Quantum music

Thursday, 16 April 2015
It is not surprising that I was interested in this article in MIT Technology Review. Those who usually read this blog are used to my posts about arts related to science. With a particular interest in music. 

So, this work, by Karl Svozil, a theoretical physicist at the University of Technology in Vienna and his pal Volkmar Putz, got my attention. Basically, each note in a composition would have a probability of being heard, depending on the person who listens to it, and the time they listen to it. 

The music itself would be written with probabilities for each note, and, supposedly, it would be played all together, but each person would have a different experience about it. 

Don’t be surprised by science influencing music. From the beginning of music, it was closely connected to mathematics. And modern science has inspired compositors such as Xenakis. 

I am not sure how this kind of composition could be performed in the raw way it is described, but I thought it would be easy enough to create a computer program that would simulate it. 

I used Ken Schutte’s programs to make one myself with notes with different probabilities in each step. Here you have the program, and here you have one of the realisations of it.

I hope you enjoy the experience.

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