Thursday, March 14, 2013

Piece of Pi

So, today is Pi Day, being 3-14, and more so, Palindromic Pi Day, being 3-14-13! That's certainly an interesting bit of memery (memeosity?), given that this special occasion was all but unheard before Y2K (remember Y2K?). My guess is that with the millennium, much more attention was paid to dates with interesting numerological qualities, like the recent 12/12/12, the last of its kind until the next century! 

Pi Day also reflects something of a technological mindset, that is a digital sensitivity brought about by the ubiquity of computers, smart devices, and internet connectivity, and the type of techie competence that makes this brave new world go round. Not that there's anything wrong with it, mind you!

But lest you think that it's all math and science and tech, and no art and music, please allow me to remind you that such separations are artificial, and did not exist in antiquity, certainly not among the old Greeks who gave Pi it's name, or rather initial (although ∏ wasn't actually assigned to the value until the 18th century). 

In fact, there are some folks who attempted to turn Pi into a musical composition. Here's one by Michael Blake:

Rather lovely, don't you think? By the way, here's a Pi Chart:

A rather amusing visual pun, don't you agree? And guaranteed to give you Pi strain, er, I mean eye strain.  Speaking of strain, let's trade an eye for an ear, but first, listen to what the composer of the piece I'm about to share, Carlos Manuel, writes about it over on YouTube:

There has been many attempts to make a conversion of the digits of Pi to musical notes, but I noticed that the methods used were pretty unrealistic. What they were doing was to convert the 10 digits of the decimal system in 10 notes, and then play them. Of course that doesn't make any sense because our musical notation has 12 notes! So I converted the digits of Pi to the duodecimal system (Base 12), and made a program to play it. Here are the results.

And here they are:

Quite the contrast with the previous piece of Pi, don't you agree? Did you listen to it in its entirety? Well, you might ask, what if you dialed Pi to a 1,000 places as a phone number, and added a bit of extra rhythm in the background? The results are not too bad:

And here's a rather interesting YouTube lecture combined with another take on Pi melodies by one Professor Philip Moriarity (no shoot, Sherlock!):

We may all be coded somewhere in Pi! What a conclusion! Now, here's a rather sweet version, with a synthesized, classical feel that I'd associated with Keith Emerson or Rick Wakeman of Yes:

 In the write-up, the composer suggests that, because Pi existed before the human race evolved, and for that matter before life itself originated, this is the oldest song that you might ever hear!  Whether you believe that or not, one thing is for sure, that Pi music can take many forms:

Well, this is just a sampling of the many versions of musical Pi that are out there. But how about something from the movie Pi. No not, Life of Pi, but the 1998 film written and directed by Darren Aronofsky. Here's the trailer:

Now, there's some media and formal cause for ya (note the plug for the book by Marshall and Eric McLuhan, easily ordered from the box over on the right). So anyway, I hope you had a happy Pi Day!

And what's left to say, but...  3.141592653589793238462643383279 5028841971 6939937510 5820974944 5923078164 0628620899 8628034825 3421170679 8214808651 3282306647 0938446095 5058223172 5359408128 4811174502 8410270193 8521105559 6446229489 5493038196 4428810975 6659334461 2847564823 3786783165 2712019091 4564856692 3460348610 4543266482 1339360726 0249141273 7245870066 0631558817 4881520920 9628292540 9171536436 7892590360 0113305305 4882046652 1384146951 9415116094 3305727036 5759591953 0921861173 8193261179 3105118548 0744623799 6274956735 1885752724 8912279381 8301194912 9833673362 4406566430 8602139494 6395224737 1907021798 6094370277 0539217176 2931767523 8467481846 7669405132 0005681271 4526356082 7785771342 7577896091 7363717872 1468440901 2249534301 4654958537 1050792279 6892589235 4201995611 2129021960 8640344181 5981362977 4771309960 5187072113 4999999837 2978049951 0597317328 1609631859 5024459455 3469083026 4252230825 3344685035 2619311881 7101000313 7838752886 5875332083 8142061717 7669147303 5982534904 2875546873 1159562863 8823537875 9375195778 1857780532 1712268066 1300192787 6611195909 2164201989 

et cetera...

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