A melody experiment

I posted this melody experiment yesterday.  It’s something I’ve been wanting to try for a while; I’ll be very interested in the results.  Basically, the experiment consists of creating a melody by people voting for the next note.  I simplified it as much as I could; the rhythm, time signature, key, starting note, etc., are already determined, accompanying harmony is not being considered, and there are only 15 choices spanning two octaves; no accidentals.  There could of course be many more choices, and I’ll definitely be interested in exploring them in the future, but for this first try I wanted to make it as simple and direct as possible.  Such simplification will, I hope, also get the final melody written much sooner!

I don’t know whether the final melody will be strange and random, very generic, or perhaps pretty good; I am eager to find out!  It will have to sound like something after all.  I think it will get much more interesting a few more notes or bars into the melody, when the first notes begin to actually influence our expectations of what note should come next.  Oh yes, then it will be very interesting I think.  In fact, I considered going ahead and writing the first couple measures just to get to that point right off the bat, but then decided against it.  After all, maybe the beginning will be interesting too?

So, if you get a chance to visit this page and vote, I’d really be interested in everyone’s choices!

Stuff – WolframAlpha

Somebody on a forum mentioned this website: WolframAlpha (and this impressive video about it, maybe better to watch this first).  I really encourage all geeks to check it out, it’s a lot of fun to play around with.  Here’s a graph comparing the popularity of different spellings of my name, Sean, Shaun, and Shawn.  WolframAlpha created it by me typing “sean shawn shaun“.  One can see the popularity in the name sort of exploded in the 1970’s, and seems to be slowly becoming unpopular again, but is still quite popular right now.  (By the way, “Sean” is the correct spelling, the other ways are wrong!)

It has a huge wealth of info, and is (of course being from Wolfram) especially good at math questions.  I typed in “What is the 5000000th prime number?” and it told me: 86028121.  Of course!  I typed in “What is the 5000000th digit of pi?” and it told me: computation timed out.  Of course!  I typed in “What is the answer to life, the universe, and everything?” and it told me: 42.  I typed in “What is the derivative of 6x^x^x?” and it gave me some long equation.  I typed in “1, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 13, 19, 28, …” and it gave me a possible generating function for the sequence. I typed in “How old was Martin Gardner in 11/25/1985?” to find out Martin Gardner was 71 years old when I was born (and he’s still alive).

And all that’s just touching the surface.  So it’s fun to play around with.  Lots of stuff there, and it should improve with time.


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