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#2223430 - 01/31/14 01:24 AM Bach
HalfStep Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/11
Posts: 201
Loc: Boston, MA
Admittedly, I peruse these forums far more than my posts indicate. In other words, I spend hours gathering information here but post far less than my time spent here. In short, I love playing but feel as if my daughter is talented. Her love for the piano has driven her science fair topic to focus on mathematical patterns in Bach's music. I especially appreciate those very knowledgeable in theory who post here. Please share with me any resources that may help her research. She's an eighth grader at an IB school so in addition to a globally based curricular foci, she chose a minor in performing arts. That is band and clarinet, but she studies piano with a private teacher. Thanks smile

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#2223447 - 01/31/14 02:31 AM Re: Bach [Re: HalfStep]
Polyphonist Online   content
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Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 6512
Loc: New York City
Presumably, if she has decided to focus her project on this topic, she must have already done some research and discovered some patterns - it would be a good idea for you to summarize the work she has done so far so we can have an idea of the direction the project could go.
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Polyphonist

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#2223482 - 01/31/14 07:18 AM Re: Bach [Re: HalfStep]
Mark Polishook Offline
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Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 541
Loc: Leicester, UK
Half step ... a little more info as Polyphonist has requested would be really helpful ...
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#2223504 - 01/31/14 08:38 AM Re: Bach [Re: Mark Polishook]
Charles Cohen Offline
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Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 950
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Just as a test, I googled:

. . . bach music mathematics

and got over 3 million hits!

A Wikipedia entry for the classic book "Godel Escher Bach: The Eternal Golden Braid" was toward the top of the list.

It's a rich lode. Thinking of the classic musical transformations that composers use -- repetition, transposition, inversion, time-translation (which gives us the canon) -- as _mathematical_ transformations has been fascinating, to those who do it.

The threads run deeply into twelve-tone music (which is outside the scope of this discussion).

. Charles

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#2223659 - 01/31/14 01:27 PM Re: Bach [Re: HalfStep]
BrainCramp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/12
Posts: 218
Loc: USA
Didn't Albert Schweitzer write a book about the meanings of patterns in Bach's work? I seem to remember reading it in high school.

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#2223703 - 01/31/14 03:13 PM Re: Bach [Re: HalfStep]
landorrano Online   content
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Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2445
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: HalfStep
I love playing but feel as if my daughter is talented.


Hi Halfstep. You wouldn't be your daughter's parent, by any chance?!!!

Originally Posted By: HalfStep
Please share with me any resources that may help her research.


Her reasearch ??? Perhaps she could post here herself?

Originally Posted By: HalfStep
She's an eighth grader at an IB school so in addition to a globally based curricular foci


"Globally based curricular foci" ?????

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#2223739 - 01/31/14 04:54 PM Re: Bach [Re: HalfStep]
neuralfirings Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/13
Posts: 154
Godel Escher Bach is a long and dense book. There's a course for high school students available online about this book: http://ocw.mit.edu/high-school/humanities-and-social-sciences/godel-escher-bach/

The video lectures and lecture notes are posted. That could help if she's looking into it. The book is more of a philosophy book though, that may not be what your daughter is look into.

I had a friend in high school who wrote a computer program to auto-generate fugues, or maybe two part pieces. She won the Texas state science fair (math fair? computer fair?) with that project. I think she also did a little survey and most non-professional musicians couldn't tell the difference between the computer generated sequences and actual Bach.
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#2223795 - 01/31/14 06:39 PM Re: Bach [Re: neuralfirings]
Polyphonist Online   content
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Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 6512
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: neuralfirings
I had a friend in high school who wrote a computer program to auto-generate fugues, or maybe two part pieces. She won the Texas state science fair (math fair? computer fair?) with that project. I think she also did a little survey and most non-professional musicians couldn't tell the difference between the computer generated sequences and actual Bach.

I find that hard to believe. People couldn't tell the difference between Bach and a computer? These automatically-generated fugues must really be something. Or perhaps it's back to the old adage, "People are stupid." grin
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Polyphonist

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#2223912 - 01/31/14 11:15 PM Re: Bach [Re: HalfStep]
Charles Cohen Offline
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Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 950
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Quote:
. . . I think she also did a little survey and most non-professional musicians couldn't tell the difference between the computer generated sequences and actual Bach. . . .


FWIW --

To most ears, a fugue is a fugue.

. . . "Yeah, that sounds like Bach."

. . . "No, it's by Buxtehude."

. . . "Who's he?"

It's not that "people are stupid". It's that a lot of people don't hear the difference between "inspired" music and "pedestrian" music.

. Charles

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#2223966 - 02/01/14 02:35 AM Re: Bach [Re: Charles Cohen]
Polyphonist Online   content
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Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 6512
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Charles Cohen
It's not that "people are stupid". It's that a lot of people don't hear the difference between "inspired" music and "pedestrian" music.

In other words...
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Polyphonist

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#2224006 - 02/01/14 05:27 AM Re: Bach [Re: Polyphonist]
casinitaly Online   content

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 4678
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Charles Cohen
It's not that "people are stupid". It's that a lot of people don't hear the difference between "inspired" music and "pedestrian" music.

In other words...


In other words there are a lot of folks who are musically uneducated - it doesn't mean they're stupid.
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#2224062 - 02/01/14 09:06 AM Re: Bach [Re: casinitaly]
Mark Polishook Offline
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Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 541
Loc: Leicester, UK
Listening to music sometimes gets confused with connoisseurship.

A long-term project from David Cope has a lot to say about that: Experiments in Musical Intelligence - explanation of the project w/links to examples

For the OP, David Cope's research is about patterns used in music by any composer, Bach included. Software David Cope wrote finds patterns and uses them to compose more music "in the style of ____."

So some knowledge of what David Cope's already done, if only in the background and as context, could help a resourceful teacher who's leading students who are interested in finding patterns. Because David Cope didn't just say "Are there patterns and where can they be found?" To the contrary - his computer programs uses the patterns it finds find to write more music. "In the style of ....."

A great example of "music composed in the style of ....." was was the subject of an article in the NY Times.

Who wrote it? Bach? Computer? Music theorist?

Douglas Hofstadter (author of Godel Escher Bach), is part of that story.

The music that comes from Dave Cope's software - not always, but sometimes - has fooled professional and non-professional listeners when they're asked "Who composed that music?" Of course, some professionals are not pleased to find they've been fooled by a computer program that possibly knows maybe a little more than they do.

Here's an example of David Cope's software churning out the style of Vivaldi.



Some will hear it as a pretty good copy of Vivaldi. Some will say it's obviously not Vivaldi. Whether it's a good copy of not, that example is at least as good and probably better than anything students would write for a theory class if the assignment was "compose in the style of Vivaldi."

On a related track - here's software (some programming necessary - in Python) that'll do all kinds of quantitative measures in scores.

http://web.mit.edu/music21/

Quantitative in the sense of "How many 1st inversion C major triads are in Bach Chorales with a key signatures other than C major?" In other words, how many of "this" can be found in "that."

Cope used information of that sort to re-create music styles of great composers. But that rubs many music professionals the wrong way. Because no one wants to think the music they love de-composes into some finite number of key principles. Because if music can be de-composed and then re-composed the question that always comes with that is "Where's the magic in the music?"

David Cope has always been a lightning rod for that question. Computer scientists and others outside of music are much more comfortable with what he's done than are musicians. So when Douglas Hofstadter, to an example, is writing stuff like Godel Escher Bach his knowledge of David Cope's work is part of the background context.

For the OP, David Cope and spinoffs are state-of-the-art stuff in pattern research in music. 'd recommend your daughter's teacher take a look at that - as background context - for wherever he/she is leading the students in their projects.
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#2224072 - 02/01/14 09:17 AM Re: Bach [Re: casinitaly]
Polyphonist Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 6512
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: casinitaly
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Charles Cohen
It's not that "people are stupid". It's that a lot of people don't hear the difference between "inspired" music and "pedestrian" music.

In other words...


In other words there are a lot of folks who are musically uneducated - it doesn't mean they're stupid.

I don't think these are musically uneducated people - the poll was given to "non-professional musicians."
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Polyphonist

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#2224170 - 02/01/14 12:29 PM Re: Bach [Re: HalfStep]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2238
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
If the survey results show that "most non-professional musicians" can't tell Bach from computer generated sequences one would have to question whether the category meant musicians who weren't professional or anyone passing by that wasn't a professional musician such as toddlers, the deaf, or parents not wanting to offend those asking.

You'd have to be stupid to take it at face value and not think a little, wouldn't you? smile

And what would you be if, as a result of your lack of thought, you labelled people as...?
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#2224182 - 02/01/14 01:13 PM Re: Bach [Re: Charles Cohen]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2206
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: Charles Cohen
Just as a test, I googled:

. . . bach music mathematics

and got over 3 million hits!


Searching "bach science fair" might bring up some more useful hits for a kid looking for a science fair project.
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#2224196 - 02/01/14 01:46 PM Re: Bach [Re: zrtf90]
Polyphonist Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 6512
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
If the survey results show that "most non-professional musicians" can't tell Bach from computer generated sequences one would have to question whether the category meant musicians who weren't professional or anyone passing by that wasn't a professional musician such as toddlers, the deaf, or parents not wanting to offend those asking.

I think we may be reading the term "non-professional musician" differently. You're reading it as "anyone who is not a professional musician." I'm reading it as "any musician who is not a professional." The English language is not perfect. laugh
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Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2224201 - 02/01/14 01:58 PM Re: Bach [Re: Polyphonist]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2238
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
I think we may be reading the term "non-professional musician" differently.
I'm not reading it as anything. I'm allowing for flexibility whereas you're labelling people as stupid.
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Richard

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#2224225 - 02/01/14 03:02 PM Re: Bach [Re: HalfStep]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2206
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
I'm sure when Polyphonist says "People are stupid" he means it in the nicest possible way.

wink
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#2224239 - 02/01/14 03:27 PM Re: Bach [Re: HalfStep]
Polyphonist Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 6512
Loc: New York City
Some people would do well to note that I never asserted anything in the first place. wink
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Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2224396 - 02/01/14 09:15 PM Re: Bach [Re: HalfStep]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2206
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Perhaps it was inferred; perhaps it was implied.
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#2224431 - 02/01/14 11:26 PM Re: Bach [Re: HalfStep]
Polyphonist Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 6512
Loc: New York City
Perhaps it was neither.
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Polyphonist

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#2224442 - 02/02/14 12:55 AM Re: Bach [Re: Mark Polishook]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11206
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Mark Polishook

Here's an example of David Cope's software churning out the style of Vivaldi.



If you listen to two measures (only certain measures), then it is reminiscent of Vivaldi. Anything more than that, and it doesn't go anywhere. None of it hangs together. To my ear it sounds like somebody has cut out random sentences and said it's a story. Like this:

It is a brilliant idea when squirrels paint noisome business vans. Lo,indeed, clocks swirl. The effusion magnifies prosperous goats...

That's how this music feels. I couldn't listen to it for more than a minute. I found a "Bach" and a "Chopin" and it was the same. The "Bach" was especially dreadful.

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#2224444 - 02/02/14 01:09 AM Re: Bach [Re: Polyphonist]
HalfStep Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/11
Posts: 201
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Presumably, if she has decided to focus her project on this topic, she must have already done some research and discovered some patterns - it would be a good idea for you to summarize the work she has done so far so we can have an idea of the direction the project could go.


She is in the beginning stages, so we haven't done too much. What works specifically would make sense to begin with?

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#2224445 - 02/02/14 01:10 AM Re: Bach [Re: Charles Cohen]
HalfStep Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/11
Posts: 201
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: Charles Cohen
Just as a test, I googled:

. . . bach music mathematics

and got over 3 million hits!

A Wikipedia entry for the classic book "Godel Escher Bach: The Eternal Golden Braid" was toward the top of the list.

It's a rich lode. Thinking of the classic musical transformations that composers use -- repetition, transposition, inversion, time-translation (which gives us the canon) -- as _mathematical_ transformations has been fascinating, to those who do it.

The threads run deeply into twelve-tone music (which is outside the scope of this discussion).

. Charles


Thanks!

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#2224448 - 02/02/14 01:16 AM Re: Bach [Re: malkin]
HalfStep Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/11
Posts: 201
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: malkin
Originally Posted By: Charles Cohen
Just as a test, I googled:

. . . bach music mathematics

and got over 3 million hits!


Searching "bach science fair" might bring up some more useful hits for a kid looking for a science fair project.


I did but, as I said, there is so much knowledge here and I think we have a place to begin! She really gets amped planning for the annual science fair but loves for the research to resonate with her smile

Thanks for all of the feedback! It's been helpful smile

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#2224449 - 02/02/14 01:23 AM Re: Bach [Re: landorrano]
HalfStep Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/11
Posts: 201
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: HalfStep
I love playing but feel as if my daughter is talented.


Hi Halfstep. You wouldn't be your daughter's parent, by any chance?!!!

Originally Posted By: HalfStep
Please share with me any resources that may help her research.


Her reasearch ??? Perhaps she could post here herself?

Originally Posted By: HalfStep
She's an eighth grader at an IB school so in addition to a globally based curricular foci


She's not a member but I'd like to support her academic endeavors.


"Globally based curricular foci" ?????



The International Baccalaureate program she's in requires a global focus in addition to the arts. She chose performing arts and band so the project on Bach seemed apropos.

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#2224451 - 02/02/14 01:28 AM Re: Bach [Re: HalfStep]
Polyphonist Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 6512
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: Mark Polishook

Here's an example of David Cope's software churning out the style of Vivaldi.



If you listen to two measures (only certain measures), then it is reminiscent of Vivaldi. Anything more than that, and it doesn't go anywhere. None of it hangs together.

There's Vivaldi for you. grin

Originally Posted By: HalfStep
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Presumably, if she has decided to focus her project on this topic, she must have already done some research and discovered some patterns - it would be a good idea for you to summarize the work she has done so far so we can have an idea of the direction the project could go.

She is in the beginning stages, so we haven't done too much. What works specifically would make sense to begin with?

In terms of studying Bach, there's no better place to start than the 2-part Inventions. http://www.amazon.com
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Polyphonist

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#2224479 - 02/02/14 04:17 AM Re: Bach [Re: keystring]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 541
Loc: Leicester, UK
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: Mark Polishook

Here's an example of David Cope's software churning out the style of Vivaldi.



If you listen to two measures (only certain measures), then it is reminiscent of Vivaldi. Anything more than that, and it doesn't go anywhere. None of it hangs together. To my ear it sounds like somebody has cut out random sentences and said it's a story. Like this:

It is a brilliant idea when squirrels paint noisome business vans. Lo,indeed, clocks swirl. The effusion magnifies prosperous goats...

That's how this music feels. I couldn't listen to it for more than a minute. I found a "Bach" and a "Chopin" and it was the same. The "Bach" was especially dreadful.


I hear what you're saying.. for sure. The story that follows that goes to the experience of a professional pianist with EMI (which doesn't prove anything except that are A LOT of possible reactions to this stuff) ..



"....EMI recently composed a full-scale Mozart symphony and piano concerto, which were performed in April by the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival on period instruments. Linda Burman-Hall, who played the piano solo for the concerto, said: ''It felt a little different than playing a normal Mozart work. But it was very much like a work of the same period. It was certainly in the ball park.''"
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http://www.polishookstudio.com - The Blog of the Improvised Line
mark@polishookstudio.com

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#2224605 - 02/02/14 12:13 PM Re: Bach [Re: HalfStep]
sandalholme Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/09
Posts: 744
Loc: Dorset, UK
Re computer-generated music. Certainly it can sound like an original composition, but it's a reproduction. Like reproduction furniture: looks great, hardly different from the original, but which would you prefer? Plus, without the original genius of Bach, Mozart etc, there's no original to copy. I think the term is "derivative". Derivative is not a term usually used in a positive way, it generally is associated with being second-class.

(And even I, with very little theoretical training, was able to scribble a quick score in the style of Vivaldi (i.e. it scored high marks) - that's not difficult. Wouldn't like to produce an emulation of Bach though)

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#2224643 - 02/02/14 01:29 PM Re: Bach [Re: HalfStep]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11206
Loc: Canada
I am not a professional musician. I'm still very much in the learning stage. But music consists of more than a sequence of notes and patterns. I mean, we could actually talk about things like "sonata form", themes, and so on, to make it comprehensible. Music goes somewhere, and the various parts work together - I don't want to say "tell a story" because that is too trite. None of what I heard went anywhere. There was no shape to it. It sounded like the "story" that I wrote in my example, which is all in one "style" but is pure nonsense. You would have to stop reading after a few sentences. That's how the recordings felt. I suppose you could "shape phrases" line by line in playing it. But overall it isn't anything so what can you do with it as a real work, in performing it?

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