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Play It Again, Sam

The resource review for this week provides "sonified" versions of pi, e, Euler's Magic 5 equation, etc. But suppose you want to compose your own music for your own special numbers?

Jonathan Middleton's website MusicalAlgorithms is the place to go. Middleton, a music professor at Eastern Washington University (and a good guy!), has created interactive software that lets you, the user, have a unique learning experience, even if you have no musical knowledge. And, those of you who "know" the principles of music composition, will be able to explore "algorithmic composition, while others can create musical representations of models for the purpose of aural interpretation and analysis."

Again, whatever your knowledge level, you will be immerced in a creative context that uses algorithms to convert sequences of numbers into sounds.

Start with the "Compose" option, where you can create your own mathematical compositions, using either standard algorithms involving pi, e, phi, Pascal's Triangle, powers, Fibonbacci sequence, or a Markov Chain. If that does not interest you, then use the "special" option to import your own number sequence. It is a fun experience!

For a bigger experience, click on the "About Site" link, and then "Archive of Compositions From This Website." In addition to a sample of a composition based on the DNA of a redwood tree (full version is available on CDBaby), you can listen to student-created compositions involving Escher, monkey DNA, Pascal's Rave, and more from pi and phi.

And last, you should visit the "History" section, as it provides a good overview of algorithms in mathematics, science, music, and via computers.