:38 PM on January 4, 2005

(corrected from above)
...almost as if there is a message.
posted by fluffycreature at 12:40 PM on January 4, 2005

There's this cool - but much less sophisticated - Java application somewhere that will read you the numbers of pi in a number of languages, including DTMF telephone tones. My google-fu is failing me though, and I can't find it in my bookmarks, and I'm pretty sure it's been posted here before.

Anyways. If you set the app to read Pi in DTMF and you hold your phone up to your speakers, it will dial numbers, assuming your phone system is compatible with DTMF encoded numbers. It seems that there are more phone numbers that are segments of Pi then not.

Yeah, I'm easily amused. I strongly recommend paying attention to what it's dialing, though, and trying to avoid letting it start with 1 or 011 or whatever your long distance uses as a prefix. I guess accidently dialing 911 or 999 is a possibility as well.
posted by loquacious at 12:46 PM on January 4, 2005

Thanks. Now I got pi stuck in my head.
posted by cosmonik at 1:50 PM on January 4, 2005

Wow, this is cool. I have this little neoBaroqueish thing playing now - wonder if you could get counterpoint by recording/mixing a number of attempts.
posted by casarkos at 2:41 PM on January 4, 2005

What if you used pi as the source for notes, but used e as the source for intervals?

*runs off to dabble in csound*
posted by squidlarkin at 3:38 PM on January 4, 2005

Actually, Specklet, the music at the end of the story was based on the human genome as well as the genomes of the two species of Rakhat - the Jana'ata and the Runa. < / book geek>

But yeah, this project reminded me of Children of God as well.
posted by ubersturm at 5:50 PM on January 4, 2005 [1 favorite]

Really great, thanks for the link. I agree that better sound quality than MIDI would improve it but it's still really cool, and very hypnotizing to listen to.
posted by livii at 7:49 PM on January 4, 2005

This is freakin' cool. I really wish there was an "infinite loop" mode so that I could play it whilst I sleep.
posted by afroblanca at 10:11 PM on January 4, 2005

specklet, ubersturm: the end of Carl Sagan's Contact (much better than the movie) features a pi-based proof of the existence of God. Which may be what you're thinking of.

Also, this is the coolest thing ever. Major scales are remarkably sonorous. Kinky things like diminished and whole-tone scales are dark and scary (predictably). My favorite are variations on major sevenths, especially sustained chords.

It's particularly fun to try to reverse-engineer songs, picking the right notes to make it play things.
posted by koeselitz at 9:03 AM on January 6, 2005 [1 favorite]

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