Musician Creates a Million-Hour Song Based On the Number Pi

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Now, for Pi
Day (March 14), music software programmer Canton Becker has crafted
a million-hour song based on Pi that unfolds generatively on a
virtual tape deck. Titled “Shepard’s Pi,” the song combines two of
Becker’s favorite infinities: Pi, and an auditory illusion called a
Shepard tone, which he describes as an “unsettling sonic illusion
of a pitch that climbs or descends forever, never reaching a top or
a bottom.” Found at PiSongs.com, users can tune into “Shepard’s Pi”
in real time with a custom virtual tape deck. The track itself
evolves moment to moment, but the synthesized and sampled tones
will be familiar to anyone who has ever listened to the electronic
music of Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Aphex Twin, and Global
Communication. Far from being a mere gimmick, it is a highly
evocative and transporting piece of electronic music, alternately
ambient, glitchy, and interestingly rhythmic. The 58,999 GB MP3
file needed to be distributed via a webpage or app, so Becker
“started hacking away at the basic algorithm in the programming
languages PHP and Javascript,” reports Motherboard. “In between
coding marathons, Becker composed and recorded the loops and
samples that would form the basis of the song. He experimented with
sounds that would work well together regardless of being stacked
one upon the other.” “When users hit ‘play’ on the virtual tape
deck, the algorithm actually ‘performs’ the piece,” the report
says. “This way, the 114-year song can fit in just one gigabyte of
space, which is mostly comprised of the digits of Pi. The virtual
tape deck was also a solution to a built-in quirk of browsers such
as Chrome, Safari, and Firefox — users must click on a webpage to
trigger a sound.” From start to finish, the song lasts 999,999
hours, “a limitation imposed by only considering the first one
billion digits of Pi.”


Read more of this story
at Slashdot.

Source: *FS – All – Science News 2 Net
Musician Creates a Million-Hour Song Based On the Number Pi