Sunday, 28 January 2007

Mapping Music?


I've been reading about Dmitri Tymoczko's work to mathematically map and represent music. Apparently, by "using non-Euclidean geometry and a complex figure, borrowed from string theory, called an orbifold (which can have from two to an infinite number of dimensions, depending on the number of notes being played at once), Tymoczko’s system shows how chords that are generally pleasing to the ear appear in locations close to one another, clustered close to the orbifold’s center. Sounds that the ear identifies as dissonant appear as outliers, closer to the edges."

Sheesh...

This system can identify music that should appeal to the human ear and flag stuff that does not. Whilst undoubtebly clever, I can't help feeling that this is a blunt instrument to evaluate the quality of what is essentially art.

Some music may well conform to mathematical norms, but surely its as much about the ideas and metaphor that surround it?

I find myself drawn to music that's atonal these days. Quite why I'm not sure. I'd like to see how it would look in Dimitri's model.

Here's a last.fm list of my top ten bands / artists at the moment. Make of it what you will;

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