Pi: the first 52 digits

Today is Pi Day, so I thought I could post this old piece of mine from back in 2015. I'd posted it in the old forum, but since that's gone I thought I'd take the liberty to post it again here.

There have been many clever rhymes and other mnemonics for the first N digits of pi, but here's my contribution: a somewhat memorable melody of less than 1 minute from which you could recite the first 52 digits of pi.  Can it really be that simple?  How is that even possible?  Well, take a gander at the score and find out! ;-)

Score: [pdf]

Computer rendering: [mp3]

Also, being a stubborn, unrepentant neoclassicist (or maybe narcissist? :-P), I wrote melody in the most harmonious way possible, unlike many other pieces based on pi which tend to be 12-tone, irregular, or otherwise difficult to approach.  This one is simple enough a child could learn it by heart and thereby memorize 52 digits of pi almost effortlessly. ;-)

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  • What a nice idea! I would have written a piece titled 'Dessert' (wink, wink) but I've never been fond of mathematics.

  •  A rather ingenious idea which was quite entertaining, though to my ears there are one or two moments such as in bars 5 or 10 when the harmony grates a bit --- perhaps it's meant to -- who knows. And of course, like Rowy, I hate the idea of music being reduced to mathematics (although I occasionally sneak some into my own works, though I never tell anyone...)

    • Haha, I rather consider this reducing mathematics to music, than the other way around. 😛

      What about bars 5 and 10 do you find grating?


      • bar 5 I didn't like the G's in the left hand and in bar 10 I'd perhaps write F,E, G# at the beginning (although as the previous bar also starts with F, this isn't perhaps ideal). Just as one or two examples. However, when I enter the score into Dorico and play back with a decent piano, the harmony actually seems perfectly logical so I suspect it was simply a matter of imbalances in your rendering with certain notes sticking out too much or little. So I guess I should just shut up..... embarassed


        • Still, it's a nice piece of music, although I agree with you about the harmony. It's tempting to write a different version, but now that I'm retired, I consider myself an amateur, and I'm not particularly fond of amateur music. It's probably best to leave this to the professionals innocent

          • You can't possibly out-amateur me, I've no formal music education and never passed grade 1 piano.  So whatever you come up with will probably be much more refined than I can ever hope to achieve.


            • I can't hear the difference between a third and a sixth. Now who's the amateur? Okay, I recognize a single fault in a busy score, but that's because I'm an idiot savant. Try again.

              • And I have no sense of octaves. Took me literally years to hear middle C (as opposed to other C's). Actually, I still can't identify middle C; I do not have perfect pitch, and any note could serve as the tonic "middle C" as far as my ears are concerned. I couldn't tell the difference between a piece and its transposed form without actually checking with a tuning fork, because my inner sense of pitch shifts according to the environment.

                You can't get worse than being unable to identify middle C. ;-)

            • I managed to get as far as Grade 5 piano before switching schools and my new teacher put me off piano for life (she was later sacked for persistent bullying) so I never took Grade 6. My only "achievement" at school was getting 100% in Grade 3 theory but I'm very glad I never formally studied it at university otherwise I'd surely have never become a composer.


              • Same, I'm glad my dad talked me out of a degree in music. Had I gone that route I would've been so turned off that I'd probably have given up composing altogether.

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