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Ghislain
03-06-2016, 08:05 PM
While playing with MS Excel’s random number generator I wondered if when put to music the numbers would reveal a pattern.

I created a virtual keyboard and the corresponding notes, then wondered what would happen if I gave each note a colour representation. I pinched a visual colour spectrum image from Google Images, not sure of the accuracy, and divided this into 88 parts, each part representing the corresponding key on the keyboard.

This can be seen in the video below along with a series of random numbers between 1 and 88 captured from an Excel Spreadsheet "=INT(RAND()*88+1)". You will see the colour spectrum followed by a red arrow. Where the arrow points, that colour is represented in the coloured side panels next to the keyboard.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7F_FzK5IHA

In the video below you will see the musical representation of the list of Excel generated numbers.

Note I only did 200 of the numbers as it took a long time and didn’t finish the list to the end.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ni4hR61Sbkk

Ghislain

zoas23
03-07-2016, 06:46 AM
Very interesting.

Some XX century composers have played a lot with the idea of "random music"... John Cage did it with I-Ching coins, Henry Cowell did it too (but with dices) and Karlheinz Stockhausen did it beyond the composition, but mostly forcing the players to play random notes.

They were not the first ones. Mozart had played with dices too... Whilst Abulafia had played a lot in the middle ages with Qabalah chants of sacred names under "random" permutations.

The most interesting one for me is John Cage.

The Marquis de Sade has an obsession: he wanted to imagine the most horrible crime, something so atrocious that no law would punish such act (because the laws prevent crimes which have been "imagined" before). His idea was to invent a crime that "transcended" our notion of "crime". He never managed to imagine such crime.

John Cage had the same obsession, but with music. In his books (if you like music, I certainly suggest his books, a marvelous writer) he discusses a lot his obsession of composing a piece that had no melody, an "atrocious" music that could no longer be accepted as music. He also discusses how his experiments failed and how his anti-music became music. How it was impossible for him to "transcend" music. Then again, his "failures" created some of the most interesting pieces of the XX century.

What's your idea with this experiment? Which one is the "aim" you are following?

Ghislain
03-07-2016, 07:16 AM
Zoas23, originally I wanted to see if there was a pattern in the random numbers as all computed random numbers are only pseudo random. I realise 200 notes is not enough to spot a pattern, but I'm sure a pattern exists.

Having created the random notes above I actually found I like listening to it, is that strange.

One of my curiosities is the fact that some notes sound good together while others sound awful, and I have always wondered why.

I am no musician and thus what I find curious others may find quite obvious.

Ghislain

Andro
03-07-2016, 07:46 AM
One of my curiosities is the fact that some notes sound good together while others sound awful.

That's the case with all music, even the most mainstream tones :)

Besides, Art is an Imitation of Life (http://youtu.be/0vqgdSsfqPs)... Or was it the other way around ? ? ?

zoas23
03-07-2016, 08:12 AM
Zoas23, originally I wanted to see if there was a pattern in the random numbers as all computed random numbers are only pseudo random. I realise 200 notes is not enough to spot a pattern, but I'm sure a pattern exists.

Having created the random notes above I actually found I like listening to it, is that strange.

One of my curiosities is the fact that some notes sound good together while others sound awful, and I have always wondered why.

I am no musician and thus what I find curious others may find quite obvious.

Ghislain

Yes, the "random" series created by computers are not truly random due to technical limitations.

I dispute the idea that you are "not a musician". You have composed a "random piece of music", making yourself a musician.

I mostly asked WHY you are doing it because I have some sort of fetish with randomness in art (and music)... and I always enjoy hearing the theories behind it.

There's a lot of beautiful creations in art and music that were created using random operations and random limitations.

The "game" between Order and Chaos in art is, for sure, fascinating.... and I hate the idea that everything is "alchemical", but in this case I'd say that there is something quite "alchemical" in your game that plays with Order and Chaos in the search of a pattern.

Ghislain
03-07-2016, 12:42 PM
That's the case with all music, even the most mainstream tones :)

Besides, Art is an Imitation of Life (http://youtu.be/0vqgdSsfqPs)... Or was it the other way around ? ? ?

Yes I wonder :)




I dispute the idea that you are "not a musician". You have composed a "random piece of music", making yourself a musician.



For me it was more of a mathematical operation than a musical composition :(

HERE (http://www.liutaiomottola.com/formulae/freqtab.htm) you can see ten octaves of notes and their respective frequencies. Why were those particular frequencies chosen when there are many more in between.

I was wondering if this is a cultural choice. Am I correct in saying that in Indian music the notes are different?

Ghislain

Kiorionis
03-07-2016, 02:19 PM
Am I correct in saying that in Indian music the notes are different?

Ghislain

I don't know how different they could be. But they do play them differently.

Have you read The Mysticism of Sound and Music by Hazrat Inayat Khan? He talks about the relationship between sounds, colours, and universal principles.

Ghislain
03-12-2016, 09:44 AM
I haven't heard of Hazrat Inayat Khan before Zoas23, but below is a piece written by him, you can definitely hear the Indian flavour.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3e9YnK2S-Y0

Not being musical, I am not sure where the difference lies.

Are they still using the same scale of frequencies that we use in the west?

Ghislain

zoas23
03-12-2016, 03:50 PM
Yes I wonder :)
For me it was more of a mathematical operation than a musical composition :(

HERE (http://www.liutaiomottola.com/formulae/freqtab.htm) you can see ten octaves of notes and their respective frequencies. Why were those particular frequencies chosen when there are many more in between. I was wondering if this is a cultural choice. Am I correct in saying that in Indian music the notes are different?
Ghislain

It is a cultural choice!

Our "notes" come mostly from Pythagoras (or his school)... he didn't create the frequency for each note, but mostly the mathematical relationship between notes using fractions. He had a single string instrument, whose English name I ignore, and he mostly created 7 notes using fractions (i.e, the sound of the "whole string" was one note, the sound he could make by pressing his finger at 1/2 of the sting was another note, the sound he could make pressing the last 1/4 of the string was another note and so on).

There's a lot about it in early neo-pythagorean texts.
One of my favorites is Philo of Alexandria, who said that the notes are ruled by the number four (he's not exactly "early", but I like his style).



XV. (47) This is the cause why the earth bore fruit and herbs before God proceeded to adorn the heaven. And next the heaven was embellished in the perfect number four, and if any one were to pronounce this number the origin and source of the all-perfect decade he would not err. For what the decade is in actuality, that the number four, as it seems, is in potentiality, at all events if the numerals from the unit to Four{3}{by addition, that is 1+2+3+4= 10.} are placed together in order, they will make ten, which is the limit of the number of immensity, around which the numbers wheel and turn as around a goal. (48) Moreover the number four also comprehends the principles of the harmonious concords in music, that in fours, and in fifths, and the diapason, and besides this the double diapason from which sounds the most perfect system of harmony is produced. For the ratio of the sounds in fourths is as four to three; and in fifths as three to two; and in the diapason that ratio is doubled: and in the double diapason it is increased fourfold, all which ratios the number four comprehends. At all events the first, or the epistritus, is the ratio of four to three; the second, or the hemiolius, is that of three to two: the twofold ratio is that of two to one, or four to two: and the fourfold ratio is that of four to one.

So it's very likely that there was not an "universal tuning" for "our" musical system, but just this system of mathematical ratios. The established tuning of each note came later and is more modern. Whilst the standard became tuning the La as 44 hz.... there's several musicians who tune their instruments using other frequencies, but still keep these ratios (i.e, a musician who used to do it was Daniel Ash of Bauhaus, but it's just one example).

... And, of course, Arnold Schoenberg tried to switch from a 7 notes system to a 12 notes system (though he simply used the semi-tones that already existed, it's not that he invented "new notes").

A composer who did invent "new notes" was Daphne Oram with her "Oramics" technique, which mostly involved using 35 mm film. The old 35 mm film, had a section for images and a section for sound. This sound was analog and visual (i.e, a "drawing" was created to reproduce the recorded sound and this sound was later re-translated to sound... the system was absolutely different than the system of the tapes).
So Daphne invented a composition method that involved drawing in those 35mm films, creating a sound language that moved beyond the "notes" (Then again, the same effect was already possible with instruments such as the theremis that does not use fixed notes, or some instruments that have no divisions between the notes -the violin, the cello, the trombone, etc... not with the typical guitar where the notes are already "divided").


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Oc0B6pkl4A

That's how it sounded... she worked beyond the notes, mostly with the continuum of sound rather than with divisions (notes). She began to do it in the early 60's.

As for your interest in sound patterns and colors, there's a long tradition that investigated the subject through abstract films mostly based on music.

One of the Pioneers was Oskar Fischinger, who mostly worked with papers! (and classical music):


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=they7m6YePo

Though earlier experiments existed in Russia:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXkEL-X3zXs

John Whitney:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbV7loKp69s

And, probably the best of them, Jordan Belson... whose films are sadly hard to find on the internet, except in pay-sites... I can't embed his video because it's on an unusual video-hosting site not supported by this forum (the videos I found on youtube were mostly bands who put their music and used the films of Belson to make their own ready-made video-clips).


http://vk.com/video-59292187_169443314

... but I think Belson was the greatest explorer of the relations between sound and visual patterns.

Last, but not least, you have the early ANS synth... a Russian machine that translated drawings into music without "notes" (i.e, the machine literally "played" drawings).
This link explains what the ANS was:
http://boingboing.net/2012/06/27/synth.html

This video shows the band Coil playing some drawings of their own with a Russian ANS machine (as to hear how it sounded):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nu2yp3PYdTQ

It's not "random music", but still interesting... drawings that become translated to music.

And, of course, you have the pioneers of Russian futurism who did stuff that still nowadays sounds futuristic.... Like Arseny Avraamov - Symphony Of Factory Sirens, which is from 1922.... and uses a factory as a musical instrument.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kq_7w9RHvpQ

Sorry for the long post, you have happened to touch one of my "fetishes" with your random music combined with images and... I really like this stuff!