WolframTones Makes Beautiful Math

WolframTones is a website where you can compose ringtones based on simple programs from Stephen Wolfram’s computational universe, and using music theory and Mathematica algorithms to render them as music. Each program in effect defines a virtual world and WolframTones then turns it into a musical composition.

All the music is completely original and generated based on Wolfram’s mathematical formula. Sometimes it sounds familiar, othertimes it’s like nothing you’ve ever heard before. In fact most times it’s like that. It kind of reminds me of the MicroMusic movement where composers create electronic music that’s only 8 Bit. The site then digests whatever parameter you input, and then turns it into a downloadable ringtone.

WolframTones is based on a core discovery of Stephen Wolfram’s A New Kind of Science: that in the computational universe even extremely simple rules or programs can give behavior of great complexity. Wolfram first found evidence of this surprising fact in his experiments in the early 1980s on systems known as one-dimensional cellular automata (now often called Wolfram automata). WolframTones is based on these very same types of systems.

The basic setup for Wolfram’s cellular automata is very simple. There is a row of cells, each black or white. Then there is a rule that says what color each cell will be, based on the colors of a certain neighborhood of cells on the row above. What pattern one gets depends greatly on the rule one uses, which can be specified by saying what color a cell will be for every possible arrangement of neighboring cells.

WolframTones main goal is to demonstrate that in the computational universe it’s easy to find rules that make complex forms. And that’s how WolframTones manages to create so many different complex musical compositions. Each composition in a sense tells in music the story of some system in the computational universe. And because the system follows a definite consistent rule, the compositions inevitably have a certain internal consistency, which is probably what makes them so effective as music.

My mind begins to melt when the site goes Calculus, but please feel free to investigate and create your own unique ringtones based on Stephen Wolfram’s algorithms. WolframTones

Author: FutureMusic

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