November 12, 2014

A Musical Interpretation of Pi. {Video}


I’ve never been a fan of math. My distaste began around 4th or 5th grade—whenever it was that long division was introduced.

However, while I have always preferred the arts (writing and music and such), I cannot deny that math does have a place in a creative circle.

Speaking of circles—remember pi? Pi has been represented by the Greek letter “π” and you may recall learning about it in geometry or trig class.

Mathematics review time:

Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. It is an irrational number—approximately 3.14159 and its decimal representation never ends. Additionally, pi never settles into a permanent repeating pattern.

Trippy, right?

So why the hell are we thinking about this crazy number right now?

Because folks, someone has taken this infinite, irrational number and created something beautiful with it.

A musician named Michael Blake has interpreted pi to 31 decimal places.

How does one make music out of math? Mr. Blake assigned a number to each musical note and created a composition by playing out the numerical digits of pi. (A brief explanation of the numerical assignment is given at the start of the video below.)

Check out this video to hear what pi sounds like.

Music created by math. And it’s beautiful.


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Author: Yoli Ramazzina

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Pankaj Jyoti Mahanta

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