Music theory
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10-08-2016, 10:02 AM
Music theory
I'm curious about something. Is there a mathematical equation for how many different tunes can be created with the notes in music?

I'm no musician but from what I know there are 12 notes in an octave but then there are many octaves and so many different beats and chords and instruments that can be mixed up to make a piece of music.

The reason I asked is that there have recently been lawsuits against several musicians for copywriting infringement. Is there a finite number of songs and tunes one can make with the notes we have? I wonder if someone has tried to calculate this number or are there so many variables that it's impossible to come up with a number.

And did my question even make any sense?

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10-08-2016, 10:15 AM
RE: Music theory
Lots of ways to play notes-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_theory
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10-08-2016, 10:15 AM
RE: Music theory
Every time you add a variable, you increase the number of possible combinations by an exponent. That is, if there are three variables, they can be combined nine different ways. Four variables, 16 combinations.

In music, using whole notes in 4/4 time, in a single octave, there are 4x4x4x4=256 possible combinations in a single measure, on a single instrument. I'll let someone else take it from there.

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10-08-2016, 10:44 AM
RE: Music theory
(10-08-2016 10:15 AM)jabeady Wrote:  Every time you add a variable, you increase the number of possible combinations by an exponent. That is, if there are three variables, they can be combined nine different ways. Four variables, 16 combinations.

In music, using whole notes in 4/4 time, in a single octave, there are 4x4x4x4=256 possible combinations in a single measure, on a single instrument. I'll let someone else take it from there.

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If you play one quarter note, you have 12 semitones to choose from within the octave.
Play two consecutive quarter notes, and you have 12 x 12 = 144 possibilities

1 measure of 4 quarter notes = 12^4 = 20736 quarter note possibilities.
13^4 = 28561 if you're counting quarter rests.

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10-08-2016, 11:01 AM
RE: Music theory
(10-08-2016 10:02 AM)dancefortwo Wrote:  I'm curious about something. Is there a mathematical equation for how many different tunes can be created with the notes in music?

I'm no musician but from what I know there are 12 notes in an octave but then there are many octaves and so many different beats and chords and instruments that can be mixed up to make a piece of music.

The reason I asked is that there have recently been lawsuits against several musicians for copywriting infringement. Is there a finite number of songs and tunes one can make with the notes we have? I wonder if someone has tried to calculate this number or are there so many variables that it's impossible to come up with a number.

And did my question even make any sense?

There's no such thing as music. It's all "just a theory" anyway. Tongue

Actually, to answer your question, I'm sure the numbers of variants gets very high, very quickly ...
https://www.amazon.com/Physics-Sound-3rd...0131457896

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10-08-2016, 11:02 AM (This post was last modified: 10-08-2016 11:14 AM by pablo.)
RE: Music theory
I think a lot of it has to do with how badly someone wants to sue.




Then again, certain "formulas" sell.


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10-08-2016, 01:03 PM
RE: Music theory
It it possible to run out of songs then? There must be a finite combination of notes, half notes and octaves, etc. that one can combine to make a song or a tune. Sometimes I think we're getting close what with some of the lawsuits. Lol.

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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10-08-2016, 01:08 PM
RE: Music theory
(10-08-2016 01:03 PM)dancefortwo Wrote:  It it possible to run out of songs then?

Oh believe me, we still have a lot of unexplored territory to cover.






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10-08-2016, 01:18 PM
RE: Music theory
(10-08-2016 01:03 PM)dancefortwo Wrote:  It it possible to run out of songs then? There must be a finite combination of notes, half notes and octaves, etc. that one can combine to make a song or a tune. Sometimes I think we're getting close what with some of the lawsuits. Lol.

Strictly speaking, mathematically, there are an infinite number of possible combinations, (or an astronomically high number) ... but there is probably a legal definition that may include something like "substantially similar tonal and melodic bla bla bla". There's the rub ... if it sounds "similar enough", then it's probably infringement, (and you could write something, and *infringe* and not even know it). So it's a judgment call in some cases, which is why they sometimes go to juries, (I'm guessing). Some things might sound the same to one person, and not another.

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10-08-2016, 01:27 PM
RE: Music theory
At work.

Don't forget! You're just thinking in 'Western' terms and styles of music.

Google Japanese instruments and styles for a whole different world of sound.

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