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System: MusiNum

Authors

Description

MusiNum is a free sonification program which turns numbers into generative fractal music. Everybody can create unique royalty free music for his homepage within few minutes. Interesting for mathematicans and other people who like to play. Fractal concepts, self-similarity and a new kind of symmetry are audible now! Theory Sounds Compose Online Download Links Contact Music and mathematics always had a close relationship. Since Pythagoras it is known that tonal harmony is closely related to the numerical relation of the frequencies. In the last years a new field of science and mathematics boomed. Chaos, fractals and self-similarity are topics which caught public interest not at least because of the beautiful pictures which can be generated with them. Hardly anybody does not know the colorful psychedelic pictures of the Mandelbrot-set and even people never heard of complex numbers before bought mathematical books on this topics now. Experiments which tried to extend the beauty of the fractal-art-pictures to the acoustical sense sometimes gave interesting results but usually the sound is quite strange. I think this difficulty arises from the fact that chaos theory usually works with real numbers. But our traditional music is based on discrete frequencies and simple combinations of frequencies, and the mathematical discipline which is employed with the simple numbers is number-theory. Perhaps the most fundamental entities in mathematics are the natural numbers: 1,2,3,4,5... They are something universal: It is a hard thing to imagine a mind which would count in a different way. But the style we write them down can vary: The decimal system based on the digits 0-9 is by no way the only or natural method to present numbers. It has just been arbitrarily chosen some time ago in history. The simplest notation is the binary notation which only uses the digits 0 and 1. Computers always calculate in binary notation because it can be easily mapped to electrical devices: The presence of current means 1 and no current means 0.

“... and the hope of an extraordinary aesthetic success based on extraordinary technology is a cruel deceit.”

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“Music is then no longer primarily conceived as a guide for premeditated emotions, but as the density of the possible relationships which first become actuality during production under the influence of chance, and which during performance are presented to the listener as sounds beyond any environmental associatiations, independent of bodily actions required to produce sounds...”

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“... the use of numerical machines no longer stands in need of justification. It is not a mystery. If there is a mystery, it is in the mental structures of music and not in the computers, which are only tools, extensions of the hand and the slide rule.”

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“Composers are now able, as never before, to satisfy the dictates of that inner ear of the imagination. They are also lucky so far in not being hampered by esthetic codification -- at least not yet! But I am afraid it will not be long before some musical mortician begins embalming electronic music in rules.”

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“The characteristics of every sound depend on the way in which the sound was produced. Each art-form exploits its special production methods in order to endow the phenomena with unmistakable characteristics. Artistic economy demands that the means be appropriate to the end, and that the exploitation of the means be an end in itself.”

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“... but beware, technique can submerge the user: We must defend ourselves; it is good to use techniques, but we have to dominate them, to stay alert.”

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“... the individual and the society are deprived of the formidable power of free imagination that musical composition offers them. We are able to tear down this iron curtain, thanks to the technology of computers...”

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“The computing machine is a marvelous invention and seems almost superhuman. But in reality it is as limited as the mind of the individual who feeds it material. Like the computer, the machines we use for making music can only give back what we put into them.”

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“With the development of electronic and computer music, multidemnsionality of sound representation turned out to be both natural and useful. But music goes beyond multidimensionality -- it is even more complex.”

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“The danger is great of letting oneself be trapped by the tools and of becoming stuck in the sands of technology that has come like an intruder into the relatively calm waters of the thought in instrumental music.”

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“The use of computers is the logical outcome of a historical development. It by no means heralds a new musical epoch; it simply offers a fast, reliable and versatile means of solving problems that already demanded solution. The person who writes the computer programme must bear the development of musical language up to the present in mind, and try to advance a stage further.”

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