31
Mar
11

I’m waiting for my Pulitzer

OK poetryphiles, check this out:

           “Cad a eibf e cehig icbchdfbf dc c.”

Tell me this doesn’t belong in an anthology.

Oh, wait…no, it’s complete gibberish.  My mistake.   Perhaps I shouldn’t hold my breath waiting to hear from the good Pulitzer people.

The gibberish was constructed in this wise:

1) The first nine letters of the alphabet were assigned a number, 1-9.

2)The first 26 (a nod to the alphabet itself) digits of the mathematical constant “pi” were transformed into letters.

3) To achieve individual “words,” I split the letters up into groups, the size of which correspond to the digits of “pi,” in order: 3, 1, 4, 1, 5, 9, 2, and one letter left over.

Such games do not automatically confer meaning or profundity to whatever it is that happens to result.  In fact, such games are really just a way of trying to avoid doing the hard work of learning how to create something with actual semiotic value.

Well, I’ve already demonstrated that this melody, or “row” if you will, has no meaning – is not art – simply by virtue of the fact that it’s somehow based on pi.  Fashioning an artistic melody, or at least determining which melodies are artistic is a complicated procedure involving both psychology and physics.  I’m afraid I’m going to have to pull a quasi-Fermat and say that a discussion of the details involved is not really necessary here.  I think the above “Gedankenexperiment” will suffice.

But that’s not the only problem with this music.  Blake has chosen to employ only the “white” notes.  This is, again, a cheat.  When I first encountered this video, I remarked to its sharer: “Ah, pandiatonicism: the favorite refuge of the amateur composer.”  Would it sound nearly as tolerable if Blake had assigned numbers to the “black” notes?  The fact that the piece has a cool, unimposing “niceness” about it is no credit to Blake.  That’s just what you get when you randomly toss together only diatonic pitches.

Despite the manifestly unartistic nature of this “composition,” there is, believe it or not, a copyright war raging on YouTube regarding who gets to claim “musical pi” as his/her intellectual property.  Someone else has managed to get their realization of pi performed by a professional orchestra, and he is not happy with Blake’s encroachment.  Seems to me like arguing over who gets to eat the stale, melted candy bar you recently discovered in the crevices of you car’s back seat, after its having been there for who knows how long.

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