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Published on Aug 30, 2013
Happy Pi Day! This music was recently featured on NPR's "Engines of Our Ingenuity," produced by Andy Boyd at the University of Houston.
Algorithmic Chamber Jazz: "100 Seconds of Pi " is based on data derived from the digits of pi.
I consider this a collaboration - my intent was to allow pi to provide the core material and see just how *little* I could do to produce music that might pass for being entirely composed and performed by humans.
All pitches, durations, and dynamics in each of the six voices of the composition are derived from pi. I wanted the piece, in principle, to be able to continue forever without repeating previously played digits. Therefore, each of the 6 voices represents a simple multiple of pi: 1π, 2π, 3π, ..., 6π. Pitches are mapped to a major scale (plus two rests) in base 17. Rhythms are generated using a simple power-law and mapped in base 7. Note volumes are mapped in base 8.
The composition was generated using Mathematica. The voices were arranged and recorded in Logic Pro (I am documenting the algorithm and technique). The visualization was generated using the "Magnetosphere" plugin for iTunes, modified in real-time, and then edited in iMovie.