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Boris Gourévitch
The world of Pi - V2.57
modif. 13/04/2013

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Pi and music

Since by became a constant in fashion, it was put in all kind of waters, mostly trough the mediums of its decimals. After several representation of Pi in pictures, here comes the musicians!
It is true that with it's infinite decimals, Pi represent a source of insparation with no end. All you need is to construct a kind of translation between the digits and the notes or chord, and here is hours and days of music,all of it automaticly!
You still need to be able to appreciate the harmony....
If you have any pieces that lay about and that are inspired by our dear constant, don't hesitate!
(note : it is possible that one of the following pieces is not loaded. In that case, try to reload the whole page, and then if desperate, download the files for your home computer and listen to them with any .midi player, such as Quicktime Player mac/pc)

The transcription of decimals/ notes

A first transcription of decimals into notes was done by LizZie (the famous SailorPi from my links page !) and is done with  c=1, d=2, ...., c=9 (simple !) :

(click on the Play button)

And in minor:

Download the pieces if you can't play them from the web:

Arrengments by Daniel Cumerrow

Daniel Cummerow, from "The Sounds of Mathematics", used the special musical alphabet by Olivier Messiaen (I have not found any description of this alphabet on the web, sorry!) to transcibe the first 255 decimals of Pi. His method is explained on the page http://www.geocities.com/Vienna/9349/summary.html

The cherry on the cake is that this is 3min14s!!

And here, by the same Daniel Cumerrow, "A minor in four parts" (1min48s) :

Download the pieces if you can't play them from the web:
A minor in four parts

Harmonisation of Pi III (Jean-Philippe Fontanille)

This piece is based on the transcription in base 7 of Pi. J.P. Fontanille then associated a chord to each of those digits which are used for more than a quaver.
Je vous propose les trente premières mesures de la partition de la troisième harmonisation de Pi. Je la transcrirai dès que j'aurai un peu de temps (ce qui veut tout dire...).

Image of the first bit of the music score (gif 60Ko)

I've finally manage to get two pieces of Harmonisations of Pi (thanks Adeline !), available in mp3. In fact, it's very harmonious !

Harmonisations of Pi 1 (2.3Mo)
Harmonisations of Pi 2 (3Mo)


The page of Pi-phony is original. The program Pi-world transform the decimals of Pi in drawings of circles, straight lines, etc.... basicly in lovely drawings that you can see on the page http://home.t-online.de/home/HAEL.YGGS/pigale.htm.
You just need to program the algorithm to simply obtain lines and pause, and this gives musical voices more or less following the method of Barbarie's organ!

3 voices

14 voices

Download the pieces if you can't play them on the web:
3 voices
14 voices

The sounds of Elias

On Elias' famous page dedicated to Pi, we can find a section dedicated to the sound of Pi.
This Elias had the idea to code the firs 65536 digits of Pi in binary, at 8kHz. Who can find a pattern in the product!

In .wav

Sound 1 :

Sound 2

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