Only A Mathematician Could Love The World's Ugliest Music

Many mathematicians set their sights on conquering the stock market, with dreams of unbridled financial success. But Scott Richard, who holds degrees in Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering from MIT and Princeton University, has dedicated himself to solving problems that matter to the average person. Which confusingly includes using mathematics to make another attempt at composing the world's ugliest piece of music. Um, thanks Scott?

In this TED talk he describes the process of using science and mathematics to create a piece of music that's devoid of any patterns or repetition, traits usually found in pieces considered to be beautiful. Using the work of mathematician Évariste Galois and a concept known as Golomb Rulers, Richard created a piece specifically for the piano that is, admittedly, very hard on the ears.

If you want to forego the technical stuff just skip ahead to the 7:38 mark in the video, turn up your speakers and prepare to have your roommates or neighbours come banging on your door.

[TED via Slashdot]

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    Sounds like jazz.

    Not that bad, where can I get the CD?

    Didnt sound outstandingly bad. I've heard worse to be honest. It wasn't a complete mess. It was too slow to be a complete mess. And it needed more notes played simultaneously to be a complete mess.

    impossible, you can't beat "Friday"

    the piano makes it a tad beautiful in a sense that its bearable.

    They should have gotten someone with no idea how to play music (go to any eisteddfod, pick a pretentious-looking child) to play this. Having someone who has some musical qualification diminishes how horrible this is meant to sound.

    It's just like some art music, with the seemingly random notes and lack of patterns. This is one of the techniques used in art music in that the time signature and key signature change throughout to remove any rhythm, feeling or smoothness.
    Also, specifically on this piece, the lack of notes played at the same time means the piece has no tension or clashing, which can really make a piece sound awful. An unresolved cadence that is identifiable (The notes are so spread out that if there is one, it is not obvious) would make the piece worse.

    math teachers dont double as music teachers for a reason...

    Sounded just like random notes. I would say anyone could reproduce what he did.

    Fox FM plays a lot worse

    is that it? it's simple; just mash the keyboard. it's what we all used to do in music classes...

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