Canadian musician Michael Blake turns Pi into music

Updated: 2011-03-15
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Read more on: Pi Day   Canadian musician Michael Blake  

Michael Blake has created a piece of music based on the world's favourite mathematical constant, Pi. Picture: YouTube Source: Supplied
 
WHAT does Pi sound like? Pretty good, actually.

To celebrate Pi Day — the 14th day of the third month — Canadian musician Michael Blake has set the mathematical constant to a tune.

"The idea just hit me one day — what would happen if I found some kind of equation or formula that I could transfer to music?" he told news.com.au.

"I thought about the Fibonacci sequence, because I liked the sound of that, but it didn't really work in my mind so the next one I tried was Pi."

Blake's music video on YouTube explains how each of the eight notes in any major scale can be assigned a numerical value — C being one, D two and so on. The same thing goes for chords.

Using those values, the 36-year-old composed a musical interpretation of Pi to 31 decimal places . 
 
And as if that wasn't impressive enough on its own, Blake set the piece to a tempo of 157 beats per minutes, or 314 divided by two.

That's Pi within a Pi. What a smartypants.

However while Blake can play more than 10 different instruments and come up with incredibly nerdy pieces of music, he says that he's not actually very good at math.

"Other than its application in music I'm not really a math guy," he said.

"I didn't do great at math in school or anything like that. It's really just confined to music. I'm mainly a musician, not really a mathematician."

The Portland, Oregon resident's video has struck a chord with viewers, being played more than 550,000 times so far on YouTube.

"I can't really explain it," he said.

"It's just one of those things... It was just the right time, I guess, for something like this."

Indeed. Today is Pi Day, the day when web nerds come together to celebrate the mathematical constant, best known as 3.14, and everything it has given the world.

Pi Day is celebrated on the 14th day of the third month each year, though it makes a little less sense in Australia because we like to put the days before the month.

Since the success of his Pi video, Blake says he has been inundated with requests to create more music based on maths.

"I've been a musician for a long time, (but) nothing I've done has compared to the success of this," he said.

"I'm hoping that this will open the door for me to be able to continue to create music and produce music and have that be my job."

Blake released a record last year with many of the same instruments used in his Pi piece set to electronic beats, called Quebec Antique.

It is available to purchase or listen to on iTunes or at quebecantique.com.

Happy Pi day!

SOURCE:
www.news.com.au
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