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Home » Music, Videos

Binary Beat

Submitted by on July 19, 2010 – 1:49 pm 2 Comments

Most music, some more than others, is fairly mathematically based. Songs are subdivided into measures, which are subdivided into beats, which are further subdivided. Most western music (and especially electronic music) is based around a base-4 sort of system, with subdivisions of 4.

Niklas Roy has deconstructed things down even more, and created something that he calls the Binary Beat. Niklas came up with a musical algorithm that assigns a sound to each placeholder of an 8-bit binary number, then cycles through the numbers in binary from 0 to 255. When a bit turns from 0 to 1, it’s corresponding sound is played.

The video explains it better than I can:

Very interesting, isn’t it? I think that how well this works speaks very clearly on how our music follows certain patterns. here’s another one that Niklas did, with a base-3 count:

Again, very interesting. This one is a bit more odd feeling, but has a very compelling sort of odd-meter groove to it. Which one do you like most?

“Music is a hidden arithmetic exercise of the soul, which does not know that it is counting.” – Leibniz



  • alan fontana says:

    This is a great idea. I wonder what it would do with different pitches in a given scale, or in the chromatic scale. That might demonstrate an underlying mathematic sequence for a given musical
    emotion. It could be programmed onto a vic-20 (emulator software).

  • Like Allan said, if the pitched can be assigned to the pattern things may get more interesting. Still, I don’t see much point in this besides the intellectual curiosity.

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