how music works

By Mark Anderson

This piece is dedicated to my longtime, and now-missed, friend and past SNS member Paul Allen - and to every software programmer who plays an instrument.


In one of our recent FiReSide events, I had the good fortune to chat with my friend Roger Payne, who, in addition to being one of the top cetologists in the world, was the discoverer that humpback whales sing songs.

(Having made perhaps the longest humpback song recording in existence, I've had the benefit of hearing this phenomenon firsthand.)

Roger is also a first-rate cellist, in his spare time.

In that virtual conversation, I was able to suggest a rather radical and different view of music that has been percolating in my mind for a few years, and with which he seemed to agree. This week's discussion is an exploration of that concept.

Let's start at the beginning.


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