18: Ada Lovelace “Numbers into Notes”

Demonstrator 35: Ada Lovelace “Numbers into Notes”

David De Roure, Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford
Pip Willcox, Oxford e-Research Centre and Centre for Digital Scholarship, University of Oxford

In a series of experiments under the banner of “numbers into notes” we have explored the use of algorithmically generated music fragments co-created with human performer or audience. An online app, and also standalone microcontroller-based devices, are used to generate sequences which are manipulated and incorporated in performance or interactive experiences. In a performance at the Royal Northern College of Music, audience members used the tool to create music fragments which were performed by musicians. The tool informs the Digital Music Objects and Workflows workthreads, in particular through performance capture and generating provenance graphs for the generated music. It also forms part of a broader provocation around automation and instruments within the broader context of the project.

Emily Howard, David De Roure (2015). Turning numbers into notes, in Ada Lovelace Symposium 2015- Celebrating 200 Years of a Computer Visionary, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2015. 2015: 13. DOI 10.1145/2867731.2867746.

David De Roure, Pip Willcox, Alfie Abdul-Rahman (2016). On the description of process in digital scholarship. WHiSe@ESWC 2016: 79-84. urn:nbn:de:0074-1608-8.
David De Roure, Pip Willcox, David M. Weigl (2016). Numbers Into Notes: Cast Your Mind Back 200 Years. In Proceedings of the 17th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference: Late-Breaking/Demo Session.

David De Roure, Pip Willcox. Numbers in places: creative interventions in musical space & time. MobileHCI Adjunct 2016: 1059-1063. DOI 10.1145/2957265.2964199

David De Roure, Graham Klyne, Kevin R. Page, John Pybus, David M. Weigl, Matthew Wilcoxson, Pip Willcox. Plans and Performances: Parallels in the Production of Science and Music. Proceedings of the 2016 IEEE 12th International Conference on e-Science. October 23- 27, 2016 Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Pages 185-192.

David De Roure, Pip Willcox, Alan Chamberlain (2016). Experimental Digital Humanities: Creative interventions in algorithmic composition on a hypothetical mechanical computer. In: DMRN+11: Digital Music Research Network, December 2016, London.

Alan Chamberlain, David De Roure, Pip Willcox, Chris Greenhalgh, Steve Benford (2016). Understanding Creativity and Autonomy in Music Performance and Composition: A proposed ‘toolkit’ for research and design. In: DMRN+11: Digital Music Research Network, December 2016, London.

Alan Chamberlain, Kevin R Page, David De Roure, Graham Klyne (2016). Interacting with Robots as Performers and Producers of Music. In: DMRN+11: Digital Music Research Network, December 2016, London.

Listen to our short piece of music for harp, released on Ada Lovelace Day 2018, which is composed of algorithmically generated fragments using the Numbers Into Notes software.


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The Ada Sketches Numbers into Notes performance in Oxford in 2015 was also supported by the AHRC Transforming Musicology project.