Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Reply to comment

samkaplan's picture

Emergent Music And Douglas Adams

I've been listening to a lot of 20th century classical music lately, which all of a sudden gave me this idea: can emergent systems be used to compose—or, less controversially, produce—music? (People like John Cage have in the past exploited randomness and chance to "compose" music.)

Obviously, the answer to this question is yes, supposing that we define music simply as organized sound. But what if, for example, you rigged up Langston's Ant so that every step the ant made was linked to a specific note?—or something like that

This idea also reminded me of Douglast Adams' book "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency." More specifically, one of the characters, Gordon Way, gets rich by writing a program that produces music based on a company's financial statements, which is a pretty wild idea.

On the subject of Douglas Adams, it would seem that the Dirk Gently detective novels have much in common with Emergence. For example, Dirk Gently solves his cases based on his belief in "the fundamental interconnectedness of everything."

In conclusion, I will endeavor to somehow modify Langston's ant to produce music—if this is even possible. I think it will be very interesting to hear the exact point when pattern arises out of chaos.


To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
7 + 0 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.