Maths....

I’ve been re-reading and enjoying Alexander Masters’ biography of the maths prodigy Simon Norton following Simon’s recent and untimely death. I had the honour of knowing Simon a little as he was a distant relative by marriage and I would see him occasionally at family events. I was particularly taken with a passage in the biography about Simon jumping up and down for joy saying ‘2’ repeatedly and increasingly loudly (much to the biographer’s confusion) at the remembered pleasure of working out the value of two to the power of thirty as a child (at which time he had done the same presumably, much to his parent’s confusion). This was the moment Simon described as the start of his love affair with maths. The repeating ‘2’s were the inspiration for the constantly repeating note in the tune I was inspired to write while reading the book (below), around which I’ve woven other repeating musical phrases which I hope sound suitably mathematical. The idea being that this might be what it would be like to have all of these number based operations going on inside one’s head at any one time. Not anything like a fitting tribute to such a fascinating, kind and generous man - but the best I can offer for now.

Chiptune

My musical life was changed forever about twelve years ago by an exhibition at the Barbican Centre in London which was all about the evolution of video games. Most specifically, by a section in the exhibition about the pioneering music devised as an accompaniment to early video games. Where every note had to be carefully coded and was in effect a completely new thing, a sound that had never been heard. Often composed by the game designers themselves just as an afterthought to the game some of this music is truly beautiful.

I’ve since found out that there is infact an established movement called chiptune which encourages composition using these sounds. I suspect officianados of Chiptune wouldn't completely approve of how I've arrived at these sounds myself (through an app on my phone rather than through the original hardware). But anyway, here are a couple of my more successful experiments…..